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She got a neighbor to fiddle with the fuse box. She sent another to fetch more potato chips. She had her intern check in with the vendors.
“She puts it in a way — you really can’t say no,” said resident Scott Dalum, 60. “But you know, she does so much for other people that you want to help out.”
Krusemark pulled on plastic gloves and joined the other volunteers, scooping fruit and plating it alongside chicken salad sandwiches. Residents manned a dozen booths, selling quilts, Tupperware, eggs and jam. Heidi Nygard sat with a sign advertising her new business: Western Minnesota Auctions.
When Krusemark first talked about bringing a clinic to downtown, Nygard thought she was crazy. “This is Hoffman,” she remembers thinking. “So many of us get complacent.”
Nygard nodded to the dozens of old couples and families gathered at picnic tables, crediting the crowd to Krusemark. “This was such a sleepy community,” she said, “and look at us now.”
But setbacks have accompanied successes. In 2013, the nursing home in town, where Krusemark had once worked as a cook, closed. A few “for rent” and “for sale” signs have popped up in storefront windows. Want a one-room motel? It’s on the market.
“My real fear is being able to sustain what we’ve done,” Krusemark said. “In a small town, if businesses start to close, it can be a real domino effect.
“We’ve gotta work on keeping what we’ve got.”
Jenna Ross • 612-673-7168