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Northwoods Trading Post opens in Dorset

Historically, a trading post has been a cornerstone of commerce.

The Northwoods Trading Post has opened in the Culinary Capital of the World - Dorset - the commercial hub located in the former Woodstock North location.

Harold and Lorie Mackenthun grew up in the northwoods - Detroit Lakes - and made Belle Taine their destination point for several of the past summers.

Dining in Dorset, they'd expressed an interest in purchasing the business from former owners Gary and Jeri Current, should it become available.

The phone rang last fall.

The former Farmers State Bank of Dorset, originating in the 1930s, was available. Its vault was awaiting their creative currency.

The Mackenthuns, who owned a real estate company focusing on new construction in Apple Valley, determined it was time to downsize.

The "trade route" was calling. They bid farewell to the city "without regret." Their cabin on Belle Taine was replaced with a home.

"We arrived in March and have been working every day since," Lorie said.

The mercantile establishment has been remodeled, knotty pine now greeting customers, who will find "60 percent new items."

Many of the suppliers for the post are from Minnesota territory.

Loon Lovers coffee (the trading post's signature label) arrives from downriver (Twin Cities). Jams and jellies originate in Audubon's Green Hill Farms. Soy candles come from a Minnesota-based company. The salsa is concocted in Detroit Lakes. Ceramic jewelry is created in Moorhead and the "funky chunky" pretzels and popcorn also arrive from the land of 10,000 lakes.

Minnesota musicians' work serenades customers, and is also available.

Patrons are invited to explore the garden and home decor room, featuring local artist Jeff Renner's work. Window treatments, runners. placemats and towels will enhance the home.

A delightfully decadent wine and food room pairs vino with chocolate. The chocolatiers offer cacao by the number - the higher the digit, the greater the percent of chocolate.

Samples of the trading post's delectable fare are offered on weekends.

Humorous ethnic T-shirts tickle funny bones as do the greeting cards.

After listening to four women chortle over the cards' witticisms for half an hour, Harold joked they'd be charged an entertainment fee.

Kaleidoscopic plastic wine glasses have proven a nautical hit, boaters using them onboard.

And children can head into the vault to hear "moose tunes," which is on the kids' Top 10 hit parade, judging by the popularity.

Northwoods Trading Post is open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

There's "canoe parking" just outside the front door.