Corner Store fills niche with funPublished 10:40am Monday, July 15, 2013
Summer is the season of lakeshore fun on Otter Tail Lake, and the new ownership and management at The Corner Store have reason to celebrate.
Having made it through the long winter and spring seasons after opening, The Corner Store has a new focus of working towards becoming a summer staple on the lake. Customers have responded to the local convenience the store offers in its very first summer, according to Kathy Polejewski, the store’s manager.
“It’s been crazy busy, which is good,” Polejewski said. “We didn’t know what to expect at all, but I think not having expectations has made it a little easier. We haven’t had dead days out here when no one is around.”
Located off County Road 1 on Highway 145, the store has a long history of serving the west side of Otter Tail Lake. With new direction, Polejewski said she hopes the store can continue to draw fishermen as well as gain a whole new reputation for fun all year round.
“I’m trying to make the store more of a fun place, more so than just a bait shop or grocery store,” Polejewski said. “Most of the people who come here are at the lake or on vacation and we’re trying to make that experience here.”
After fire destroyed Ken’s Tackle in December, The Corner Store has served many of the bait and tackle needs of Otter Tail Lake anglers. While Polejewski said they could never duplicate the success of the former landmark, they hope the store will develop a loyal customer base.
The store offers a variety of other items, including beer and wine coolers, snacks, groceries, lottery tickets and more. Customers can fill up their trucks off the street or, if they are on the water, their boats at the lakeside gas location across on the beach. From flip-flops to brightly colored T-shirts, a selection of lake fashion is available as well.
With the variety of crowds coming in at different times — anglers out early looking for bites, coffee crowds at mid-morning and walkers out for an afternoon stroll — the store has become a bustling spot for the lake’s west side.
“It’s like a small town because you know everybody,” Polejewski said. “You get close to everyone because they’re in everyday.”
As manager, creating that local feel has been a priority for Polejewski. She encourages workers to help outside at the lakeside filling station and to talk to people at different beach events. Of course, she encourages friendly smiles and laughs as well.
As the area starts the second half of summer and customers continue in and out of the store’s doors, the philosophy has proven successful. With a number of special events and attractions planned for the store, Polejewski said they will have to wait until next year to use some of their ideas. For now, the store will continue to learn from what has made it enjoyable so far.
“These days I’m in at six and don’t leave until four or five and it’s no big deal because I’m talking to everybody and having fun,” Polejewski said. “I would do this forever.”