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Pentagon puts spin on 'locally grown'

08/27/2013, 5:00pm CDT
By Jodi Schwan

Daktronics made scoreboards; Orion, Beef 'O' Bradys to serve food

Sanford Health representatives approached Brookings-based Daktronics Inc. two years ago with a unique request.

In keeping with the throwback theme of the proposed Pentagon basketball complex, Sanford wanted a scoreboard that looked old but used new technology.

“I don’t think you’ll see anything like this anywhere in the country,” Daktronics sales representative Matt Warnke said of the retro-looking center-hung display board. “We’re excited about it. From our perspective, it shows our ability to blend the old and the new, and hopefully everyone will think it’s pretty unique looking and pretty neat.”

The Daktronics project is one of several slightly unconventional business collaborations within the Pentagon, which opens next week and hosts its first major event in October.

“We’re partnering out on the complex in as many ways as we can,” said Eric Larsen, general manager of the Sanford Sports Complex.

Daktronics sold Sanford all the scoreboards, shot clocks, electronic timing and scoring pieces used in the Pentagon, which includes six high school and college-size basketball courts in addition to the 1950s-throwback Heritage Court.

“We think they did a great job,” Larsen said. “They definitely have the design of an old-school scoreboard. But we’ll have video boards that really are the scoreboards and video replay.”

Daktronics also provided the production, camera and replay system for the complex and designed custom courtside tables with LED displays.

“We blended new technology but gave it a very old look with a wood face display,” Warnke said. “I think people will be pretty wowed by that.”

The project was a challenge Daktronics engineers embraced, he said.

“And the fact that it’s in our backyard is extra special,” Warnke said. “We can’t wait for the first event.”

The concessions at the Pentagon also involve local business partnerships. Orion Food Systems will provide the food for three concession areas. The main kiosk will feature Hot Stuff Pizza and traditional concession fare including hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, chili cheese fries and nachos.

When the Pentagon hosts a daylong tournament, the main concession also will offer breakfast items such as sausage, egg and cheese croissants and breakfast pizza.

“We’re trying to go a notch above with service and quality,” said Paul Foley, Orion director of corporate accounts. “It will be one of the better concessions, and we’ll have a nice variety of things.”

Another concession kiosk will offer made-to-order sandwiches, wraps and burritos.

“Hot Stuff Pizza is well known around this area, so we have a really good opportunity to have a lot of people going through there to try our food and see we do other things and we can do concessions,” Foley said. “Our main business is in convenience stores, but this gives us another avenue to reach out.”

Larsen said the relationship is a natural extension, with Orion already providing items at a food court in the Sanford USD Medical Center.

“It was an easy step for us to start talking to them originally about being our supplier with the concessions,” he said. “We think we’ve got a great program set up.”

A newer business relationship will help staff the Pentagon’s food service. The local owners of a Beef ‘O’Brady’s restaurant that will open in October at the Sanford Sports Complex will manage the concessions staff and offer a menu for the suites.

“We’re really trying to create the same environment we will create in our restaurant, which is a professional, happy, good-service environment,” franchisee Rory Kelly said.

The plan is to share wait staff and bartenders with the restaurant, he said. The Pentagon will include a bar area that will be open for some events.

“We visited multiple arenas to get a feel for what other cities are doing,” Kelly said. “Our goal is to create a professional bar environment where people can mingle a little bit and also view the games. It’s not just a rinky-dink bar setup. It’s a nice-looking area that people will gravitate to.”

The Pentagon has 18 suites, and the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s group will offer a menu that is similar to the restaurant’s but with different portion sizes.

“It’s going to be an awesome project,” Kelly said. “I think people are underestimating what that whole area is going to achieve. It will be a landmark.”

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