One building, three businesses
Entrepreneur – One who organizes a business undertaking, assuming the risk for the sake of the profit.
Three such men, Timothy Glanzman, Kevin Guilliatt and Rick Lawrence, opened their doors to business on Blue Earth’s North Main Street in June. The businesses are ‘The Bait Shop,’ ‘Blue Earth General Store’ and ‘Fine Line Frame.’
In recent years, all three business properties have been under the ownership of Paul Vossen. Prior to this, the buildings once housed L&M Motors, Nelson Realty and Harry’s Antiques.
The Register will feature all three new businesses in a three-part series beginning this week. The first part of the series, Kevin Guilliatt and the General Store, is featured below.
Blue Earth General Store
The ‘Blue Earth General Store,’ under the ownership of Kevin Guilliatt, is located where Harry Overton once housed his antiques. It is easy to spot because Guilliatt often has items for sale on thesidewalk in front of his store. Acting as ‘eye candy,’ the displays entice passersby to check out what treasures are stored inside.
Guilliatt advertises as being much more than the average thrift store. He deals with everything from collectibles and antiques to used furniture, TVs, stereos, clothing and clocks to name just a few items. Nothing he has is consigned nor is it junk. It is all clean and usable and generally obtained through estate sales.
“I carry anything that’s nice,” says Guilliatt. Of his used appliances and electronics, he allows for a three-day exchange if the item does not work properly.
Clothing and virtually all of the toys he acquires are free to his customers. The only exceptions are collectible toys such as ‘Cinderella’ items, etc. Guilliatt is a big softy when it comes to children and families who are facing hard times in these tough economic days. As a result, he either gives the items away or greatly reduces his original asking price.
A Minnesota native, Guilliatt helped his father with the family business, ‘Mankato Seed and Nursery,’ for many years until his father’s death in 1978. A Mankato East graduate, Guilliatt grew up north of Mankato at the family home on Lake Washington. After his father died, he sold life insurance door-to-door for a period of time before he got into car sales.
“I moved to Seattle in 1985,” says Guilliatt. “From there I went to Juneau, Alaska, where I became a General Sales Manager (GSM) at Mendenhall Auto. I sold Dodge, Chrysler and Mazda vehicles. When I worked in Alaska I made more money than I knew what to do with.”
But being a workaholic to earn this money had a cost. By 1995, he returned to Seattle where he lost his wife through divorce. Not only did he lose her, but he lost himself as well. His life went into a downward spiral and he wound-up having a heart attack at age 46.
The years 1995 to 1998 were a struggle for him. It was a long road to recovery.
“I returned to Minnesota in 1998,” says Guilliatt. “I was put on some new medication and it was as if a light had been turned on. I feel like me again,” he says. “I’m going to run wide-open now to the finish.”
Running wide-open he is, as he can be found at his store Tuesday through Sunday from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Even on his day off, Monday, he often is open for business from 4 p.m.-9 p.m.
“I take Mondays off to add and organize more inventory. It is also the day I often check out estates. I like to come in and make a walk through. The more I see, the more I can give a person. So don’t box anything up,” he advises people with estate properties who are interested in his services.
Prior to opening on North Main, he says he has had no experience whatsoever in this line of work. However, he is very much aware that he can provide a real service to local citizens, as many people are getting out of the estate sale business.
“When I started, I held yard sales for a while at my home because I couldn’t find a building to rent,” he says. Fortunately, Paul Vossen, owner of the building, was looking for a tenant, so Guilliatt was able to move his merchandise and set-up better displays.
“I buy everything if it is nice,” says Guilliatt. He adds, “I try to buy it for 20 percent less than what people could get for it elsewhere. In the long run it saves me money and time. Plus, one should always beat your competition.”
If he does not have an item, he says he is glad to direct people to where they can find it.
He currently has people waiting for him to buy their ‘stuff.’
Another service he provides is removing the estate sale items from a home, completely cleaning and detailing it in 48 hours and thus having it ready for resale. This new business, he says, will be known as ‘Estate Solutions, Inc.’
Also coming soon to the ‘Blue Earth General Store’ will be ‘Old Tymes Sake,’ a clock and watch sales and repair shop operated by his brother, Tom.
“I’m alive again and the community has supported me 100 percent,” says Guilliatt of his experiences so far on North Main.
“I refuse to let reality stand in the way of my happiness. It’s going to be a good day no matter what,” says Kevin Guilliatt, entrepreneur.
Next week, a story about the Bait Shop and owner Timothy Glanzman.