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If you’ve locked your keys in your car in Spearfish since 1972, chances are good that Gene Ficek was the one who opened the car door and got you back on your way.

Now, after 40 years of operating Gene’s Lock Shop, Gene and wife Yvonne have retired. “Every day’s Saturday,” Gene said recently, adding that he feels extremely comfortable knowing the business is in the hands of its new owners, Bryan and Angie Viehauser.

“After 40 years, you build a business and you’re proud of it,” Gene said. “It took over a year to find the right people, but we did.”

The meeting happened by chance. The Viehausers were vacationing here from their home in Austin, Minn., where Bryan worked as a locksmith, when they noticed Gene’s Lock Shop at 521 N. Main in Spearfish and stopped in to say hello. “That’s kind of what locksmiths do when they travel,” Bryan said.

He and Gene got to visiting and hit it off. By the time the Ficeks were ready to retire, the Viehausers were ready to move and buy their own business.

“It’s quite a blessing to be granted and to inherit such a great reputation,” Bryan said. “We’re excited to set down roots here.”

The Viehausers don’t plan to change much about the business — not the name, location, phone number or services — although Bryan would like to expand the store’s inventory of small safes and large gun safes. “They’ve been around too long and got too good a reputation to mess with,” he said.

As for the Ficeks, Gene admits he will miss the people he got to know through his business over the years. But the couple is looking forward to retirement and already has plans to drive around the country visiting friends Gene served with in Vietnam.

“Spearfish is such a progressive town,” he said. “When we moved (here), all the business people on Main Street were younger people. We’re going to keep it that way.”

Call 642-4542 for Gene’s Lock Shop.

Fast-Teks makes computer house calls

Nothing is more frustrating than having your computer crash — except having it crash on a Sunday morning or a weekday at 4:55 p.m.

“In most situations, by 5 it’s hard to get ahold of anybody,” said Lynne Hix-DiSanto, who’s dealt with her own share of computer problems that have left her previous businesses at the mercy of a technician’s schedule. As a result, “I realized that Rapid City had a need for seven-day-a-week accessibility to technicians.”

That realization led Hix-DiSanto and her husband, Mark DiSanto, to open Fast-Teks, a nationally franchised company that offers on-site computer services.

“We have skilled computer technicians that work seven days a week, days and evenings, and come to people’s homes and businesses to provide computer support and problem-solving,” Hix-DiSanto said. “We try to get a technician out within an hour of the call.”

Customers pay by the hour, which includes travel. Technicians can provide remote support as well, but that’s not the focus of the business. “This business model really makes it so that a friendly person comes to your house and says ‘let’s take a look at it,’” Hix-DiSanto said.

They can work on all types of PCs, Macs and laptops. Typical calls range from virus removal to slow-running computers to printer problems, any of which can bring a business to a grinding halt — or throw a big wrench into someone’s personal life.

“People are so dependent on computers for paying their bills, working on their taxes, contacting people,” Hix-DiSanto observed. “Even in our personal life being without a computer for a period of time is very difficult.”

There are more than 400 Fast-Teks nationwide, but the Rapid City business is the first in South Dakota.

Fast-Teks hours are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. Call 791-FAST (3278).

Auto Advantage moves to Rapid City

Come July, Shurald “Swede” Swedlund will be able to fully appreciate the new Rapid City location of Auto Advantage.

Since opening his used car lot on leased property in Sturgis in 1999, Swedlund has spent countless hours each summer moving cars out of Sturgis to make way for vendors during the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally — and then moving all those cars back in.

“We actually did have to find a place every year to move them,” he said, then pay rent on that temporary space. Initially Auto Advantage closed for about two weeks each summer for the rally, but that later stretched closer to a month. “The rally seems like it comes in earlier and leaves later,” Swedlund noted.

Now Swedlund and his wife, Nancy, have set up shop in a brand-new building at 1415 East Highway 44.

“We’re excited to be in Rapid City. A lot of our customers are down in this area,” he said, and the new lot has more room than the old one. “We’re going to stock around 200 pre-owned late-model used cars. … We buy a lot locally. We buy a lot from GMAC, Chrysler credit, Ford Motor credit, Chase Financial, a lot of one-owner lease returns.”

Hours are 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, and after hours by appointment. Call 791-4199.

H & R Block now in mall

Just in time for tax season, H & R Block has opened a new location in the Rushmore Mall, next to Fish Here in the JCPenney wing.

The mall location will be open through April 15. Hours will vary, so it’s best to call before you head out for a Sunday shopping/tax excursion.

H & R Block operates three locations in Rapid City, one of which stays open year-round, and one at Ellsworth Air Force Base. Owner Matt Fitting said the franchise has been operating in Rapid City for more than 50 years.

Call 341-3118 for the mall location.

Contact Heidi Bell Gease at 394-8419 or


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