By Tasha Schiedel
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN After 23 years of service, Eric and Judy Angvall are handing over the keys to Lester Prairie’s Angvall Hardware and Mercantile. It is a bittersweet moment for the couple as they close this chapter to begin a new one.
“It is time to retire,” Judy said. Eric added he “would like to travel and visit family and friends.” Judy agreed, adding she “wants to use the camper more often.”
They may be moving on to retirement, but they will both remain active in Lester Prairie.
It may take some getting used to, according to Eric. “I’m going to miss the routines of coming in to work,” he said.
Judy plans to finish a long list of projects.
New owners, Steve and Kay Quast are excited about their new adventure. They waited for the right time and place to own a business, and this is their moment. The Quasts became the new owners of Corner Stone Hardware and Mercantile May 2.
Kay has experience as a store manager, and Steve has been in maintenance for more than 30 years.
Remaining the same
The gift store and all its goodies will remain.
The tradition of giving Tootsie Rolls to good children will still go on. Judy cherishes those moments when the children would stop by.
“As the years passed we saw these little children walk up to the counter and receive their first Tootsie Rolls. And now, they come in to the store as customers,” Judy recalled.
The treats for the dogs that have a habit of stopping by will also still be available.
Angvall Hardware employees Jill Duncan and Zach Fasching will now work for the Corner Stone.
“This is a new take on an old store, while keeping the classic touch with a new twist,” Fasching noted.
“Now, there will be new owners with new ideas and energy,” Judy stated.
As Kay and Steve began to consider names for the store, they did some research on the history of the business. Kay read an article claiming the first owners, Paul Weise and Fred Kuhlmann, believed the store should be the cornerstone of Lester Prairie.
Kay said she “kept coming back to cornerstone” as an important part of choosing a new name. Thus, the name Corner Stone Hardware and Mercantile was formed.
As a bonus, the location is at the corner of Main Street and Central Avenue.
The most noticeable change will be the hardware carriers. Instead of the brand Do It Best, the Quasts will be carrying Hardware Hank. The process of changing brands will take 30 to 60 days to complete.
Another change is the store hours, which will be 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays through the summer.
“We are very excited and up to the challenge” stated Kay.
Lester Prairie Community Development Coordinator Adam Birkholz is excited about the possibilities coming to the community. “It is great to have a retail business in our town,” Birkholz said. “The Angvalls served our city really well, and now we have a new family.”
Eric and Judy have many wonderful memories of the years they owned the business.
Eric fondly remembers dogs coming into the store and putting their paws on the counter begging for a treat. Judy loved being able to watch all the children grow up to be adults.
The Angvalls will be staying in Lester Prairie.
“We enjoy our home, our friends, church, and community, and all four seasons Minnesota offers,” Judy commented.
Eric and Judy appreciate all the families and friends they have met during their 23 years of being local business owners in Lester Prairie.