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Woodland Convenience Store re-opens in Lake George

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news Bemidji, 56619
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

The grand opening of the Woodland Convenience Store was a mostly low-key affair except for the huge bouquet of roses on the counter.

But the gas was a steal.

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At 14 cents cheaper than neighboring Park Rapids, Lake George prices at the pump lured folks from miles away. Snowmobilers and trucks pulled up to the gas pumps.

There were people inside at the coffee bar, stocked with typical convenience store food, doughnuts, muffins, hot dogs, hot and cold drinks. This summer a soft serve machine will serve ice cream,

Two local fathers and their sons re-opened the store last weekend. It had closed in 2008.

Townspeople sent cards, flowers and well wishes to Brent, Justin, Dennis, Richard, Danny and Chad Bessler, two families of Lake George electricians who took a chance at economic development.

The store is at a busy intersection of U.S. Highway 71 and Hubbard County 4, prime real estate. It closed in 2008 after its previous owner died.

The Bessler fathers and sons bought and gutted the building entirely this winter.

It's painted a deep green inside, covered with wildlife pictures. The checkout counter is a work of art, a poly resin over wood. But it's the unique features cut into the counter that will attract the eye, small displays of fishing tackle and bullets under clear lacquer, work the men said they hired out.

Outside, ladders and wood are stacked up by the rounded corner of the building.

"We were gonna wait until summer to finish the outside, but we decided it didn't look open, so we got to work," said Dennis Bessler.

Son Justin agreed. It didn't look too inviting, he said, so after tackling the inside, the work moved outdoors. Unseasonably mild weather has allowed the men to work on the exterior, which will be wood paneled, covering the aging stucco.

The men, all electricians, will take turns behind the counter and hire help during the busy construction season, when their mainstay business calls. The store is open seven days a week. Its new phone number, which isn't in the book yet, is 699-3033.

Meanwhile, Lake George is humming with activity once again. And hopefully, the store owners will never learn how expensive fuel is outside this tiny burg.

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