Watford’s Main Street welcomes new businesses
By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer
Five new businesses have recently added some new life and excitement to Main Street in Watford City. It’s the first time in a long time that this many small businesses have come at one time, and it’s at a time when residents have been concerned about the downturn in the economy. It’s showing the vitality of the growth and development that continues to permeate Watford City, even in spite of the slowdown.
“A vital Main Street in Watford City has been a priority for community development for many years and we are excited to fill in the spaces with interesting and unique businesses that add to the public experience in our town,” says Gene Veeder, McKenzie County Economic Development director. “We have been fortunate to have solid business owners on Main for many years and they have done a good job of investing in nice storefronts and quality services.”
The five new businesses that are adding to the quality of Main Street include JL Beers, Door 204, Shipping Crate Pottery, Beaver Creek Creations, and Gettin Nailed.
The Opening Day for JL Beers Watford City was held on Tuesday, Jan. 26. According to Angie Pelton, co-owner of JL Beers Watford City, staff served about 440 burgers on their first day. On the second day, they served 495 burgers, and by the third day of business, JL Beers was on track to serve over 500 burgers!
“We’re excited to have JL Beers here,” stated Pelton. “We are really pro-Watford City and we want to keep amenities here. It’s a nice addition to downtown. Main Street has nice retail and nice restaurant options. JL Beers is a fun, warm, cozy place for people to stop in.”
According to Gretchen Stenehjem, First International Bank & Trust was originally on the corner where JL Beers is currently located. The Stenehjems always had a love for the piece of property and wanted to do something nice with it. Their kids kept saying what a great atmosphere JL Beers was and that the food was good and the brewery had a simple menu. Plus, who doesn’t love a burger?
“A JL Beers just fit our vision for what we wanted,” stated Stenehjem. “It fit the property, it fit the look, and it fit our dream. We thought this would be a great entrance into Watford City to see this building coming in. It’s kind of everything we were looking for. It’s a nice place to meet friends, have a beer or pop, and have a nice evening. It kind of gives a large town feel like Fargo or Minneapolis in a small town.”
JL Beers has 40 different beers on draft, 25 bottles, 11 cans, and about six big bottles, for a total of close to 90 choices. There are 11 burgers on the menu and customers can choose to pair their burger with fresh-cut fries or chips and specialty sauces. Customers can even watch their fries or chips cut. And for the vegetarian, vegan, or health-conscious customer, they even serve a black bean quinoa burger with wild rice.
“JL Beers is an exciting addition to Main Street on a corner that has taken a long road to redevelopment,” said Watford City Mayor Brent Sanford. “It’s exciting to have a business here that you would have to go to Bismarck, Fargo, Minot, or St. Cloud, Minn., to see. It makes us feel like we are on the map. It will be a nice lunch destination as well as for after-hours dining and relaxing.”
Door 204 officially opened about two and a half weeks ago, but their Grand Opening was held on Saturday, Jan. 30. The opening featured authentic paintings created by Shred the Lead Studio artist Cameron Horning. A Silent Auction was held featuring his work with a portion of the proceeds donated to the Kent Pelton Nature Park.
The coffee bar was designed by local Josh Skoglund, owner of Old Barn Woods. There was live music, food, refreshments, and of course, coffee!
Beth Veeder, bought the building, next to Meyer’s Department Store, and wasn’t too clear on what to do with the building. However, Veeder had been into a boutique that featured a little coffee shop in the corner, and she liked the idea. But her idea grew bigger than that. She went from small corner coffee shop to a full-fledged coffee shop with seating for customers and shoppers, all within a month and a half. Once Door 204 officially opened, customers could come enjoy a variety of coffees, pastries, local art, free wi-fi, and do so in a wonderful atmosphere.
“There’s always groups coming in and having meetings in here and drinking coffee,” stated Veeder. “I’ve had some really excellent training and good people to help guide and teach the coffee business. The vision came first, then the logistics. Five years ago, I would have never imagined having a coffee shop. A lot goes into the art of making coffee. And I have a really great staff and I’ve had a lot of help and support.”
The former Mail Masters and FR Store is now Door 204 and Meyer’s Mail Service. They will continue to keep the mail service operational, and the back of the building has been turned into Cameron Horning’s art studio. Once his masterpieces are complete, they will be on display in the little coffee shop.
“Beth Veeder’s coffee shop will be a great addition to Main Street as a draw during business hours for all of the Main Street retailers,” stated Sanford. “Everyone loves a coffee shop. The historic building rehab is an additional plus for that project.”
Shipping Crate Pottery
Shipping Crate Pottery, located just south of Larsen’s Drug, at 208 Main Street N, features all local, home-made items. Connie Carter and Crystal Helde opened their new retail business just last week.
“We’re excited,” exclaimed Carter. “Whether it’s our items or consignment items, it’s all hand-made. And it gives our consignment sellers a constant retail space to showcase their work.”
The name “Shipping Crate Pottery” came from Carter, an art and English student, who was drawn to pottery after completing school. During school, she didn’t have as much time to spend learning and developing wheel-throwing skills. As those skills take an incredible amount of time to acquire, she found that spare time after she completed her degree and moved to Watford City to join her oilfield husband.
“I decided to build my own kiln with my family,” stated Carter. “We built it out of old shipping crates. Then I bought a wheel and started making my own pottery. So the name ‘Shipping Crate Pottery’ came from me building my own kiln out of shipping crates and of course, me making pottery.”
Carter first started making her pottery about a year or so ago and as friends, family, and co-workers started buying her pottery, word-of-mouth spread. She started being sought out to make this or that and soon was selling so many pottery pieces, opening up a business only made sense.
The store is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They take pre-orders and usually need about a two-weeks-notice for special orders. Carter is also offering glazing workshops where people can decorate their own pottery.
“I’m excited about going into business in Watford City,” stated Carter. “Watford City is the most community-oriented community I’ve ever been in. I’ve tried to hit all the fests, sidewalk events, etc., so I’m excited to be a part of that.”
Beaver Creek Creations
Beaver Creek Creations has actually been on Main Street since November, but it’s been a little hidden treasure until now. It’s located just across the hall from Shipping Crate Pottery, at 208 Main Street N. Erin Perry, the owner, sells hand-crafted baby items, teething necklaces, Baltic Amber jewelry, hand-made stick horses, girls hair accessories, Melissa & Doug’s toys, and more.
“Our focus is on babies and children,” said Perry. “We have a lot of items that you can give as gifts. We seem to be having a baby boom here. And soon, we are also going to be getting into clothing, everyday clothing for children.”
The most unique and best-selling item the little retail store sells is the stick horses, which are hand-made by Perry’s mother, Pat Swenson. No two are alike and they are hand-crafted by Swenson.
“What makes our store unique is probably the hand-crated items as well as our custom-orders,” Perry states. “People can come in and pick out their fabric and what they want. We just had someone come in and pick out their fabric to have a crib sheet made. And we’ve made several specialty blankets for customers.”
Beaver Creek Creations used to be located in the Cheetah Services building. However, since moving to Main Street, the business has done better and gets noticed more. Their retail space nearly doubled in size and they were able to add many more items.
“You feel like you’re a part of the community,” said Perry. “It’s great business for all of us being here on Main Street, and being able to refer customers to each other has been very valuable to all of us. I ask my customers, ‘hey, have you been to Door 204 to get your coffee yet?’ And since we’ve moved our location, we’ve had people down from Williston, so word-of-mouth is spreading. I really love being here. I think what I love most is the people. I just love when moms and dads come in and can let their kids run around the store - we have toys for them to play with. Meeting people, having great conversations, I think that’s the best part about having a business in this community.”
The store is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and can be open by appointment as well.
Gettin Nailed is a new nail salon that will be located in the same building as Shipping Crate Pottery and Beaver Creek Creations, just doors away from each other on Main Street. Brandi Toulou, the owner, says her focus will really be to pamper and take care of her clients and their nail needs.
“When a customer walks in to my nail salon, I want to give them the best customer service and make them feel important. I want to take my time with each customer and make them feel pampered. When they leave, I want them to feel like, ‘oh my gosh, that was amazing.’ Making my customers feel special is what it’s all about.”
Toulou has wanted to open her own nail salon for several years now, but has just never had the perfect opportunity to do so and the timing was never right. However, her dream is coming true. And one day, her goal is to have a full-service salon.
“I wanted something unique,” Toulou stated. “I wanted to stand out with my main focus on nails. I’ve wanted that since I was in school. I’m hoping to open in the beginning or middle of February, as long as everything goes as planned. My nail salon is set up and I’m so excited to start welcoming clients.”
Toulou will offer Acrylics, Gels, Paraffin Wax Treatments, Manicures, Pedicures, and Shellac. And in addition to her nail services, she’ll offer designer purses, Oakleys, and possibly jewelry. She will take walk-ins in addition to scheduled appointments.
“I just want to start out small and then grow,” adds Toulou. “I have a sign in my salon that reads, ‘Big things often have small beginnings.’ That is how I see my salon. I just want it to feel like it’s your own little space when you walk in, and that you’re going to be treated like a king or queen.”
“The addition of more retail and service along Main Street enhances the shopping experience for everyone and gives our public an opportunity to stay longer and shop locally,” stated Veeder. “Local dollars support the many public projects such as our healthcare, the parks, the recreation centers, and affordable housing, and add to the convenience and quality of our community. I look forward to additional retail and service business development along our Main Street.”