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Jim Holland

Monte Hartl, Bradley Philips and Justin MacDonald have teamed up to open a new sports card, memorabilia and gaming store at 1940 Lacrosse St., the former Arnold’s Restaurant/Denny’s Drive-In located next door to the Ramada Inn and Convention Center.

Playmakers, offering a wide variety of sports cards and memorabilia, celebrated its grand opening Friday.

“Every type of sports card you could imagine, whether its baseball, basketball, hockey or football,” Hartl said.

A football helmet autographed by New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is a highlighted item, Hartl added.

The shop will also sell customer cards and collections through consignments, he said.

The polished metal-finished retro 50’s diner-style building was used to store construction materials during the months-long remodeling of the Ramada next door and after a renovation of its own is now open again as a retail business.

“We thought this was a pretty good location being right between Rushmore Crossing and the Rushmore Mall,” Hartl said.

The many gaming options range from Pokemon to Magic, The Gathering, he said.

“We’ll be able to host tournaments at this location, with plenty of space,” he said.

Moving company looking

Lansing, Mich.,-based Two Men and a Truck is looking for franchisees in the Rapid City area, according to a release.

Spokesperson Pam Batten said the company is refocusing on smaller population centers. Two Men and a Truck is well established in larger metro areas with more than 250,000 in population, but is now looking for franchisees in areas of between 75,000 to 200,000 people.

“It’s more of an owner-operator model that can appeal to more people,” Batten said.

She said the company opened a franchise in Sioux Falls in 2015 and opened a pair of smaller-market franchises in Montana recently.

The Rapid City-Black Hills area has been identified as a potential base for the smaller market.

That smaller franchise may consist of a standard 26-foot moving truck with an owner-operator and an employee, with moves limited to a couple hundred-mile radius. The company also offers large-scale cross-country moves, along with containerized pods.

“Once we did Sioux Falls, that was pretty much it for our standard market, but this opens it up for different people and for us. It brings our service to new customers,” she said.

See franchise.twomenandatruck.com for more information.

Reptile Gardens honored

Rapid City’s Reptile Gardens has picked up an award to go with its 80th birthday celebration this year. The family-owned attraction was named “Best Attraction in South Dakota” in USA Today's 2017 Reader’s Choice poll, according to a release.

A panel of travel experts and USA Today editors picked 20 initial nominees and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote on the USA Today website.

USA Today cited Reptile Gardens, opened in 1937 by Earl Brockelsby, for holding the Guinness Book of World Records title as the World’s Largest Reptile Zoo,.

“The botanical garden and zoological park is home to giant tortoises, prairie dogs, a bald eagle and a giant saltwater crocodile, among other critters,” the release stated.

“There are many excellent attractions in South Dakota, and it is a great honor for Reptile Gardens to be chosen in the USA Today poll,” said Reptile Gardens public relations director John Brockelsby.

VRC Metal recognized

VRC Metal Systems of Rapid City has made the Inc. magazine list of the 500 fastest growing privately-held companies in America, according to a news release.

They earned the position number 413 on the 2017 list and top the list in South Dakota.

The company is a manufacturer of high-pressure cold spray equipment used for corrosion-resistant coatings, wear-resistant coatings and repair of metal components, with particular applications in the aerospace industry.

To be considered in the 2017 Inc. 500 list, each company had to have a growth of at least ten-fold over the last three years.

VRC posted an increase of 1,060 percent during that period, matching companies such as Microsoft, Zappos, Under Armour and GoPro, according to the release.

Rob Hrabe and Dr. Christian Widener formed VRC Metal Systems in 2013.

The company is headquartered in the Black Hills Business Development Center in Rapid City but is planning a future move to the former Vandenberg Elementary School in Box Elder.

The company also operates satellite locations at 2200 Plaza Drive in Rapid City, as well as locations in Burlington, Mass., and Worcester, Mass.

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

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