The Kosels keep P&K convenience store a family operation.
A small town convenience store is like the bar in “Cheers.” Sometimes it’s the place where everyone knows your name.
Paulette Kosel, co-owner of the P&K store with her husband Kevin (hence the “P&K”), usually opens the doors at 4:30 a.m.
It’s not unusual for her first customers of the day to follow her in, and wait for her to make the coffee.
It’s also not unusual for her to be on a first-name basis with them.
“By 4:30 I’m getting the coffee and making the breakfast sandwiches, and sometimes people come in before I’m ready,” said Paulette.
“There’s a lot of public relations,” she added. “When you can make a grumpy person smile, you feel you’ve accomplished something.”
“It’s wonderful. The working guys come in and meet in the mornings, then in the afternoons the older guys come in and visit,” said Paulette’s daughter, Jessica Prescott, who started working for her parents when she was 14.
“It was my first job,” she said. “I worked in the pizza shop, and did cleaning.”
Jessica, a 1999 RVHS graduate, originally went to cosmotology school.
“I came back to Redwood Falls and worked somewhere else for awhile, but I liked the store better. It was more relaxed here,” said Jessica.
Before she and Kevin bought the store in 1993, it was the Food ‘n Fuel.
But Paulette wasn’t a convenience store novice when she bought it. She had managed the Food ‘n Fuel for nine years before she bought it. There wasn’t a square inch of the store she didn’t already know.
Since the Kosels took it over, the store has added an auto fryer, sandwiches, an ice cream machine, movie rentals, and, most recently, a taco stand.
If you go in during daytime, it’s probably Paulette or Jessica you’re going to find behind the counter. Kevin is still involved, but is busy with a separate construction business.
Jessica said she and her mom tend to related differently at work than when they’re off duty.
“Most of the time, we leave the business here,” she said. “Here, we’re more employee and boss.”
“Jessica’s my ‘right-hand-man,’” said Paulette. “She can talk anyone through anything as much as I can.”
“When one person jumps back and forth between the counter and the deli, the customers understand,” said Jessica.
Paulette and Jessica said they part of running a convenience store they like best is interacting with the customers.
During the interview last week, Paulette and Jessica kept getting up from the table to wait on customers, some of whom they addressed by name.
As for the part they could do without: “Changing the numbers on the gas prices,” Paulette said. Jessica agreed.
Jessica said the store is a big part of her kids’ lives, too.
“They love it here. It’s ‘Grandma’s store,’” she said. “My daughter, Evelyn, would love to work here someday.”
Maybe it will have to become P,K&J someday.