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Pine River DMV becomes Pine River's titling business

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Griep’s Jewelry’s half century of business in Pine River has come to an end, and is replaced with Pine River DMV.

Mike Griep and his wife, Carol, owners since 1980, had taken over the business Mike’s father, Erwin, started in 1957. Erwin began selling license plates in 1959 when he was appointed deputy registrar. This made Griep’s Jewelry a well-known Pine River business.

The Grieps decided recently that it was time to get out of the jewelry and vehicle title business. They began seeking a buyer in August, and within the next few months attracted the attention of Mary Didier, who had just been laid off from a 21-year job in sales and marketing.

Didier and her husband, Charlie, had been seasonal residents to the area for 26 years. They were friends of Realtor Doug Zaske.

“We would come up on the weekends. We always planned on retiring up here. I was laid off from my job and Doug Zaske said, ‘Grieps are selling,’ and I thought, ‘I’m ready for a change,’” Mary Didier said.

Sale of the business was finalized Jan. 24, though the Grieps decided to stay on and train Didier and her employee long after the sale.

“It’ll be the end of the summer for sure. If it takes longer, we’ll take longer to do it. I just want to make sure Mary and Tammy (Leerssen) are ready to do everything that’s necessary to de done,” Mike Griep said. “I won’t go until I know they can handle everything that walks in the door.”

“These guys are staying on and helping me train, which is wonderful. I couldn’t do this without them. There’s no way. The door would be closed and I would be broke,” Didier said.

Didier has renamed the store Pine River DMV, and it will cease to be a jewelry store as soon as all of the jewelry inside is liquidated. Didier’s husband plans to sell high-end antiques out of the front end of the store while she manages vehicle titles and tabs in the back.

Didier plans to keep the display cases in the front of the building for the antique business, though she does expect to eventually do some remodeling.

“If I ever get the money. It will be a big overhaul here. I’d like to change a lot of things,” Didier said.

Griep will remain in the area, and those who know him should be able to find him at the DMV for quite a while.

“I’m going to miss the people and meeting on a constant basis. That will be probably the biggest adjustment. I can’t just not come in anymore. That won’t work,” Griep said.

He also encourages his former customers to welcome the Didiers and Pine River DMV.

“I hope people continue to support the new owners as well as they have supported me for all these years. Hopefully I will get them trained to do as well as I did,” he said.

Didier was born in St. Paul and lived there until November, when she moved to Pine River full time. Charlie Didier is expected to join her soon following his retirement.

Travis Grimler can be reached at Follow him on Facebook.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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