Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
Outfitter's Grand Opening signals new life for the building
If you've driven over the Mississippi River from Clear Lake to Clearwater on Highway 24 you've probably noticed some changes taking place on the shore.
For the past several months, Clear Waters Outfitting Company has been renovating the old creamery building, originally built in 1912 and in operation as the Clearwater Cooperative Creamery until 1961. The work will culminate at the company's grand opening on Aug. 21 and 22. And although the building has changed hands over the years, the history of the building and surrounding area remains alive and well.
"My dad never let us inside because of all the machinery, belts and dangerous equipment," said Elaine Paumen, a Clearwater native and historian. "But we are thrilled to see someone in here that appreciates the history and is really embracing its potential."
K.C. Miller, Elaine's father, worked as the assistant manager in the Creamery that produced milk, cream, butter and other dairy products. Since then, various owners have occupied the building for things like furniture construction and storage.
"We're excited to be in this space and to be welcomed by the city and neighborhood," said Dan Meer, Clear Waters Outfitting Company's owner and operator. "To be right on the river is one thing but to be a part of such an historical spot is even more amazing. We appreciate everyone's support and look forward to serving the area for years to come."
The Meer family purchased the property in November 2009, and has been providing limited outfitting and retail services out of a new building that was completed in April. Now that the creamery building is ready to move in, they will use the renovated space for their retail store, meeting room and historical display.
The company provides canoe and kayak rentals and shuttle services on the Mississippi River, a stretch in central Minnesota designated by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources as "Wild and Scenic". They also rent out equipment for camping trips while selling new and used canoes, kayaks, packs and other outdoor gear.
And being only feet from the river has its perks. According to Meer, no other outfitter or store in central Minnesota can provide on-site "try before you buy" services for testing and paddling the boats.
Special sales, replica Mississippi ferry rides, vendor booths, presentations, demonstrations, live music, food, and giveaways are all planned for both days of the grand opening. For more information about the event or the company visit www.cwoutfitting.com.