Badlands Pawn Lays Off Dozen Employees; Brennan’s End Nigh?

Schadenfreude! KDLT’s Anndrea Anderson jumps on the news that Badlands Pawn has laid off a dozen employees as a sign of doom for Brennan’s last foothold in South Dakota:

Now there are signs that Badlands Pawn could be the next casualty.

Roughly a dozen Badlands Pawn employees have been laid off this week – about half of them from the Badlands Weekly television show.

KDLT News reached out to Brennan, who said he could neither confirm nor deny the closure [Anndrea Anderson, “Some Badlands Employees Laid Off as Brennan Sells Speedway, Dollar Loan Centers,” KDLT, 2016.12.29].

The Badlands Weekly crew posted what appears to be their farewell infomercial this week in the form of a sophomoric Gilligan’s Island parody:

The infomercial, its coarseness an unintentional paean to Trumpism, advertises that the pawn shop continues to sell off off some of the rock memorabilia it displays, as announced in their December 7 infomercial.

45 Responses to Badlands Pawn Lays Off Dozen Employees; Brennan’s End Nigh?

  1. Future KDLT headline?: Having satisfied the local demand for guns, gold and rock & roll, Brennan declares victory and departs for Las Vegas.

  2. Robert McTaggart

    They haven’t satisfied the demand for guns made of gold that play rock & roll when you pull the trigger…

  3. Only the poorest of the poorest so called businessman could loose money at a pawn shop. Damn man, how can that be in South Dakota in particular? There is a pawn company that operates a couple of stores in Rapid City, one in Sioux Falls, and some in Las Vegas that all do very well. In driving in both big villages in South Dakota, they all seem to be doing good business except for this guy, what gives?

  4. Ror, that sounds more like a headline at that Sioux Falls paper.

    Robert, I like your interdisciplinary approach to Trumpist merchandise. :-)

    Jerry, I agree. If anything, the pawn shop ought to be able to pick up business from all those folks who can’t get 574% loans anymore. Perhaps Brennan overreached the business model: people aren’t going to drive from two states away to come see a pawn shop, no matter how much you dress it up as something bigger.

  5. Robert McTaggart

    Cory, you would think somebody will service the payday loan market at the lower interest rate after some consolidation or enough providers leaving the market. Maybe they don’t call it a “payday loan” any more….

    Trump will be signing a lot of documents to overturn Obama policy. Instead he will just use one of these gold guns, point and shoot, and send out a digital signature.

  6. I thought the video was well produced and kind of cute. It was the five minutes of self-promoting commercials between segments that drove me nuts.

    I’m not sorry to see Chuck leave but I do know a number of the people in the gun shop. They’re good folks just trying to make a living. Same for the radio station. You’d think a business genius like Chuck would have factored in a possible Yes vote on capping payday loans at 36% before building his Bad empire. To sound Biblical, he placed it on a foundation of sand. And so ye shall reap what you sow.

  7. Badlands Deli is closed. I was hoping to pick up my favorite sandwich for lunch today. Gonna miss that place.

  8. Robert McTaggart

    Maybe he will do a Trump and license out the name “Badlands Deli”, but not actually make any sandwiches. It’s not a bad name and the sandwiches did look pretty good on TV any way.

  9. From what I’ve read it’s hardly even a pawn shop. It’s mostly (new) Badlands merch and some overpriced refurbished stuff like tools and electronics. I think he only named it Pawn because he wanted to be a Pawn Star on TV, back when that was a thing.

  10. Maybe he should put some money into duck calls so he can be a TV star that way…call it Chuck Dynasty.

  11. Wade Brandis

    It now appears that the deli workers were among those laid off, but weren’t they contracted from Cleaver’s Market? Maybe Cleaver’s decided to pull out from the pawn. The deli was the best part of Badlands Pawn. I checked their Facebook page, called “Badlands Deli” and there is no mention of it’s closure, except someone asking whether or not they are moving somewhere else.

    I’d imagine within the next week, Badlands Pawn will either close for good, or launch a “going out of business” sale to clear out all the pawn shop stock and souvenirs. Badlands Pawn could have worked, but Chuck tried too hard to turn it into the next must-see tourist trap. Lots of things for adults, but not so much for the kids. The post-apocalyptic theme probably turned off some potential visitors as well, though I thought it was cool. But hey, they had free ice water and 5 cent coffee, just like another certain tourist trap west river.

    As for Badlands Weekly, the last episode was just weird. They go all out with this cheap Gilligan’s Island parody because someone named “Larry” complained to them. The wooden acting reminds me of the old Captain Caribou show skits. Those had charm. This… I don’t know. They seem very desperate, trying to get those last few people to visit the pawn before it’s inevitable closure.

  12. Hit the road Jack.

  13. Hit the road Jack. TAKE DENNY WITH YOU.

  14. Porter Lansing

    All right. Out the Front switchblades are legal in South of Dakota? Research shows it’s true. Any problem with knife wounds in the ER? he he

  15. W R Old Guy

    I wonder if our Payday lenders are trying a new business model. I volunteer at a senior citizens info center. We received a fax (yes we still use them) this afternoon from US Capital Fiance, Rapid City SD telling us that our business had been approved for a commercial line of credit in the amount of $69,480.00 based on our business profile with D&B and our Paynet score. Since we are pre-approved and activate our file within 10 days, the money will be in our account within 2 days.

    A check of the return fax number comes back to Atlanta , GA. There are numerous comments of businesses around the country receiving the same fax with the US Capital Fiance and the name of the local city. The return address is the Atlanta #.

    Could it be a new venture?

  16. Wade Brandis

    Lots of rumors going around on Facebook at the moment. Steven Hildebrand just said on his Facebook page that Badlands Pawn is closing for good this Saturday. Comments on the post seem to indicate the pawn side is closing and not the gun range. KELO-AM’s Token Liberal also mentions a possible Saturday closing date.

    This information can’t be verified since the Badlands Pawn Facebook page hasn’t said anything (of course) and Chuck hasn’t confirmed or denied these rumors.

  17. It sounds like the entire business plan was on the ropes long before Mr. Hickey and Mr, Hildebrand put the final nail in the coffin. From what I have been reading, just the deli was the draw and of course the fleecing of the payday loans. Maybe in the end, Mr. Brennan will be glad that this is over.

    From the looks of things, most of the payday loan business fronts are now closed. I see the title places and pawn shops are going strong though. I have only seen two pawn shops go under that I am sure of, this one in Sioux Falls and one in Rapid City.

  18. Brennan’s statement that “the doors will open on Saturday … and again Monday after the holiday” doesn’t necessarily mean that the pawn shop will remain open. They can close the pawn shop without closing the gun shop/range because inside the lobby there are separate doors for the pawn shop and the gun shop. The gun shop is busy, so my guess is that it would stay open regardless of what happens on the pawn side.

  19. Let us hope that patrons of the pawning shop and gun store, as they browse, tell the employees “you don’t need those pants, evil pay day lenders.”

  20. As the payday loan center is now closed Mr. grudznick, that statement to them would be meaningless. Maybe the best thing to mention to the employees is that you hope they are still going to be employed at the pawn shop and gun store. Make nice Mr. grudznick, make nice. You can always get more good from a little honey than with vinegar, unless you are cleaning your Mr. Coffee carafe.

  21. I like Epp’s comment on the KELO Radio Token Liberal FB page:

    Chuck Brennan won’t have trouble paying his bills or feeding his family once he fully pulls the plug on all his toys. He’s got plenty of money. The people who gave him their loyalty and hard work may not be so lucky [Todd Epp, FB post, KELO Radio Token Liberal, 2016.12.29].

    Brennan’s wealth insulates him from the consequences of his actions. He appears to lack any conscience to take up the slack.

  22. KBAD Radio announced this morning that they are moving the studio out of the pawn shop this weekend and into the building next door – which is part of the complex but is not open to the public. This combined with the closing of the deli – which is on the pawn shop side of the building – tells me that the pawn shop portion of the operation is closing. The gun shop with its separate entrance is busy, and will likely stay open.

  23. grudznick, so any business that has employees is a good business?

  24. I did not type that, Mr. o. Clearly the “you don’t need those pants” comment went over your head.

  25. CH,

    If Brennan had announced prior to the election that passage of the IM would result in the closing of all of these businesses, you would have dismissed it as an idle threat, said for voters not to succumb to blackmail, or said it didn’t matter.

    The consequences of passage of the IM is these businesses are closing. Chastising Brennan for not taking responsibility for the “consequences of his actions” is disingenuous when you’d not have changed your mind on the issue if he had announced they would close prior to the election.

    The voters have spoken and these are the consequences. Period.

    1) No more payday lenders and source of loans for those with the poorest credit.
    2) The speedway is closed.
    3) The Rock and Roll Academy is closed.
    4) It looks like the pawn shop might be next and maybe even the radio station.

    Whether from one’s perspective this is a net gain or net loss doesn’t matter. It is what it is.

  26. Wade Brandis

    Things just get more interesting by the day. That Sioux Falls paper is now promoting an interview with Chuck coming for this Sunday on their website and in print.

    Too bad their site is infested with intrusive ads and they aren’t friendly to ad blockers.

  27. mike from iowa

    Troy, none of these businesses were forced to close by the passage of IM. Brennan pitched a fit, had a snit and quit. Now, the chances are real good he will take to the media and whine his little heart out about the callousness of a state that allowed him to rip off the poor for years, now denying him that special favor. The people-not Brennan- have spoken. Isn’t that the way democracy is supposed to work? Or is the gubmint there to aid and abet only the wealthy? At least the domino theory in SE Asia was plausible. Lose country, lose them all even if it didn’t happen.

  28. mike from iowa

    Wr OldGuy- that sounds like a scam with hidden interest costs and who knows what else included. If you had iowa’s Tom Miller as your AG I’d suggest you turn it over to him, but…..

  29. It looks like a dollar loan center is open in rapid city on lacrosse.

  30. W R Old Guy


    This scam is multistate. If you had a business in Iowa City, the fax would have Capital Financial, Iowa City in the header. The return fax number is Atlanta. They want you to answer a few questions on the form and fax it back.

    I would guess it would fall under fed jurisdiction.

  31. Mr. jerry, is that the one by the Mongolian All You Can Eat and the Philadelphia Ted’s? I expect they will be open for some time so they can collect all the money owed to them by stupid people. I think the new law made it so they can’t offer choices to stupid people but those stupid people still have to pay what they owe. There are no free rides on the tax payer’s britches.

  32. PS: That Mongolian All You Can Eat is a pretty swell place for lunch. I’m just sayin…

  33. mike from iowa

    No doubt, Mr Old Guy. I was just hinting that I wouldn’t trust Jackley to investigate much of anything.

  34. Porter Lansing

    Philly Ted’s looks promising. Not many west of Philly will dare use Cheese Whiz, like the real thing. What he could add is the Harlem low-income version called the Chop Cheese from Haji’s on 110th and First Ave. Ground chuck is chopped on the flattop instead of traditional sliced ribeye. The Chop Cheese is taking USA by storm.
    Just sayin’, Grudz. I’ll try a few of these “steaks” next time I’m up in Rapid. he he

  35. That is the one Mr. grudznick, I have not ever tried that one there though. Many years ago, there was a Mongolian Grill on West Main street by the old bakery. Kind of a mud hole as I remember. I don’t remember how the food was there either, must have been okay.


    That is the kind of fellow, barricaded in the Walmart nearly next door to the dollar loan center, who would take out a loan from Mr. Brennan.

    Mr. Lansing, yes I think they use the whiz. They name sandwiches after sports teams. The “Packer” has lots of Whiz Cheese and the “Chief from Kansas City Missouri” has BBQ spread.

    Mr. jerry, I am more of a breakfast eater than the Chinese but I did eat at that place on West Main in the day.

    I rue the day the breakfast joint there across from Prairie Market closed, and more recently the place up on the hill at the Roadway. Now they had gravy and taters and pancakes and even custard and puddings and rolls and as much as you could eat.

    Today if you don’t have a nice reserved table at Talleys I would recommend the Campbell Street Cafe. A fellow can feel at home there with a waffle.

  37. I was at the gun shop and gun range Friday. Both were busy and well stocked. I know a couple of the range guys–former cops who have never steered me wrong and they say the gun shop/range and radio station aren’t going anywhere, as in they will stay in business. Another employee in the gun shop says they are staying open.

    The pawn shop closing, however, wouldn’t surprise me. It has high end stuff. If most people want jewelry and watches, they want new Rollexes and diamond rings. Seemed like a flawed business approach.

    My best guess is pawn shop closes and radio station and gun shop/range stay open. KBAD will need to get actual advertisers to stay viable as it won’t be able to remain a Dollar Loan Center loss leader and pawnshop shill.

  38. mike from iowa

    Drumpf ain’t even been coronated and he is already driving businesses out of South Dakota. Bad Drumpf, bad!

  39. Wade, it sounds like that Sioux Falls paper is more interested in driving web traffic and Sunday paper sales with suspense rather than just telling us what they know.

  40. Troy, arguing hypotheticals gets us nowhere. You offer no evidence from any alternative universe showing what Cory-Prime did in response to any statement by Chuck-Prime. I think I, like Steve Hildebrand, was pretty clear that the value of the jobs in Brennan’s payday loan businesses does not compensate for the economic, social, and moral costs of predatory lending on our neighbors. Some jobs aren’t worth the pain.

    But now to say that the closing of these non-payday-lending businesses is a consequence of the passage of IM 21 is an incorrect acceptance of Brennan’s petulant excuses. It’s like saying, “The hostage taker’s shooting of one hostage was a result of the police’s refusal to comply with the hostage taker’s demands.” If a hostage taker shoots a hostage, the hostage taker bears full moral and legal responsibility for that killing; the police bear none. IM 21 has no bearing on race tracks, music academies, or pawn shops. A decision by any businessman to close any such business is entirely the responsibility of the business owner and not at all the responsibility of voters who imposed a 36% cap on interest rates for payday loans.

    I don’t know what Cory-Prime said in his universe’s election (other than, “Thank you, District 3-Prime for choosing me over Al-Prime!”), but in this universe, I maintain that the closure of Chuck Brennan’s non-payday-lending businesses is a consequence of his own petulance and probably his bad business skills, not a consequence of IM 21.

  41. Hey, Mike, interesting point! Why isn’t Donald Trump calling Chuck Brennan and working out a deal to keep his non-payday-lending jobs here in South Dakota? Doesn’t Trump care about the rural people who elected him?

  42. Porter Lansing

    The businesses being shuttered weren’t businesses at all. They were tax write offs for something the voters deemed harmful to general society.

  43. Wade Brandis

    That Sioux Falls paper just posted Stu Whitney’s interview piece with Chuck at their website. Here’s the link.

    Some highlights from the interview (besides his defense of payday lending): Badlands Pawn is officially closed as of Saturday, but the gun range and KBAD will remain open. Some ideas were mentioned of any future use of the old pawn such as a sports bar/restaurant, concert venue, or a sports store.

    Oh, and he called Hickey and Hildebrand “consumer do-gooder wannabes” and “false prophets”.

  44. Wade Brandis

    Oh, here is the run-of-the-mill statement regarding Badlands Pawn closing.

    Just how they are going to get rid of all the pawn inventory is a mystery. One day indoor sale? Sell it all on eBay? An auction?

    I really should have bought one of those die-cast “Gold Run’r” things.

  45. They way chuck treated his dedicated employees was unconscionable. Left them hanging until the very last day of operation. May his fate forever be sealed in South Dakota. He made the decision to close his businesses, no one else. He’s ruined a lot of people’s lives because of his arrogance and greediness. He is like a child and blames everyone but himself for his decisions. His reputation has been sealed here in South Dakota. Never ever trust or work for chuck Brennan. You will regret it, ask his former employees.