HJ/EDMarch 13, 2006

Local Casey's stores top state in fundraising event

By Liz Hellmann
Staff Writer

Out of 90 participating Casey’s stores in Minnesota, two local stores came out on top during a fundraiser for the Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare and Children’s Cancer Research Fund.

The fundraiser is part of the KS95 radio station’s “KS95 for Kids,” and it is the fifth time Casey’s has partnered with them.

Both the Winsted and Montrose Casey’s participated in the annual event during February, and raised more than $4,000 combined.

“The unexpected was how the community responded. Toward the end, people were throwing $20 bills into the change drawer,” Winsted Casey’s manager Josh Krych said.

The Winsted store raised $2,441, the most of all the stores in the state. Montrose wasn’t too far behind, with $2,363, taking third place.

“Montrose has been in the top three for four consecutive years – it’s just amazing, the support from the community,” Montrose Area Supervisor Linda Euerle said.

The Montrose store stayed on top through its fundraising efforts, which included a silent auction, its famous Valentine’s Day cookies-on-a-stick, bake sale, raffles, and balloon-popping day.

“People could donate money and then pop a balloon that had prizes in it,” Euerle said. She also recognized local businesses for their donations, including J&P Motors and Jeff Ex in Montrose, and Uptown Bar and Grill in Waverly.

But the real Cinderella story is the Winsted store, which only raised $400 last year.

When new manager Kyrch heard about the fundraiser in December, he set a goal of $2,000 for the store this year.

“I really didn’t even know we only raised $400 last year,” Krych said.

To meet the ambitious goal, Krych met with employees after work to brainstorm what they could do, besides the mandatory full-service gas pumping.

“I was really impressed with what we came up with,” Krych said.

The store sold Valentine’s Day cookies, had a change jar, which collected about $20 every two days, silent auction, and made donation cards for people to write their name on to display in the store.

Door prizes were donated by local businesses, including Jimmy’s Pizza, Blue Note Ballroom, Kegs Bar, and Duran Photography.

A hair raising sacrifice was made by Krych and two other employees, who agreed to let the highest bidder shave or dye their hair in exchange for donations.

“I thought we should sacrifice something,” Krych said.

Krych also showed his appreciation for those who donated, including the Winsted Fire Department, who contributed $620.

“The generosity was a ‘wow,’” Krych said.

The experience was capped off with a trip to Ridgedale by Krych, who presented the store’s check on KS95 radio.

But the fundraiser is far from over, as both the Montrose and Winsted stores gear up for next year.

“It’s hard because it’s done, but I’m excited for next year,” Krych said.

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