Despite a rough start, there is plenty to be excited about in 2021 business wise in the area, from a new delivery service to a future store relocation to the opening of a long awaited business.

In case you missed it

Those near Pine River are finally getting a service that other communities have long enjoyed in the form of delivery pizza. This isn't just any pizza, but pizza from Community Bowl and Pizzeria.

As of Dec. 10, the bowling alley has been offering pizza delivery from 4-9 p.m. Thursdays-Saturdays within 10 miles of the bowling alley, which is on Barclay Avenue in downtown Pine River.

The delivery concept appears to have started as a means to combat the challenges all dining establishments have faced with COVID-19 restrictions shutting indoor dining until just this week. Nobody from the alley opted for an interview; however, they confirmed the pizza delivery information.

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Also in Pine River, Cy and Lisa Struss, owners of the former Pfeiffer Drug store and more recently Ole & Lena's, have been working for more than a year to reopen the building on Barclay Avenue as a pharmacy again, this time as a GuidePoint Pharmacy.

Lisa, property owner and manager, said the opening was delayed because they wanted to ensure the pharmacy would have cooperation from as many insurers as possible, making the pharmacy accessible to as many customers as possible.

"There are two insurances I haven't received contracts for yet," Lisa said. "That was kind of what was holding us up all along. I didn't really want to start without having everything we could have."

Lisa said one of those two has sent paperwork, and the other is still in progress due to difficulty arranging site visits. The doors finally opened Dec. 17, and she said the business has been well received.

Customers picking up medicine must enter from the side door for the time being, as the opening for the front of the building - complete with a working old-fashioned soda fountain and ice cream counter - is being delayed until COVID-19 guidelines are somewhat less restrictive.

"We won't be opening the front door to the public or the soda fountain until probably spring when things hopefully open up in the state a little better," Lisa said.

The front half of the building is bedecked with gift shop and general store type offerings, including clothing and decor.

Coming down the road

Finally, looking to the future, Dave's Sportland Bait and Tackle in Nisswa is preparing to relocate from its small space next to Schaefer's Foods. The shop won't go far, however.

"We're going to move just basically across the highway from where we're at, but it's a bigger piece of land than we're sitting on right now," said owner Jason Erlandson.

The site along Highway 371, south of the Holiday Station, used to house a golf driving range. Floodlights are visible in the plot of land as well.

Site work is expected to begin this summer.

"This upcoming summer we'll clear land and prep the site and the following season probably build the new store," Erlandson said.

The new building will allow expansion for the iconic bait shop, possibly to include a wider variety of outdoor goods.

"We're going to build a bigger store with a bigger floor space," Erlandson said. "It should be pretty good size and then we should be a more well-rounded store with some hunting and more outdoor related items and clothing.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.