We've been talking about the empty Gordmans building in Sioux Falls. The one across the parking lot from the Empire Mall.

We came up with some ideas for the future of the building. But, did you know that that location wasn't always a Gordmans store? It started its life as home to the Sioux Falls location of LaBelle’s catalog showrooms.

MORE: 12 Businesses That Would Do Great in Sioux Falls’ Abandoned Gordmans Building

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I've only been in Sioux Falls since 2006, so this was news to me. I was tipped off to this fact by Results-Townsquare Media's Scott Smith when he shared this memory about the Gordmans building:

"My first REAL job (post paper route days) was working for the ORIGINAL store that building was intended for...LaBelle's Catalog Showroom.  Do you remember that company? They also put out a KILLER catalog."

Yea, if you don't remember, LaBelle’s was a catalog showroom store.

In the olden days, you'd get the Sears, Mongromy-Ward, or the LaBelle’s catalog. The big, fat magazine that'd come in the mail. You could then order from the huge selection. I remember several Christmases in the '80s where the presents all came from one of those catalogs or another. Like an analog Amazon.

MORE: Remember The 1975 Page 602 Sears Catalog Scandalous Controversy

In addition to the catalog, there were these big department-type stores where you could buy the stuff in person. But, you'd shop almost like an old west general store. A display model would be on the sales floor. You'd look at it, then 'order' it.

"They had SO MANY DEPARTMENTS...cameras, high-end audio/video equipment, jewelry. They had a HUGE warehouse on the south side of the showroom.," Smith recalls. "You would walk-in the front door, go to the Will Call Order Desk, order what you wanted, then some young dude in the warehouse would find it, put it on a conveyor belt and send it to the cash registers where you would pay."

LaBelle's catalog store commercial
Townsquaremedia/tcmedianow via YouTube https://youtu.be/f3xKMlCj0ec



"I worked in an area where we sold smaller items called Self Service. We sold Toys, Sporting Goods, and Health & Beauty Aids. GREAT first job! Wore a tie and dress clothes. Drove my mom's 1978 Ford Granada to work, listening to Billy Joel's "My Life" on AM radio. Fun memories." 

LaBelle’s Catalog Showroom was headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota. In 1982 the company Best Products bought LaBelle’s parent company. At its height, Best had 180 stores in 23 states.

The rise of stores like Walmart and Target meant the end of the catalog showroom days. Best Products filed for bankruptcy in 1996, the following year their last store closed.

The LaBelle's Catalog Showroom in Sioux Falls opened in September of 1976.

Gordmans stores started as an Omaha, Nebraska-based company. Stage Stores bought the brand in 2017 when Gordmans first filed bankruptcy in 2017. The Sioux Falls Gordmans store closed in 2020. It had been in its location since the early 1990s.

MORE AT THE MALL: Freddy’s Frozen Custard & Steakburgers Announces 2nd Sioux Falls Location

12 Businesses That Would Do Great in Sioux Falls' Abandoned Gordmans Building

For thirty years the people of Sioux Falls saw the sign for Gordmans off-price department store across the parking lot from the Empire Mall.

In September of 2020, the store closed for its final time. Since then the building has sat empty, something that doesn't happen too often in Sioux Falls.

We were wondering what people in Sioux Falls would like to see take over the space. Some folks wanted their Gordmans back. It was a great place to find deals on clothing. But, all the Gordmans are gone, so that's a no-go.

And since we've gotten our Chick Fil A and Chipotle, the city is primed for another thing to line up for.

Check Out This 1962 Listing of Sioux Falls Bars and Restaurants - Do You Remember Any?

Check out this collection of Sioux Falls bars and restaurants. We have Giovanni's Steak House, The Rainbow Bar, Harry's Hamburgers, Eagle Bar and Lounge, Pancake House, Nickel Plate, and more. Do you remember any of them? Or how long any lasted?

Iowa Palmer Company's Twin Bing Products

Can you even really claim to live in this part of the country if you've never had a Twin Bing?


"It consists of two round, chewy, cherry-flavored nougats coated with a mixture of chopped peanuts and chocolate. The Twin Bing was introduced in the 1960s," -Wikipedia

Not only has the TB been a staple of the Sioux Empire for over half a decade, but the makers of the classic candy have also infused the unique cherry and chocolate flavor into lots of other things.


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