TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
It’s taken a lot of hours, a lot of hard work, and a lot of support, but Bill and Kelly Bolt of Minneota have impressed customers of the Lake Benton Grocery Store in the three weeks since they have taken over ownership.
“Your meat department is so nice,” one female customer said to Kelly on Saturday. “It’s a lot bigger now and the meat looks so delicious.”
Bill and Kelly Bolt purchased the business, now known as Bolt’s Lake Benton Grocery store, from Al and Tami Trigg and officially took over ownership on March 3. The store had been renovated with a new floor and other things five years ago by the Triggs.
Bill, the Minneota Police chief, intends to continue his law enforcement career and has six more years before retirement. He drives to the store on weekends to help out.
Because of her long hours at the store, Kelly has been staying in Lake Benton in a room inside the store. Their daughter, Cora, has been helping out most days at the store now that school has been shut down.
Their son, Hunter, who is in the U.S. Air Force in Arizona, was planning to come home and help out in the store this week. But the COVID-19 pandemic prevented him from traveling.
“I’ve wanted to own my own business for a long time,” said Kelly. “It’s been a lot of work to get things ready and to learn everything, but I love it. And I have the best staff I’ve ever seen. I couldn’t do this without them.”
The Bolts also received valuable tutoring from Brad Minnehan and Karen Swedzinski of Brad’s Market in Minneota, where Kelly previously worked and learned how to cut meat.
“Brad and Karen have been a tremendous help,” Kelly said. “They have helped in so many ways with pricing, ordering, and any questions we’ve had. I can’t thank them enough.”
Kelly’s friend, Gail Hovland, has been helping to teach her bookwork and budgeting.
Kelly cuts all the meat at the Bolts’ grocery store. Recently, though, she was unsure how to cut the chuck eye out of a roast. So she sought Minnehan’s help.
“Brad came down to his store on a Sunday and took the time to show me how to do it,” Kelly noted. “That’s just one of the many ways he has helped us out.”
Many others have been helping in the store, too. As the coronoavirus pandemic continues to concern many people, grocery stores have been having difficulty keeping certain items in stock.
In a previous shipment, many of the items ordered by Bolt’s Grocery Store weren’t available due to high demand. A subsequent large shipment from SuperValu in the Twin Cities came soon after by truck and left a large load, overwhelming the 10 employees of the store, who realized that it would likely take most of the day to stock the shelves while also assisting customers in the store and at the two checkout counters.
“My employees have been putting in long hours, too,” Kelly said. “They are just wonderful and they work so hard.”
When word spread in the town of 683 people that the store was struggling to keep up with demands, there was soon help on the way.
The Lighthouse Assembly Church, upon hearing the Bolts were devout Christians, sent over several church members who volunteered their time to stock the shelves with the newly-arrived items.
The Bolts have many plans for the store, as far as renovations and additions of certain stock. But they also know they need to remain patient and take one step at a time.
“It all takes time and money,” Bill said.
Besides fresh-cut meat, produce and many other grocery items, Bolt’s store features baked goods from Kornerstone Kravings & Bakery in Canby.
“We sell out of most of their doughnuts and bread and things they bring us every day,” said Bill, pointing to a large empty shelf that was full just two hours before.
The store also has a greeting card section, floral department and rotisserie chicken oven.
The Bolt’s Lake Benton Grocery Store puts out a weekly sale flyer that customers can pick up in the store, as well as advertising on its Facebook page.
The store is open Monday thru Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.