R.F. Buche, CEO and president of G.F. Buche Co., has purchased Al’s Oasis in Oacoma, South Dakota, located on I-90 west of Chamberlain, on the banks of the Missouri River. G.F. Buche Co. currently operates a Buche Foods grocery store inside the Oacoma complex.
“Al’s Oasis is one the most iconic destinations in the state, so it was an easy decision,” said Buche. “The fact that we have family in Chamberlain and owned a store there from the mid 1980s to the early 1990s factored in, too.”
Buche says Al’s Oasis brings back a lot of great memories for his wife, Tammi, as well. “The place was a favorite stop for Tammi’s dad to get his favorite dessert, sour cream raisin pie, on their way to and from the Black Hills several times per year when she was growing up – and it’s still a favorite family stop today.”
On Aug. 6, 1906, the City of Oacoma celebrated the railroad bridging the Missouri. At the same time in Freiburg, Germany, a young German army officer named Albert Mueller debated his future and chose to come to America. In 1919, the Mueller family opened its grocery store in the then-bustling cattle town of Oacoma.
The business prospered and eventually the store was enlarged, adding clothing and other items in demand by travelers on their way to the Black Hills. The lunch counter grew from 10 stools into a full-scale restaurant where customers enjoyed not only sandwiches and pie but also steaks and prime rib. Over the years, the business has grown and expanded several times as travelers continue to stop at Al’s Oasis – where the coffee is still 5 cents.
Moving forward, Buche and his team plan to continue the Al’s Oasis tradition of customer service excellence. Two of G.F. Buche Co.’s core values include “being the best in customer service” and “always doing the right thing.”
“I want people to know our passion is supporting local communities by winning at retail,” Buche said. “When I look back on the history of Al and the Mueller family, strong values and a passion for service come to mind.”
While Buche has already completed a massive update to the grocery store side of Al’s Oasis, he looks forward to other improvements as well. The plan includes new bathrooms and a remodel of the restaurant and gift store to include South Dakota-made products, an old-fashioned candy and fudge shop and hunting and fishing merchandise.
“Customers can expect an incredible experience,” said Buche. “Customer experiences will include great food, an old west shooting range for the kids, one of the state’s best taxidermy scenes and a chance to interact with some of the best people in South Dakota.”
The Al’s Oasis restaurant will be managed by Sky Dine Inc., a family-owned Sioux Falls company. Sky Dine Inc. operates a variety of food service entities throughout South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana including Marlin’s Family Restaurants, fuel/travel centers, bars/lounges, casinos, airport concessions and other franchised operations including Subway, Cinnabon as well as partnerships with Culver’s Restaurants.
“It’s all about good service and quality products at reasonable prices,” said Dustin Sejnoha, co-owner and managing partner of Sky Dine. “Today there are many employees with over 40 years of history and employment at Al’s. We look forward to continuing the fantastic service and products that loyal customers have come to expect.”
Sejnoha says they plan on restoring the restaurant hours to include breakfast again in the near future and will prominently feature the Al’s Oasis legendary pie lineup. “It’s a tradition with more than a century of history and such an incredible family story. We are excited and humbled to be part of it.”
For more information, visit alsoasis.com and buchefoods.com.