Parks Marina owners revive Okoboji’s Central Emporium

The Central Emporium
The Central Emporium

ARNOLDS PARK, Iowa – A century-old Okoboji-area landmark has a connection to Sioux Falls through its new owners.

Butch and Debbie Parks, who own Parks Marina in Okoboji and Sioux Falls, bought the Central Emporium in Arnolds Park earlier this year.

The Central Emporium has overlooked West Lake Okoboji for more than 100 years and includes more than two dozen shopping and dining venues.

Butch Parks, a native of the area, remembers hiding in the then-abandoned building when he was growing up in the 1950s. His parents danced there when it was a ballroom decades earlier. When it was offered for sale last year, other interested buyers would have turned it into condominiums. But Parks, who wanted it saved, prevailed.

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