Report: Al’s Oasis being soldRamkota identified as part of new partnership; all sides mum on deal.
By: Chris Mueller, The Daily Republic
OACOMA — After 94 years with the same family, Al’s Oasis is apparently getting a new owner.
The renowned tourist attraction in Oacoma will now be operated by a partnership formed by U.S. Hotels, a subsidiary of the Sioux Falls-based Ramkota Companies, according to a statement released last week to media in the Chamberlain/Oacoma area and reported by several weekly newspapers.
The Mueller family, which has owned Al’s Oasis since it opened as a grocery store in 1919, will become one of the investors in the partnership. The family decided to sell to Ramkota because of its roots in South Dakota and its understanding of the state’s tourism and hospitality industries, the statements says.
The sale is expected to be complete this spring. Al’s Oasis includes a grocery store, restaurant and various other visitor amenities, all arranged in Old West-style storefronts visible from Interstate 90.
Calls made this week by The Daily Republic to Al’s Oasis co-owner Steve Mueller were not immediately returned.
Calls made this week by The Daily Republic to David Sweet, chairman of Regency Hotel Management, a division of the Ramkota Companies in Sioux Falls, went unreturned.
Ramkota is also involved in the pending sale of Cedar Shore Resort, which is located about three miles away from Al’s Oasis.
Cedar Shore could receive a boost from the state Legislature if the Senate approves HB 1030, which includes $3 million in bonds for shoreline stabilization and related work at the resort.
The legislation, which was introduced by South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks Department, has already passed in the House and was passed by the Senate State Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
At the same time as the two landmark businesses are being sold, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe is proposing a $34 million casino be built in the same area.
The casino would be on land the tribe controls off the reservation, located just west of Oacoma, along the north side of Interstate 90.
If the project moves forward, the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe plans to move its gaming operations to the casino in Oacoma.
The tribe currently owns and runs the Golden Buffalo Casino on its reservation.
At a Feb. 5 meeting, developer Ron Valentine, of Consolidated Casino Systems, said the tribe’s proposed casino would employ 241 people, with wages in excess of $7 million, and could attract more than 300,000 visitors each year.