Godahl Store closing Jan. 1

Staff photo by Clay Schuldt The historic Godahl General Store will close Jan. 1, 2017.

GODAHL — The historic Godahl General Store will not reopen in 2017. On Saturday, Dec. 31, after 122 year in business the store will close its doors for good.

The Godahl Store was established in 1894 and is the oldest consumer cooperative general store still operating in the Minnesota. It’s the third-oldest in the United States.

The store is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is an important part of the Godahl community. The Godahl Store serves as the area social center. Notices are posted in the windows, the interior hosts the Godahl Library and it’s the place where area residents cast their vote in the Godahl Queen coronation.

The Godahl Store Board made the decision to close the store earlier this month citing low customer traffic. The Godahl community is home to only 14 residents.

“It’s a financial issue,” Board Member Nate Frederickson said. “It’s been in trouble for 15 years. No one is surprised by the decision.”

Over the years fundraising efforts have kept the store operating through corn drives and quilt raffles but the costs have become far too high for the little store.

“Suppliers are hard to find. They don’t want to stop here and that makes it hard to offer competitive prices,” Frederickson said.

In response to the store closure some members of the public have tried to raise funds to help. A Go Fund Me page was set up with the goal of raising $10,000 by New Year’s Eve, but Frederickson said $100,000 could be raised and the store would still close.

“We’re not treading water,” he said.

The Godahl Store Board will meet again at the end of January to determine what to do with the building. At this time the options are to sell, rent or donate the building.

Frederickson said the overall structure is in good shape and the board would like to have the historical building occupied. If any money is received from Go Fund Me pledges, the board would likely use the money to help the next business to operate out of the store.

Frederickson said the closing of the Godahl Store was the end of an era but feels it is fitting he should be on the board that closes the store as his great-great grandfather was one of the original investors.

The ultimate fate of the store will be decided next month and an auction for the leftover inventory will take place.

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