Jim Holland

Perhaps, Matt Batchelder will be able to sleep in a bit now.

For much of the last 20 years, Matt, owner of Batchelder’s Plummer Piano & Organ Co. has put in long days at his business — to say the least.

“It’s been pretty much seven days a week, up at 2 a.m. every morning and in here by 3 a.m.,” he said. “Most days I’m here until 8 or 9 at night.”

“Pretty hectic,” he understates.

But that changes for the start of the new year.

Batchelder is closing his retail showroom at 1301 N. Omaha St. Suite 101. Sales of pianos, organs and band instruments will move online to pianoandorgan.com.

But Batchelder’s Studio of the Arts, with a staff of 17 and 500 students, will not only continue but expand from eight classrooms at the current store to 21 classrooms in a new location at 2821 Plant St., off Deadwood Avenue.

They will also continue to rent and repair instruments at the Plant Street location along with refurbishing pianos and organs.

Moving out of the Omaha Street store is almost complete. The Studio of the Arts shut down after the last holiday recitals on Thursday, then will reopen at the new location on Jan. 2.

Batchelder bought what was originally Plummer Piano and Organ dating back to 1959 from Dan Senftner, who worked his way from repair, sales, management and eventually buying the longtime downtown business from founder Glenn Plummer.

Batchelder added band instrument rental and sales and music lessons and the added crush of downtown traffic eventually led him to move to the Omaha Street Plaza.

But he decided a year ago that it was time to slow down.

“When I started I said I would do this for 15 years at a minimum, and I’ve surpassed that,” he said.

Batchelder will operate the online store from his home and has some delivery and pickup trips planned for January.

Mostly, he wants to spend more time with his wife and son, who turned 11 last week.

“I’ve missed a lot and it’s time to make that my priority,” he said.

“We’ll still provide the services that we have. I just won’t be taking such an active role,” Batchelder said. “I have such a tremendous staff, and they’re ready to do everything without me.”

Gotta Dance's new owner

In another New Year’s transition, Gotta Dance Dance & Fitness Studio at 412 Oshkosh St., will be under new ownership.

Owner and founder Marilyn Simon has sold the studio to Nashville-based National Dance Clubs.

Jamey McCaskill will manage the National Dance Clubs of Rapid City, offering professional ballroom dance instruction.

Many students and instructors are there to learn to dance competitively but the majority just want to learn how to dance for social occasions.

“We produce top-notch, top-of-the-line social dancers,” McCaskill said.

Simon grew up on a farm near Eagle Butte and opened Gotta Dance six years ago after living for many years on the East Coast.

“I came back to South Dakota and there were no dance studios here, so I opened one,” she said.

She decided to sell after encountering difficulties obtaining good instructors, Simon said.

“I couldn’t get the community support or the teacher support I needed,” she said

She contacted McCaskill, who along with his wife have owned National Dance Clubs for about a year and a half, he said.

There are four other NDC locations in and around Nashville. The Rapid City location is the first in a planned nationwide, expansion.

“We’re also looking at New Jersey and Tampa,” McCaskell said.

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More than 90 percent of National Dance Club students are 25 and older, although children are welcome, he said.

He said reality television shows, such as “Dancing with the Stars” continue to fuel interest in dancing, along with the health benefits of exercise and increased social interaction.

“(Dancing) gives people a chance to create their own reality TV show,” McCaskell said. “I think our country is moving toward a more active searching for things to do.”

Urgent cares fully accredited

Regional Health’s Urgent Care centers, both in Rapid City, are the first such centers in South Dakota to be fully accredited by the Urgent Care Association of America, according to a release.

Regional Health Urgent Care West is located at 2116 Jackson Blvd. Regional Health Urgent Care North is at 1303 N. Lacrosse St.

The centers are a walk-in, extended-hours option for patients who can’t wait for a scheduled appointment with their primary care physician but don’t require a trip to a hospital emergency room.

Both are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Services include digital X-rays, onsite lab work, sports physicals, drug screens, Department of Transportation physicals and immunizations.

The designation is the highest level of distinction for urgent care centers.

Black Hills Energy closex stores

As of Dec. 18, Black Hills Energy shuttered its walk-in locations in Custer, Rapid City, Spearfish, Sturgis and Newcastle, Wyo.

In a release, the company cited changing customer preferences, including a 15 percent increase in those choosing electronic payment methods to pay their energy bills, with a 13 percent drop in local office visits.

Such office visits make up only 10 percent of customer payment methods, while 55 percent of BHE customers use some form of electronic payment option, recurring payments, one-time bank transfers, online banking and Speed-pay.

“Our customers’ expectations and preferences have changed drastically in the past decade-plus,” said Nick Gardner, vice president of Electric Operations in South Dakota. “Fewer of our customers are walking in to our physical locations. While at the same time, more of them are opting for self-service options.”

Closing the walk-in locations is also a way to lower utility costs for BHE customers, the release stated.

  Contact Jim Holland at 605-394-8429 or at jim.holland@rapidcityjournal.com.

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