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Three 'marketeers' are back at the helm

Cathy, Thom and Helen Peterson are once again welcoming clientele at 3rd Street Market. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

Familiar faces are once again greeting clientele at 3rd Street Market.

Founder Helen Peterson's retirement was short-lived - just a bit over three years - when she learned son Thom and daughter-in-law Cathy Peterson were about to become owners of the downtown Park Rapids landmark business.

Peter and Marge McEwen, who purchased the business in January 2006, were returning to their resort on Many Point Lake northwest of Ponsford.

The octogenarian didn't hesitate a moment upon learning of the transaction.

"Can I come to work for you?" she asked.

No submission of résumé was required; Thom welcomed his "knowledgeable, personable" mom on board.

"I gave her a key," Thom said. "It may have been a big mistake," he joked of Helen's penchant for working long hours.

"It's wonderful," Helen said. "It's like coming home, being reacquainted with old friends and guests."

The business originated in 1986 when Pine Region Dairy closed its doors, homemade granola the family's signature creation.

"We wanted to continue to offer natural and bulk foods," Cathy explained. The tradition of quality products and food and "extreme customer service" will continue, Thom said. "We know what it's like when people take care of you."

The staff, many having been on board for more than a decade, will continue to greet clientele.

No major changes are in store in the near term for the market and café, known for homemade pies, soups, salads and sandwiches; natural and specialty foods; vitamins and supplements; health and beauty supplies; books and gluten-free products.

"We're the one-stop shop for physical health (supplements) and mental health (pies)," Thom joked of the "continuum of service."

Market hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday with coffee, pies and treats sating the sweet tooth until 4 p.m.