Getting the scoop from the new owners of the Sabin General Store
SABIN, Minn.—At the Sabin General Store, customers can buy a rootbeer float, old-fashioned soda, take-and-bake pizza, vintage toys, toilet paper, canned goods, beer, ice, bait and much more. While it's nearly impossible to be all things to all people, the store's new owners, Matt and Shana Sharp, are doing their best.
"We're basically a bunch of different stores in one. We're a candy store. We're an old-fashioned soda store. We're a toy store, a grocery store, a liquor store, a restaurant with pizzas and an old-fashioned soda fountain," Matt Sharp said.
The couple took over the business last fall when owners Chuck and Mike McWethy announced plans to close the Old Highway 52 General Store so they could concentrate on their chain of Mac's Hardware stores.
Their first year has not been without challenges. Matt Sharp said the biggest was probably getting residents in the small town six miles south of Moorhead to understand "in order to keep a pillar in this community, they have to come in and frequent us."
"We're very honest with people. We think that's a good thing so they understand that not everything is peachy all the time. We do need that business. We need everybody's repeat business," he said.
News that the store may close last year hurt outside business as well.
"A lot of people heard it was closing and haven't driven by to realize it's still open. We're still getting people who say, 'I had no idea you're still open,' " Shana Sharp added.
Most of the store remains as it was before, with a few additions like an off-sale liquor store that opened this spring.
They also recently added a "5-buck lunch" that includes a sandwich, pop and chips.The couple refer to the Sabin General Store as "FM's sweetest staycation destination." They said the short drive from Moorhead is worth it to experience the old-fashioned soda fountain.
"When you don't want to travel outside the area or want something fun to do for an evening, come out here," Matt Sharp said. "The kids enjoy running around and looking at all the toys and candy. We've got so many different options under one roof that the kids kind of get lost in all the stuff."
He said the profit margins are pretty slim because they compete with bigger stores in Fargo-Moorhead. They both continue to work outside jobs, but they'd love to run the store full time one day.
"We love the people. That's the thing. If we can find a way to make it busy enough for it to be a full-time living, we would both love to be here," he said.
What: Sabin General Store
Where: 23 Main St., Sabin, Minn.
Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Sunday
Online: Search for the "Sabin General Store" on Facebook to learn more about upcoming events and specials.