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New owner of Tailgator’s: “It’s business as usual’
By By Jill Meier
Challenger editor

May 21. 2014 10:10AM
Dave Halverson has no intention of fixing something that’s not broke.

So that’s why Halverson, 42, the new owner of Tailgator’s Sports Bar & Grill, isn’t planning to change any part of it. He purchased the near 18-year-old Brandon business from the Strom family partnership of Curt, Barb, Tyler and Rochelle, signing the paperwork on May 9.

“Nothing’s going to change – the same staff, the same menu,” he said. “They (the Stroms) have something good going here and they’ve made it look very nice.”

Halverson is no stranger to the food service and beverage industry. He recently closed the doors to a similar operation, Sharkey’s, in Luverne, Minn., after 13 years in business there. Halverson had plans to tear down the building and put up a new a strip mall on the Highway 75 site. Those plans, however, were sidelined when the Tailgator’s opportunity came into play.

“It was either going to be a strip mall in Luverne or something else, and this is the something else,” he said.

The Stroms, who were looking to sell the business, and Halverson, who was looking for a new business opportunity, were paired up through their accountant. Halverson said the Brandon restaurant–bar location and the building, along with town’s population presented more opportunity.

“I had a lot of good customers over there, but it was just the opportunity here business-wise, a lot better location and the two hotels,” he said. “And this is the first exit in South Dakota, too, which helps, because there’s a lot of travelers, especially around Sturgis time.”

Halverson plans to move to Brandon in the near future, and looks forward to becoming involved in the community.

“I’m going to do everything they (the Stroms) did,” he said. “The school district and the Chamber, I know they were boosters there, so we’ll keep everything the same.”

Tyler and Rochelle Strom will stay on the Tailgator’s payroll for now. Tyler will continue his culinary role along with menu and drink planning, while Rochelle will continue on in her accounting duties.
“Dustin, the kitchen manager’s still here, and Amy is still the front house manager, so there’s no changes; it’s business as usual,” Halverson said.

And that keeps a smile on the face of Kim Cerwick, president and CEO of the Brandon Valley Area Chamber of Commerce.

“Tailgator’s, under the Stroms, has been a wonderful member of our entire Chamber family,” she said. “They have continually supported our many endeavors, whether that be sponsoring the dessert for our annual banquet, helping out with our golf and wine outing, and much more. On behalf of our entire Chamber membership, I welcome Dave to the community and wish him all the best as he begins this new venture here.”

Dave Halverson, 42, has purchased Tailgator's Sports Bar & Grill from the Strom family. The change of ownership took place on May 9. Halverson comes to the Brandon business with 13 years in the industry, having owned and operated Sharkey's in Luverne, Minn. Photo by Jill Meier

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