RED WING -- If you ever walked into Buchanan Grocery over the past 54 years, there was a good chance you probably spoke to a member of the Florine family.
Now if you walk into Buchanan Grocery you can meet a new family, the Carlsons.
The Carlsons have run the almost hundred-year old business since November and have been thoroughly enjoying their time thus far.
Kacey Carlson, who has moved to Red Wing to help oversee the store, said the community has welcomed them with open arms.
“For me, it’s been a great, warm welcome from all the people that shop here. How enthusiastic everyone is when they come in, saying things like, ‘We’re so happy this is continuing on. We wouldn’t know what we would do" if this place closed.
Kacey's mother, Leslie Carlson, splits her time between Mike's Butcher Shop in West St. Paul and the grocery store. Leslie said she was wondering how the family would be perceived in Red Wing since they didn't have a connection. After a few months , she's not worried about that anymore.
“People have been wonderful,” Leslie said.
Someday Leslie and her husband would like to relocate to Goodhue County. Leslie's husband's family has generational ties to Lake City and it was always a discussion between the two about moving to the area some day.
Leslie said they were approached about Buchanan Grocery two weeks before previous owners Kevin and Ann Florine were going to close the store. As a family, Leslie wanted to make sure they were all committed and interested in this business venture.
The Carlson family has owned Mike's Butcher Shop for almost five years. Leslie said after about a year, they started considering another business venture together.
Leslie was impressed when she visited Buchanan Grocery but was still on the fence. After sending her husband down, someone she describes as "conservative," Leslie said he wanted to find a way to buy it almost immediately after he walked in the door.
When Kacey came to check out the shop, she had similar feelings. When there was a chance to run the grocery store and live in Red Wing full time, she was up to the challenge.
“I came down, saw the shop and thought it was such a cool place," Kacey said. "It also had a good following and everyone down here was so nice.”
The Carlsons bring butcher expertise to an already famous meat counter. Leslie said it's great to have two businesses that work so well together.
“There’s a good synergy between the two stores: Mike’s doesn’t have a full kitchen like Buchanan does," Leslie said. "But Mike’s has smokers and Buchanan does not. So we’re doing some sharing.”
Don't expect massive changes at Buchanan Grocery. Both Kacey and Leslie say they'll keep the recipes for such itmes as the wild rice bratwursts and potato salad that people love. They are also hoping to bring in new things including more frozen and fresh fish.
They are also bringing back the delivery service. Orders need to be placed by 1 p.m. Wednesday. Deliveries will go out on Thursday and Fridays between 9:30-11:30 a.m. There is a minimum grocery order and delivery fee as well. Call 651-388-5215.
During their short time as owners, Kacey and Leslie say they've been asked about the space next door. In the short term, they're working to renovate it into a gathering space by summer. Over the next three-five years, they hope to have the space up and running after redoing and renovating the area.