3 southern Minn. grocery stores close abruptly

Published 9:37 am Tuesday, July 17, 2012

MANKATO — Residents are wondering what they will do now that grocery stores have closed in three southern Minnesota towns.

The small towns of Truman, Kiester and Elysian have lost their only grocery stores. The three stores, owned by Brad Gohla of Elysian, abruptly closed June 30.

“It was a shock to everyone. There was no indication this would happen,” Kiester Mayor Jeanne Brooks said.

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City officials are looking at ways to keep the stores operating. The nearest towns with grocery stores are miles away.

Last week, bankers with a lien on the Kiester store were selling off its perishable inventory. Similar actions were taking place in the other towns.

Brooks and Elysian City Administrator Pat Nusbaum said they hope the stores can remain operational by attracting new buyers or lessees. Brooks said if that doesn’t happen in Kiester she would prefer that the city take over operation, as it did about four years ago before Gohla began leasing the building from the city.

However, she said that city operation of the store in the town of 500 may be a greater cost than taxpayers could bear.

Nusbaum said grocery businesses have existed in Elysian since the late 1800s.

“This is just terrible. I don’t know what we’re going to do,” Nusbaum said. She said city operation of the store isn’t a viable solution.

In Truman, City Clerk-Treasurer Monte Rohman said a public meeting likely will be held soon to get ideas on possible solutions.

When asked about his plans for the stores, Gohla said only, “We closed,” and made no further comment.