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Mitchell Businesses Thrive Opening Weekend

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Earlier this fall, the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks released its annual pheasant count survey predicting bird numbers to be down 64-percent from last year. But despite the lower numbers, some businesses in Mitchell were thriving over the opening weekend.

If you didn't know before, the signs all over Mitchell say it all. It's opening weekend for pheasant hunters in the state.

Even inside Marlin's Family Restaurant, sits a much smaller sign that invites hunters to come in.
"Business has been great. Opening weekend is the second busiest week we have all year," said Marlin’s Family Restaurant General Manager, Tyler Bauer.
General Manager Tyler Bauer says despite this year's low numbers, hunters piled in. He's even seen about an 11-percent increase in sales throughout the week.
"We had to gear up three or four more servers and a couple more in the kitchen," said Bauer.
Bauer says his busiest times were the first four hours in the morning before hunters tried out their luck.
“Yeah, {I’ve} have no complaints,” said Bauer.
Across town at Chef Louie's Steakhouse and Lounge, owners say the hunters come in year after year, no matter how many pheasants there are.
"The hunters are really good to us. {They} always are. They've come here maybe 20 or 30 years. It's a tradition with them," said Chef Louie’s Steakhouse and Lounge Owner, Nikki Frederickson.
Owner Nikki Frederickson says she's been full every night since Thursday, serving around 500 meals a night.
"We hire more staff and bussers and waitresses that come back 20 or plus years just to help with the first two weekends,” said Frederickson.
Fredrickson says she anticipates business to slow down a little after the second weekend, but she says she anticipates staying busy through Thanksgiving. The season ends in South Dakota in January.
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