Brenda Wade Schmidt
When J&K Building Center closes in about six weeks, there’s one thing that owner Jim Amdahl knows he will miss.
“The people,” he says. “That’s everything, the people … that is by far the best.”
Amdahl has seen generations of customers in his store for the 36 years he has managed and owned it. At 68, with a back that is worn out and needs surgery, he and his wife, Kim, 59, are liquidating the inventory in preparation to close.
Amdahl, a Preston, Minn., native, moved to Flandreau in 1982 and worked at the business when it was owned by Great Plains. He bought them out here in 1986.
“I’ve been on this corner for going on 37 years,” he says.
During that time, he’s seen community changes, both in the decline in the number of businesses and the building of new homes and projects with materials that came from his store.
The couple plans to stay in Flandreau and he says that if surgery goes well, he will look at doing something else. “I’m not really ready to quit working. It’s just that I can’t do this business. I can’t keep doing this.”
J&K’s going-out-of-business sale started a week ago with discounts on merchandise. It will continue with additional sales as inventory is reduced for the next several weeks.
“It should be pretty much all done and cleaned up,” he says.
The store sells lumber, hardware, tools, housewares, paint, some toys and other items. It’s closing leaves the community with a void.
“It’s definitely going to hurt the town,” says builder Shannon Pulscher with Pulscher Brothers Inc. “We do a lot of business through there. For us, we’ve got to find a different place to get our materials. It might mean we will have to go and travel.”
There have been perks having J&K in town, and it has saved money and time compared with driving to another community, he says. “It was the convenience. The service was good. They delivered to our jobs.”
If he ran out of something on a construction site, all he had to do was call and J&K would deliver, he says. If a tool needed work, he would drop it off and they would send it to get fixed.
“Our whole house packages come through them,” he says. “You could call, and they would deliver some two-by-fours. I didn’t have to send my guys down, or I didn’t have to go get it.”
He hopes Flandreau can figure something out to replace that kind of business in town or that someone comes forward to buy the building and reopen a store. “You want your town to be thriving,” he says.
Amdahl would like the same. It’s been a good business that has helped him raise a family, including sons Cody and Chase from Flandreau and daughter, Kirstin of Preston, Minn. Together, they have given the Amdahls six grandchildren.
In the meantime, Amdahl has a message for customers. “I’d just like to thank them for all their patronage for the last 36 years.”