There are a couple of big business moves in the works in Detroit Lakes: The Boys & Girls Club Thrift Store is moving to the former Kmart property on the west side; meanwhile, Outlet Recreation is preparing to move into the thrift store’s current spot.

“It is true,” said John Kerzman, Chairman of the Boys & Girls Club Thrift Store, responding to rumors Thursday, Jan. 2, that the store would be moving. “And I can confirm that our building has been sold.”

The thrift store is at 605 Highway 10 East, a property that was formerly home to a Pamida department store. Profits from the thrift store go to meet the financial needs of the local Boys & Girls Club.

Mike Larson, co-owner of Outlet Recreation, said the thrift store property is “just the right size for our store,” with substantially more room for indoor displays than their current location has — something they’d been wanting for awhile.

Outlet Recreation will be moving into the thrift store's spot, which will provide more space for indoor displays. (Marie Johnson / Tribune)
Outlet Recreation will be moving into the thrift store's spot, which will provide more space for indoor displays. (Marie Johnson / Tribune)

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Both moves are at least partially motivated by a need for more space, as both the thrift store and Outlet Recreation report continued growth.

“We couldn’t do this without the great philanthropic attitude of the Lakes Area,” Kerzman said. “The Boys & Girls Club Thrift Store affects everybody in this community, and the community has been so amazing.”

At Outlet Recreation, Larson said sales have increased every year since the business opened in 2014.

“Detroit Lakes has responded very well to us,” he said, “So we feel like this is something people in Detroit Lakes are really going to love … Expansion is always a great thing for us.”

Outlet Recreation plans to spend four to five months remodeling the thrift store building inside and out, including putting a new storefront on, before opening there later this summer. Larson said they’re shooting for a grand opening “sometime in July.”

Until then, Outlet Recreation will continue to operate at its current location at 1015 Highway 59 South.

For the thrift store’s part, Kerzman said the relocation will nearly double the store’s size, from its 45,000-square-feet now to 80,000-square-feet at the Kmart building. The layout of that property will also allow for smoother drop-offs and deliveries.

“The beautiful thing about it is the flow,” he said. “Right now, when people drop stuff off, they have to do a U-turn back there (behind the store), and there’s also deliveries there. At Kmart, it’s a square … it’s going to be a lot better flow.”

The Kmart building has sat empty at 1305 Highway 10 West since the store closed in the spring of 2017. Kerzman said the opportunity to fill that space was another motivator behind the board’s decision to move.

“Empty buildings aren’t good in towns,” he said.

Still, he added that the decision to relocate wasn’t an easy one.

“There are a lot of people who are very passionate about the current location, and that has been an amazing building for us,” he said. “But the extra footage is going to be utilized. Our biggest problem has been … sometimes we have to put stuff in a semi-trailer because we don’t have room for it and can’t get it out onto the floor. Believe it or not, we’ve had a problem with enough floor space.”

Kerzman said rumors that the thrift store will be moving in one month are not true. The board is meeting in the coming days to come up with an estimated timeframe for the relocation. Though the move is likely to happen relatively quickly, he said, “Everything takes longer than you would hope, especially with this weather. It is going to take a lot of coordination and planning.”

He said there are a few things that need to be fixed or updated at the Kmart building before the thrift store will open there, and the board also needs to work out the logistics of the move, as well as drop-offs and deliveries during moving time, among other details.

The thrift store may be closed for a short period during the relocation; more information will be released on that as plans become more final.

“It’s all preliminary right now,” Kerzman said. “It happened fast.”

The property transactions were a ‘right time, right place’ kind of scenario, according to Larson. He said Outlet Recreation had previously considered buying the Kmart building, but that had more square footage than they needed. He knew that the thrift store property, on the other hand, would be a good size for them. When he later caught wind that the thrift store was interested in the Kmart building, he reached out to see if there might be a win-win opportunity for both businesses. It turned out, there was.

“So everything just kind of fell into place,” he said.

On the move

Boys & Girls Club Thrift Store

  • Current address: 605 Highway 10 East
  • Moving to: 1305 Highway 10 West (former Kmart building)
  • Timeline: To be determined

Outlet Recreation

  • Current address: 1015 Highway 59 South
  • Moving to: 605 Highway 10 East (current Boys & Girls Club Thrift Store)
  • Timeline: Outlet Recreation plans to spend four to five months remodeling the thrift store building inside and out, including putting a new storefront on, before opening there later this summer. Co-owner Mike Larson said they’re shooting for a grand opening “sometime in July.”