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Land O'Lakes loses last grocery store, leaving community hoping for something new Submitted: 11/28/2016
Land O'Lakes - Many people in Land O'Lakes can remember when the community had two grocery stores.

Some can even recall a time when it had three.

But as of earlier this month, Land O'Lakes has none.

Saying the store simply didn't have enough support from the community, Village Market owner Eileen Urbaniak closed the town's last grocery store, dealing a blow to the area.
Barb Nehring, for example, has owned Trading Post Internationale in Land O'Lakes for 52 years. For each of those years, a grocery store has been open just across the street from her store. Until now.

"I miss that, even now, just two or three weeks that it's been gone," Nehring said.

There had been hints for about a year that the store would close.

"We always hoped that a white knight would come riding in and save us," Nehring said.

Instead, the store closed on November 6, leaving people, including Land O'Lakes Chamber of Commerce Executive Secretary Sandy Wait, disappointed.

"[People] are saying it's a bummer," she said. "They do miss the convenience."

Now, about the only source for groceries in town is the limited selection at gas station convenience stores.

"The convenience stores at the gas stations are adding product," Wait said. "They are listening to their customers and finding out what their needs are."

For full grocery trips, though, people have to travel either north to Watersmeet or south to Eagle River.

But the community is optimistic that the last chapter for groceries in this small town is yet to be written.

"I feel that this is an opportunity for someone to take over a business," Nehring said. "They would figure out how to make it work."

A year ago, Nehring searched for a white knight to save the grocery store. Today, Wait wishes for another force to intervene on the town's behalf.

"I hope that a guardian angel comes and that we do get a grocery store again," she said.

Written By: Ben Meyer

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