Shiny, new Cenex opens in Lake Park
BY PAULA QUAM
Beauty and gas stations don’t usually get used in the same sentence, but they are when people talk about the new Cenex station in Lake Park.
“It’s not like any other convenience store you’ve probably ever seen,” said Community Co-ops General Manager Dave Blomseth. “It’s got cedar vaulted ceilings, granite countertops, real stone around the sides…it’s a first class convenience store.”
The new facility opened up its doors Monday after 10 months of construction. Planning began when road configuration changed in front of Cenex that reduced the number of access points to Highway 10.
“So they (MnDOT) had a frontage road built right in front, making the property a lot more accessible,” said Blomseth, who says co-op officials were thinking about how they would update and upgrade the facility anyway.
The convenience store section of Cenex was nearly 20 years old and the service station area was roughly 60 years old.
Although weather spoiled the plans to open at the beginning of summer, its Monday debut was a welcomed one for travelers.
The new store, which is located just west of the original building on Highway 10, is twice the size (5,000 square feet) and it houses an A&W restaurant.
“It’ll actually have a lot of the same things as the one in Detroit Lakes,” said Blomseth, adding that the co-op owns the DL station as well.
In fact, the assistant manager at the Detroit Lakes location, Bruce Eckman, was named manager of the new Lake Park store.
Like in Detroit Lakes, having the A&W in the new building was an important element of the plans, which also includes Hot Stuff Pizza.
“There was a lack of eating establishments in Lake Park, so there was a need for expanded food service,” said Blomseth, who says roughly 20 new employees were hired to handle all aspects of the store.
Getting in and out of the gas station will also be a lot easier for the big trucks that before would have a tight squeeze.
Not only are there more gas dispensers at the new station, but also a separate island for diesel, which is expected to improve traffic flow.
The store will also have expanded hours throughout the summer open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day.
A week-long grand opening is being held next week.
The old Cenex store has now been shut down and is being prepared for a remodel.
The building will soon house a full hardware store which will still be owned by the Cenex Community Co-Ops but will operate under Hardware Hank.