Two weeks ago, Kevin and Paulette Kosel removed the gas pumps from in front of their convenience store, P&K.
People noticed, and talked. It turns out P&K is expanding, and selling gasoline is no longer part of the equation.
Last year the Kosels expanded their building to make room for new offices for REM, JW Rental, and Prudential Insurance.
With the expanded building, the Kosels reexamined their own business.
“Gas, there’s no money in gas anymore,” said Kevin last week. “To update the pumps would cost us $160-170,000. We’ve made the front lot all parking.”
Instead, the Kosels decided to expand one of the most profitable areas of their existing business: fast food.
“Many people don’t realize we offer tacos, pizza, burgers, chili dogs, cheese balls, ham and cheese — 30 or 40 different varieties of food — already,” said Kevin.
“Most food franchises, a population of 15,000 is the cut-off point,” said Kevin. “Many of the restaurants consider Redwood Falls to small to open a restaurant here.”
“We spend eight or nine hours at food shows, and you can’t believe all the good foods out there. You don’t need a famous brand name to get really good food.
“We’d like to add more food items. If you see something out of town you like, tell us and we can bring it in.”
For now, there’s just one shelf of store items left, along with the wall of beverage coolers.
“We’ll keep a few convenience store items such as milk, bread, and DVDs, but mostly we’ll be, I suppose you’d call it ‘short order’ restaurant,” Kevin said last week.
The store plans to keep the kitchen open from 7 a.m. through 8 p.m., and remodeled the area with additional tables and chairs for in-store dining this week.
“We completely changed our look in about five days,” Kevin said. “The key is people need to be patient while we’re making the changes. We’d like to do this slowly.
“We’d like to be sort of a ‘Ma and Pa’ restaurant you can bring your whole family to. Our customers are very loyal, and we’ve been seeing a lot of new faces coming in. It doesn’t pay to jump in with both feet. We’d rather talk to our customers, and they’ll tell us what they want.”