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Two Inlets Country Store is thriving

Craig, Sue and Eric Hosler have purchased the Two Inlets Country Store north of Park Rapids, just over the Hubbard County Border in eastern Becker County. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

BY Sarah smith

A family has taken the reins of the Two Inlets Country Store and is already on a wild ride.

Craig and Sue Hosler are from the Andover and Bluffton areas near the Twin Cities, while son Eric is from Stacy.

Streams of customers flock through the doorway of the place formerly owned by the Eischens family.

When business settles down a bit, Craig hopes to return to cross-country trucking. Eric hopes to sell his house and move his wife and kids to the area.

Sue, Eric and Eric’s wife will take over gradually.

But Craig isn’t jumping into an 18-wheeler anytime soon. The store has been busy.

Craig and Sue owned a liquor store in St. Paul for years. They’d been looking at a business for Eric to transition into and they liked the Two Inlets area.

“It’s something Eric and his wife can grow with,” Sue said.

They cleaned and ordered supplies while they kept ringing up sales. Big plans are taking a realistic back seat to sales.

“We don’t want to do too much too fast and scare people,” Sue said.

“Everybody asks for minnows,” so that will be a priority next spring, Sue said. They already sell leeches and night crawlers for bait.

Meanwhile, they’re learning the names of Two Inlets residents and the surrounding lakes.

“They’re all related,” the Hoslers laugh.

It’s the proverbial “if we don’t have it you don’t need it” store. A lot of inventory is packed into one building, part grocery store, part hardware store, part sporting goods store.

“A lot of people come in here and say, ‘You’ve just about got everything,’” Craig said.

Last week, charcoal briquettes and lighter fluid were flying off the shelves.

The store has a tiny bar just inside the front door that many people overlook, Craig said.

“Oh you have a bar!” is a frequent comment when customers enter and look around.

The gas pumps are busy, propane sales are brisk and the Hoslers are stocking duct tape.

“It’s amazing what many people forget when they come up here,” seems to be the store’s credo.

Sue has become an expert on the auto fryer and can make an array of fast food and appetizers.

They’re making sub sandwiches for lunch, serving eggs, sausage and bacon for breakfast. Pizzas are always a staple to go with the beer and wine coolers.

Then there are the fresh rolls, baked in Wadena.

“Elephant ears,” or fried crispies, sell at the rate of eight dozen a week. Customers come in just to stock up on the cinnamon-laden dough treats.

Eventually, they hope to have a hot dog roller and a grill.

Hoslers are thrilled with the reception they’ve received and a bit shocked at their sales volume.

It just reinforces the fact they made a good decision.

They’re currently renting out a house and cabin behind the store.

The store is open Mondays through Fridays from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays the hours are 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“But we’ll stay longer if people are at the bar,” said Sue.

Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith is the outdoors editor. She covers courts, business and breaking news in addition to outdoors events.

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