Bagley Mercantile Demolished To Make Way For Supermarket Parking Lot
After more than a century of serving the community, the Bagley Mercantile began demolition this morning. The Bagley Mercantile has been around for exactly 120 years. It even precedes the town of Bagley by about 6 months. After a few costly repairs, the owner decided now was the time to bring in a new era.
“It’s been in my family for 120 years. I’m 65 now and I grew up around it, so it was kind of like my second home my whole life. I used to play. It was my playhouse. There were lots of rooms in the whole store. There were probably 50 different sections of rooms in that store,“ says Dave Lee, the president of the Bagley Mercantile.
The Mercantile employed more 600 people over the years and sold everything from cars to stereos.
Lee says, “Besides the hardware that we carried now, we had clothing. We sold groceries until 1948. Clothing until about 1990. We used to sell farm implements, chainsaws.“
Lee worked in the store for a majority of his life and recently reached retirement age. He sold the spot to another family business in town, Galen Supermarket, in the spring.
Greg Leintz, owner of Galen Supermarket, says, “The grocery store has been in my family since 1986 when my father Galen purchased it, and then in 2002, I bought it from him and all these years we’ve been landlocked with no parking lot.”
The demolition of the mercantile will be completed in the next three days. Then, it will officially be turned over to Galen’s Supermarket. The supermarket has plans to add a new parking lot, as well as expand their store.
Leintz adds, “Our selection is going to be great. It’s still going to be Hardware Hank. In fact, the key staff that’s been working there all these years came over to work for us.”
Leintz says he thanks the city of Bagley, his staff and Lee for the opportunity.
“Honestly, it’s like a 30 year dream come true for and my family, and really, we’re just hoping to continue on the tradition of customer service that the Lee family’s been doing for over 100 years,“ says Leintz.
As for Lee, while the moment is bittersweet, he says he’s excited to see new life in the spot.
Lee says, “One of the things I like is history doesn’t really end. It’s just kind of new beginnings starting from time to time and that’s what this is: a new beginning.”