Pine River: Former Journal building home to familiar store
The former Pine River Journal building has a new lease on life with the opening of Dar-BB's Lotsa Stuff Bargains Store, a business that just can't stay put.
Local resident Daryl Rudquist (former Dad's Ellwell Store) bought the former newspaper office building at auction last May, and his business partner, Annette (Nettie) Hagie, runs the store.
"Daryl Rudquist owns the building and I have set the building up for him and I am working for him. It's his store under his name and I'm just his partner. His silent partner, or whatever you want to call it. I'm a loud partner sometimes," Hagie said.
The store is technically a thrift store, though it isn't necessarily typical of a thrift store. Merchandise there includes used items, but it also includes Watkin's spices and extracts, brand new paper products, homemade items and farm fresh eggs.
With Hagie at the helm, the business inherited a name from outside of town.
"This is my 11th store that I've run since 1986," Hagie said. "In 1986, I got started in this type of work in Bemidji. I had five different stores up there with a friend I met kind of unexpectedly after I moved from Wisconsin. I met him and four months later we were opening our first store in Bemidji. In eight years we had five different stores up there, not all at the same time. From there we moved to Emily and had a store there, Lotsa Stuff number one in 1994."
The Journal building marks the fifth location of the bargain store. Lotsa Stuff started in Emily, but moved to Pine River to bring Hagie and her friend closer to the clinic. She opened Lotsa Stuff number two in about 2003 in a store on Barclay Avenue. Lotsa Stuff number three was a building just next door to Lotsa Stuff number two; they moved there three months later.
Lotsa Stuff number four came three years later when the store relocated to the former Crow Wing Power building at the south end of Pine River. Rudquist owned the property, so the store's name changed to reflect his ownership.
The purchase of the former Journal building offered Rudquist and Hagie the chance to move the store for the fifth (and Hagie says final) time, which came in handy when someone showed interest in purchasing the building and property housing Lotsa Stuff number four.
"This is going to be Lotsa Stuff #5. It's a name that has followed me from Emily to downtown Pine River to the south end of Pine River and down to the Journal building. They keep following me around and they know what I have," Hagie said.
Preparing the building for incoming inventory, Hagie made changes to the interior, including improving handicap accessibility. Hagie also had different sections of the building painted in different colors so she can direct customers to merchandise according to the color of the "room."
For example, Hagie has designated the pink room as the kid's department, the apricot room is for kitchen goods and the orchid room is paper products. The store even includes a men's department.
"When I had my store downtown the men said, 'Oh, no! Not another women's department.' This is going to be their department," Hagie said.
Hagie closed the store at the south end of town and began moving merchandise at the beginning of January.