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The Pond's Manager Shawn Waldo claims the best part of her job is working with the public and getting to know her customers.

The Pond is this week's Business of the Week

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Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
(218) 333-9819 customer support
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Reputations in small towns are key. Luckily, most residents of Blackduck label The Pond's reputation as having the best burgers in town.

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The Pond, which is city operated and managed by Shawn Waldo is a great place for locals and visitors to share good food, their favorite beverages, entertainment and good company.

"My favorite part of this job is getting to know people," said Waldo, who has been at her position since January 2008. "I enjoy meeting people and talking with them."

When Waldo came to the position a little over two years ago, she wanted to bring a potential to increase business.

"I like to think I have improved The Pond's business," she said.

Waldo explained that she wanted to open new doors to what The Pond offered. A wine tasting club, a Texas Hold 'Em tournament, happy hour, different nightly specials and ladies night are among fresh new ideas Waldo and her staff have brought to the community.

"I'm constantly trying to figure out ways to keep people in here," she explained.

To come up with ideas and keep up with regulations, The Pond is a member of the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association.

"We meet twice a year," Waldo said. "It gives us an opportunity to get new ideas from other managers, find out what works and what doesn't and just get some good ideas."

According to Waldo, The Pond's busiest season is during the winter months with ice fishing bringing tourism to the area. With that season coming to a close, the business looks at March and April being the slowest, more challenging months when it comes to business.

"It is during these slower months that I really work to come up with new ideas for the place," Waldo said.

When looking at another challenge The Pond is facing, Waldo explained the controversy over municipal liquor stores.

"There has been a lot of legislation in past years that people want to see municipal stores done away with," she said. "However, towns that have municipal stores, this is really the only revenue. People need to understand that every dime spent at a municipal goes directly back into their community, basically reducing property taxes."

Waldo went on to explain that The Pond transfers money to the general fund of the city every year.

Waldo went on to say that originally municipal stores were established to control the sale and consumption of alcohol.

"We don't have any stricter rules than a privately owned bar, but because we are city owned, we kind of do. We try to be firmer -- especially with minors and over serving. That is why we're here," she said.

Waldo looks forward to the warmer weather in upcoming months and has high hopes for The Pond's business when temperatures do go up.

"We're going to build a smoking patio this spring," she said. "We're going to have some big events this summer and really take advantage of outside."

The Pond's hours are 9-1 a.m. for on sale and 9 a.m. - 10 p.m. for off sale.

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Pioneer staff reports
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