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Comfy clothing now part of Park Rapids Main Avenue shopping experience

Heidi and Brett Behnken started Lazy One Etc., in May on Main Avenue in downtown Park Rapids. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

The proprietors of downtown's newest retail venture are as comfy in their surroundings as their merchandise.

You'd never guess the Lazy One Etc., is Brett and Heidi Behnken's first retail experience.

But Brett had a leg up.

The Elk River man is a manufacturing representative with local ties. He's been selling loungewear and other items to merchants in the Hubbard County region for years. He knew what sold.

Comfy clothes and loungewear were winners.

So he and Heidi negotiated a lease for the corner suite of 300 Main Avenue, former home of Park Salon, which moved one door south, stocked it with jammies, leisure wear, funky flip-flops, equally funky sox, accessories, beach wear and garden accoutrements and opened the doors last month to a warm welcome.

The couple will spend the summer in transit from Elk River with children Tristan, 11, Zoe, 10 and Sage, 5.

Brett's parents, Gordy and Marie Behnken, were invaluable in getting the store up and running, Heidi said, and will help run it. They live in the area.

The store plans to stay open through Christmas, tentatively closing from January through April.

Over Memorial Day weekend, the couple greeted customers that made a steady stream into the corner store.

"We'd like to keep the door open but it's too dirty from the road construction," Heidi said. She wished for more parking but that didn't seem to deter the parade of foot traffic in and out the door.

Side street construction downtown should be done in about another month, crews hope. Meanwhile sidewalks and crossings have been kept open for shoppers.

"It's fun and bright," Brett said of the tiny store.

"We've gotten good feedback," Heidi said. "Even if it's too crowded we're watching what people are choosing," for sales.

Their initial observations have reinforced the notion they're on the right track. One of everything is selling.

Adult jammies and casual wear tend to be boxy fitting, but a line of the same clothing for tweens is more fitted, Heidi said.

Boxer shorts aren't just for certain occasions, she added. Kids and adults are wearing the jersey tank tops and shorts for everyday occasions.

Each pattern has a matching pair of flip-flops or sox.

The Behnkens are no strangers to the region. Gordy and Marie spent summers at Isle O'Dreams Lodge with their kids.

Brett has had a route through the region for years. He and Heidi liked the idea of "touristy up north" merchandise with a "funky look."

"The town needed something different," Brett said of their choice of merchandise."

And judging by the heavy traffic over the holiday weekend, the couple had just the right combination to appeal to kids, parents and grandparents.

The store's hours are Monday through Wednesday and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sarah Smith

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

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