MARINE ON ST. CROIX, Minn. -- On a summer day at you can count on the General Store at Marine on St. Croix being open. It's the "closed" sign two miles up the road at William O'Brien State Park that's the problem.
"We ordered a lot for the 4th of July Weekend, we over-ordered," says owner store Karen Kramer. Her shelves are packed with fresh produce, hot dogs and charcoal - the sort of items campers should be scooping up this weekend. "We devoted a whole shelf to s'more stuff," she says.
More than half the General Store's summer business comes from the state park, now chained by the state like a foreclosed house.
"We should have both cash registers going, with a line right now," says Kramer as she looks out at her mostly empty checkout area. "It's been so rainy and cold and awful and we were really counting on this summer to catch up and I don't know what's going to happen."
There is no uncertainly across the river in Wisconsin. "I feel sorry for the guys over there," says Domonic Abledinger as he pitches a family-size tent with his wife Kathy in Willow River State Park near Hudson. The couple feels pretty good about their decision reserve space in a Wisconsin campground.
Plenty of Minnesotans now wish they had too. They've been calling Willow River looking for campsites.
"This weekend just a whole lot more," reports Willow River Ranger Matthew Densow, "and there's not much we can do for them because we're completely full for the weekend."
A full campground is good news for the Cenex convenience store a mile up the road from Willow River State Park. "We'll sell a lot of ice, lot of beer, lot of cold pop," says a smiling general manager David Crosby. He's glad it's Minnesota that's making big headlines in the newspapers by his counter. "I'd be writing the governor," he says.
Politicians always say they like to help small businesses. Kramer has a suggestion where they might start. "Let's get the budget, let's get it passed. You guys had your chance to get those things done and you didn't."
(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved.)