NEW LONDON — The Mill Pond Mercantile building in downtown New London has new owners.
The Goose Group, which owns three businesses in Perham, will be opening Lucky Duck in New London.
Featuring a unique line of toys, games, puzzles and old-fashioned treats, the retail store is tentatively scheduled to open in mid-May.
“Our goal is to make people happy,” said Doug Huebsch, owner and CEO. “We want everyone to leave the store with a big smile on their face.”
Laura Bjerke, vice president of operations, said they want Lucky Duck to be a “fun, family destination store” in the community.
The popular Mill Pond Mercantile closed in December after owners Ginny Knapp and Anita Stulen announced they were retiring and selling the building.
Interior remodeling is underway that includes removing several walls and opening up the stairway to expose the lower level of the building to create “two floors of retail space,” she said. “There will be a lot of toys and treats and fun stuff for adults and kids of all ages,” she said.
Toys for babies, sensory toys for individuals with autism and anxiety, farm toys, toy cars, an extensive line of puzzles and board games and Legos, Playmobil and Brio trains are just some of the items that will be on the shelves.
“We’ll bring in a ton of puzzles,” said Bjerke, adding that staff will provide demonstrations of some of the games and toys.
Huebsch said the items that will be for sale at Lucky Duck have the potential to create opportunities for families to have fun together.
“Play and social interaction is more important than ever,” said Huebsch. “We want grandparents, parents and children to put their devices away for a few minutes and spend time interacting with one another.”
Specialty popcorn, ice cream and old-fashioned candy like Necco wafers, candy sticks, Laffy Taffy and chocolates also will be sold. “We’ll have lots of candy,” said Bjerke.
Bjerke said Lucky Duck will be similar to the company's Goose Gang store in Perham.
The Goose Group had been looking for a new community to expand their business and heard that the Mill Pond Mercantile building was available after Huebsch talked to his friend Roger Imdieke, a Kandiyohi County Commissioner and owner of Three Sisters Furnishings in rural New London.
Huebsch is a former Ottertail County Commissioner who was recently elected to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents.
With the lakes and summer tourism, Huebsch said New London is “a lot like our hometown of Perham.”
“We want to contribute to the success of the community and make it stronger,” Huebsch said of the Lucky Duck venture.
“There are a lot of choices with online and big box stores and our advantage is we are part of the community,” he said. “Customers want to shop local if they have a choice to.”
The store intends to have two to three full-time employees and a half-dozen part-time workers. Bjerke said they’re hoping to hire students for some seasonal employment. Initial plans are for the store to be open seven days a week.