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Grocery store opening again in Osakis

Heath Peterson was busy cleaning up the grocery store in Osakis, making way for big improvements. He and his wife, Cindy, plan to open the grocery store in May. (Photo by Amy Chaffins)

The Osakis community will once again be served by a local grocery store.

Last week, Heath and Cindy Peterson of Frazee signed a purchase agreement to buy the former Jim's Home Quality Foods store in Osakis.

"Cindy and I are really excited about this," Heath said last week at the store. "The people in town have been absolutely fabulous. I can't say enough about Justin and Bruce at the bank and Jon at the hardware store and people just coming up to say hi and introduce themselves."

The Petersons hope to open the local grocery store the first weekend in May.

"We came down last summer to take a look," Heath said. "My brother was looking to buy a store in the area. He backed out. It just wasn't for him and he decided to go a different route. I told him, 'If you back out I might want to try to do it.'"

"I like the area. It's beautiful down here. I've been thinking about buying another store for a while now and this one was available."

Currently, the Petersons also own Frazee Family Foods in Frazee. They bought that store in 2007.

"Before that, I was working as an electrician at ethanol plants and I got tired of working on the road," Heath said.

Heath grew up in the grocery business. His father owned a grocery store in Little Fork.

"We're hoping to open the first weekend in May. It might be a little later than that, but it all depends on licensing," he said.

The Petersons have submitted the required paperwork for state licensing requirements that come along with opening a grocery store.

In the meantime, Heath said there's lots to do at the store. They are planning to:

• Put in a whole new front end, including tills and a point-of-sale system.

• Get upgraded freezers for the store.

• Replace tin on the store's exterior.

• Remove the west entrance and put up a wall.

• Lay new tile in the back room.

• Replace all of the store's lights.

• Bring in closed cases for dairy and meat sections.

The couple will also begin hiring employees for all store positions.

Heath said, "We have about 12 employees in Frazee and I see it being about the same here."

Jim's Home Quality Foods closed March 31, 2012. Jim and Julie Bottelberghe owned the grocery store for 13 years before closing it.

Amy Chaffins

Amy Chaffins is a journalist working for the Echo Press newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota.

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