The Corner Door opens in Round Lake
ROUND LAKE — After its inaugural opening this past weekend, The Corner Door in Round Lake is getting restocked and ready for its next wave of customers this Saturday.
Similar to the occasional stores that have cropped up in recent years, The Corner Door is filled with antique and unique items, from home furnishings to do-it-yourself objects awaiting the perfect repurposing idea.
The business is the brainchild of Round Lake residents Jodi and Bruce Bentele. Jodi has long been a collector of auction finds — getting bit by the auction bug when she was just 7 years old, when she tagged along with her antique-collecting grandfather.
By the age of 10, she was refinishing her own furniture — a talent that she’s honed over the years.
“Now, I’m thankful my husband shares the same interest,” she said.
The business is a family affair for the Benteles. Bruce does the fixing and repurposing; Jodi paints and refinishes furniture in addition to staging the store; and their oldest son, Brad, also does furniture repurposing and refinishing. Younger son Brett, a junior at South Dakota State University in Brookings, will help in the store when he’s home.
The Corner Door is located in a century-old building on Round Lake’s Main Street. Initially serving as a community bank from 1907 to 1931, it has housed on- and off-sale liquor and more recently served as the municipal liquor store. It had sat empty for the last several years.
Since taking ownership of the building last November, the family worked with some “great friends” to renovate the building. They lowered the ceiling, scraped carpet glue from the original floor and replaced the front window with a piece of Nobles County history.
“We wanted to keep the original floor from the bank — that’s why part of it is tile and part of it is wood. The hand-set tile area was the lobby,” Bentele said. As for the window, it was purchased at the Bob and Betty Demuth auction last fall. The windows were advertised as coming from the original Nobles County Courthouse.
“Not wanting to miss a good auction, my son Brad and I went,” Bentele said. They purchased both windows, and Bruce installed them together at the front of the building.
“It’s as close as we can replicate what the original bank windows were,” she explained. “It was the same time period of construction.”
While Bentele is excited to have a piece of Nobles County history included in the architecture, there are plenty of pieces offered for sale inside that have a history of their own.
“We have finished pieces, but we’re also going to have project pieces for people who see things on Pinterest and want to put their own touch on something,” she said. “We’ll not only have things inside that are ready to go and people can put in their homes right away, but also a lot of neat finds that people can do themselves.”
And, whether shoppers are browsing through the offerings or ready to take a break, they can enjoy a cup of coffee at The Corner Door’s coffee nook.
“The coffee nook is the old beer cooler from when it was a municipal liquor store,” Bentele said, pointing out that the employee access to the nook is the original cooler door.
“We wanted a place where you could come in and get a good cup of coffee — it pulls the community together,” she said.
As for the name, The Corner Door, Bentele said it took awhile to come up with the idea.
“I always thought naming my children was one of the hardest things I’d ever done, but picking a name for a business isn’t an easy thing either,” she said with a laugh. “Having been in marketing for over 20 years in various positions, and doing a lot of creative planning, we had this working list of a name for the store. Nothing was just quite falling into place.”
Then, one day, The Corner Door came to her as she looked out the patio doors of her family’s home — about a block away from the building.
“I was standing there, staring out across the lawn at the building and the name came to me out of the blue,” she said. “The building sits on the corner and the door sits diagonally on the corner of the building — it just seemed natural.”
About three-fourths of the building is used for the store, with a small area in the back reserved for refinishing and repurposing items the Benteles pick up at the various auctions they attend.
They began building up their inventory for the store a year ago, quickly filling up storage buildings and their garage with items that will soon make their way to the store as space is available.
“Once we get established, we’ll be taking in consignments,” Bentele said, adding that she’ll have works from a couple of local artisans, such as handmade greeting cards and jewelry, available for sale as well.
The Corner Door is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. every Saturday, and they may expand to Tuesday nights (that’s when the Sunset Grill offers a hamburger special and draws more people to town).
People are encouraged to watch her website (www.thecornerdoor.net) and follow her Facebook page (Thecornerdoorrl) for updates about hours, as well as photos and postings of new inventory.
“Coming in in October we’ll have a full-sized, hand-carved and hand-painted carousel horse,” Bentele said. “We’re hoping to have some unique things. We want to keep things changing and keep it interesting.
Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.