By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN The sign in front of The Depot and Lester’s Liquor in Lester Prairie tells the story of another business that appears to be a casualty of the economic downturn.
Customers who arrived at the business last Monday morning were greeted with a locked door.
Later, the sign in front of the business confirmed that the business is closed.
The business has been a gas station since Henry Wiedenroth purchased the old Lester Prairie depot from the Burlington Northern Railway and moved it to its present location southwest of Lester Prairie on McLeod County Road 1.
The original 24-by-60-foot building was put on a new foundation and a 16-by-30-foot addition was added, according to the book Lester Prairie Community 1886-1986.
The service station and grocery store opened for business in October 1979.
Wiedenroth sold the building to Peter and Maureen Jude in 1983.
The business has changed hands several times since.
The most recent owner, Rich Pauly, made several improvements to the establishment.
He added the car wash in 2003, and that same year, added a 1,200 square-foot addition to the original structure.
Later, after some remodeling, he added an off-sale liquor establishment, Lester’s Liquor, to the back side of the building.
The Depot is the latest in a list of area businesses that have closed lately.
Others include the Hollywood Ranch House and the Kenzoil Station near New Germany, the Mahaxai Restaurant in Glencoe, Belle Rental Center in Belle Plaine, the Bayrischer Hof restaurant in Montrose, and All American Grill and Brewhouse in Waverly.