Frazee VFW closes bar until further notice, meetings to take place as scheduled

In a Wednesday post on the group's Facebook page, the Frazee-Vergas VFW Post 7702 announced that it is closing down until further notice. Meetings for VFW and AMVETS members will still take place as scheduled, but the bar and club side of the business will cease operations until a new business plan for the bar can be established.

A yellow 'closed' sign is displayed on the door of the Frazee-Vergas VFW Post 7702 building in Frazee, Minn., on March 3, 2022. The post's bar and club operations will cease until a more stable financial plan is established and operations can resume, according to the post's commander.
Marie Johnson / Detroit Lakes Tribune

The Frazee-Vergas VFW Post 7702 is closing until further notice, according to a March 2 post on the group's Facebook page.

Bad weather and operating under reduced hours caused the business to be closed more frequently than usual over the last month, according to updates on the group's page .

"It is with a heavy heart but optimistic visions towards the future that we announce our decision to temporarily close down until further notice," the post stated on Facebook. "It has become necessary for us to take a step back to repair and reevaluate our current business model so as to put us on a more successful path going forward."

Paul Lakin, commander of the post, said the VFW and AMVETS member meetings will still take place in the building; the only change will be a pause of the bar and club operations.

"The VFW has been like this for many years, where we get to points in our time where there's not enough revenue coming in and a lot of it has to do with the cost of doing business — it's a little pub," said Lakin. "For us to be running a pub like that, we don't get a lot of clientele, and the overhead is pretty high."


In previous times when revenue was low, he said, one of the VFW members or someone else from town would write a donation to cover the lower revenue. However, he doesn't feel that is a sustainable business model.

"Our thinking is that we will be opening up (the bar operations) probably in a couple months," said Lakin. "Again, we've got to come up with a new game plan."

Both organizations are looking for new members to join the veterans' groups and anyone interested should attend one of their monthly meetings, he said. The American Veterans group meets at the post on the first Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m., while the VFW holds its meetings on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:30 p.m.

"With all of this wonderful support of the locals coming in there and spending their money, all I want to do is to have enough to pay the bills and have enough in the bank to give some scholarships out and help more community organizations with the money," he said. "And that's what my hope is, to get a solid financial plan."

Lakin also said the VFW would be open to selling their building to an interested third party and work out a leasing arraignment to help alleviate some of the building costs.

In 2020, the post struggled to re-open due to tight finances after the first wave of COVID-19 stay-at-home orders in Minnesota and organized a fundraiser in August 2020 to help raise the funds necessary to resume more normal operations .

The group's Facebook post concluded: "We hope to accomplish the necessary goals quickly and return to serving our terrific community, but it has become clear that we need to deconstruct in order to reconstruct on a more solid foundation. We are beyond grateful for all of the love shown to us by our genuine supporters. You are the reason we keep pushing on, thank you."

VFW 2020.jpg
The Frazee-Vergas VFW Post 7702. (Marie Johnson / Tribune)

Lead Multimedia Reporter for the Detroit Lakes Tribune and the Perham Focus.
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