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Fugate’s to close store, automotive shop to remain open

BEMIDJ — This week’s flooding did not impact just the roads, but a local business, as well.

Fugate’s Country Store on Highway 71 in northern Hubbard County, has been in operation for five years. It will soon be closing its doors.

“Because we had our $10,000 gas tank float to the surface, and because it’s an older style tank — it’s a single wall tank — the state now requires a double-walled gasoline tank,” said Heather Fugate, who co-owns the establishment with Shawn Fugate. “The cost involved with switching everything over, it just isn’t cost-effective to put into the store to make a return on our investment.”

It was a slow time for the business when the high waters hit.

“We’re actually getting into our busy time, with open fishing and going into the summer,” Fugate said. “So with all the run-off this year and everything, Mother Nature won.”

They made the choice to close the store, and are going to reduce prices on the inventory and have close-out sales, Fugate said. The store’s employees’ final day was Tuesday.

“Our (auto) shop will remain open, and at this point, we’re not sure. We will probably add on to our home. We live behind the store, so we may just incorporate this whole space into our home,” Fugate said.

 The Fugates are thankful to their loyal customers through the years.

“We’ve loved being here, the shop will still be here.,” Fugate said. “Maybe we will change this into something else. But right now that future is unknown.”