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Business in small SE Minn. town is one-stop shop

  • Article by: JOHN WEISS
  • Associated Press
  • February 10, 2014 - 12:05 AM

OSTRANDER, Minn. — "No!"

Amanda Siskow was adamant. It's not odd to combine a deli, beauty salon, consignment shop and convenience store in a single building in a small town.

"I get to combine everything I love in one building," she said. "It's not crazy to me."

People who live in the small Fillmore County town of Ostrander don't think she's crazy either, she said.

"They think it's great that I opened up in town," she said. "I love hair, and I love food, and this town was in need of a convenience store."

Furthermore, she thinks her approach will become the wave of the future.

"I'm kicking back to the old school" when many businesses had more than one thing, she told the Post-Bulletin (http://bit.ly/LUelve ). She foresees a trend back to small towns.

"I think more small-town businesses should be opening," Siskow said. "I think people in the big city, they get sick of that and they want to go out and get away. This is the perfect place."

Siskow's, the deli/consignment/convenience store, is in the front of the old lumber store, and Blown Away Salon is in the back. They opened Dec. 2.

Her boyfriend, Ryan Hoefs, comes in at 6 a.m. to start the coffee and get ready for the morning and lunch servings. Deb Jacobson and Bethany Hoefs, Ryan's sister, come in later to take care of serving lunch. Siskow comes in about 8 a.m. to help prepare for the day, update the specials on the whiteboard and prepare the salon for the day; she might cut and curl hair until 8 p.m.

Some people come in for a haircut and get a cup of coffee first. Others might buy a few necessities, such as bread and cheese, or a gift from her consignment items.

The building is old, and began as a lumber yard, Ryan Hoefs said. The south side of the building slopes down.

"That's a mystery," he said. It probably has to do with the lumber yard.

Siskow said she grew up on a farm north of LeRoy and started cutting her brothers' hair, then her dad's, as a way to save time and money. Then she moved to Alaska with her mom and worked at a combination bar/restaurant/motel. She would be up at 5:30 a.m. to bake pies and get soup ready for tour buses. That was her entree to the restaurant business.

Hoefs, on the other hand, is a cement worker who puts on an apron at Siskow's.

"This is my first rodeo," he said. "Amanda is the boss. She's a good boss."

The first months were great, though business was hurt when Security State Bank, which is to the building's south, closed, Hoefs said. But having the elevator to their west helps, and during the busy farm times, they have box lunches for farmers in a hurry.

"Thank God for the farming community," he said.

An AP Member Exchange Feature shared by Post-Bulletin of Rochester

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