NISSWA — Mike Wiebolt, of Motley, is bringing his more than 10 years of experience in hardware store ownership to Nisswa as the new owner of Nisswa Hardware (formerly Carlson Hardware).
After more than a quarter century, former owners Kari and Greg Carlson sold the property to Wiebolt on June 1. To mark the transition, Wiebolt changed the name to Nisswa Hardware and immediately began small updates.
For now that includes small improvements, like repainting the office space, but bigger changes may be coming after Nisswa’s busy season.
What attracted me is it’s a good business, it’s a profitable business and it’s been profitable forever. And it’s in our neighborhood and something we understand.
“We’re looking at getting into steel,” Wiebolt said. “And we’re looking at possibly getting some outdoor power equipment: snowblowers and big equipment. And (we’ll probably do) what’s called a reset. We’re going to change some departments around. We’re getting out of the gifts and novelty stuff. We’re going to go more into hardline hardware things.”
Wiebolt said his other shops in the area have given him ideas that will really appeal to his customers in Nisswa as well.
The store will continue with the services customers have come to depend on, including key cutting, rental, screen and glass repair and sharpening. There will be some behind-the-scenes changes that most will not notice.
Wiebolt owns Pelican Square in Breezy Point, Moonlite Square in Crosslake and Ace Hardware stores in other towns. Wiebolt has a management team that provides services managing all these stores.
That staff will now also help in Nisswa, giving the shop the resources to constantly improve.
“Our three cornerstones are convenience, quality and service,” Wiebolt said. “I think we can exceed all expectations and all competition in those three areas. When people look for something in a hardware store, I think they’re looking for those three things: quality, convenience and service. Those are the bedrocks of what we do.”
Customers will be greeted by the same staff who has served them in the past, as Nisswa Hardware kept all the employees in the sale. Wiebolt even added several more.
Our three cornerstones are convenience, quality and service. I think we can exceed all expectations and all competition in those three areas. When people look for something in a hardware store, I think they’re looking for those three things: quality, convenience and service.
“We’ve stepped into a very good crew, which is helpful,” he said.
Wiebolt is always looking for more places to expand. A mutual friend between the Carlsons and Wiebolt told Wiebolt about the property. Wiebolt liked that Nisswa was so close to home, so he decided to strike while the iron was hot.
“What attracted me is it’s a good business, it’s a profitable business and it’s been profitable forever,” Wiebolt said. “And it’s in our neighborhood and something we understand.”
Wiebolt said Nisswa has made him feel at home.
“It’s just a very welcoming community,” he said. “We already know a lot of the people in the area because we’re all from here. I’ve been in the area 39 or 40 years and I keep running into people with familiar faces and people that are glad to see us come to town.”
Travis Grimler is a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper in Pequot Lakes/Pine River. He may be reached at 218-855-5853 or [email protected]
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