24-hour self-service grocery store thrives in small town Minnesota

EVANSVILLE, Minn. – Several small towns in Minnesota have lost groceries over the years – creating inconvenience for residents – and a bit like a food desert. But a couple in Douglas County think they’ve found a solution.

Five years ago, Evansville lost his grocery store. One has been in town for 60 years.

“We’ve been getting feedback from people that it would be nice to have a store back in town. We really miss it,” Caileen Ostenson said. “Especially with gas prices rising, people are wanting to stay local, shop locally.”

But Caileen Ostenson and her husband Alex Ostenson knew that a traditional grocery store wouldn’t do in a town of 600. Also wanting a place to buy milk or bread late at night, they came up with the idea of ​​their own. do. For a $75 annual membership, you can access the Main Street Market any time, day or night.

Alex Ostenson said: “After that first week and having over 50 members in the first week, it struck a deal that this is what the community needed.

It works like a 24 hour gym. You can use the fob to log in, or you can use an app on your phone to gain access.

There is a self-service checkout form where customers can scan and pay for their groceries.

“We also have another app on your phone where you can scan and pay right from your phone and out the door,” says Caileen Ostenson.

The Ostensons have cameras set up throughout the store, and they can also monitor everything on their home computers. But they believe their customers are honest. And the number of members continues to grow.

“It’s really handy. I’m glad they have something around here where you can grab something. It’s really handy,” said customer John Thoennes.

“I really hope we can spread this model and we can start to see small towns thrive again,” says Alex Ostenson.

Alex and Caileen Ostenson are at the store about three days a week, otherwise the shopper is at his or her own expense. They also offer a 3-month membership for cabin-goers and a 6-month membership for snowbirds.

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