New stop opens along Highway 10
LAKE PARK, Minn. – Beauty and gas stations don’t usually get used in the same sentence, but they do when people talk about the new Cenex station in Lake Park.
“It’s not like any other convenience store you’ve probably ever seen,” said Community Co-ops General Manager Dave Blomseth. “It’s got cedar vaulted ceilings, granite countertops, real stone around the sides … it’s a first-class convenience store.”
The new facility opened July 7 after 10 months of construction. Planning began when road configuration changed in front of Cenex, reducing the number of access points to Highway 10.
“So (the Minnesota Department of Transportation) had a frontage road built right in front, making the property a lot more accessible,” said Blomseth, who added that co-op officials were thinking about how they would upgrade the facility anyway.
The convenience store section of Cenex was nearly 20 years old, and the service station area was roughly 60 years old.
Although weather spoiled plans to open at the beginning of summer, its debut last week was a welcome one for travelers.
The new store, just west of the original building on Highway 10, is twice the size at 5,000 square feet and houses an A&W restaurant.
“It’ll actually have a lot of the same things as the one in Detroit Lakes,” said Blomseth, adding that the co-op owns that station as well.
In fact, the assistant manager at the Detroit Lakes location, Bruce Eckman, was named manager of the new Lake Park store.
Like in Detroit Lakes, having the A&W in the new building was an important element of the store, which also includes Hot Stuff Pizza.
“There was a lack of eating establishments in Lake Park, so there was a need for expanded food service,” Blomseth said.
He said about 20 new employees were hired to handle all aspects of the store.
Getting in and out of the gas station also will be a lot easier for the big trucks that before would have a tight squeeze.
Not only are there more gas dispensers at the new station, but also a separate island for diesel, which is expected to improve traffic flow.
The store will have expanded hours throughout the summer – 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.
A weeklong grand opening is set for this week.
The old Cenex store has been shut down and is being prepared for a remodel.
The building will soon house a full hardware store, which will still be owned by the Cenex Community Co-Ops but will operate under Hardware Hank.