On The Road: Fountain - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

On The Road: Fountain

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FOUNATIN, Minn. (KTTC) -- With just more than 400 residents, Fountain has that small-town feel with plenty of memorable stops.

Located just north of Preston on Highway 52, Fountain has stayed true to its colors over the years. Main Street has seen its changes but also has its staples.

"Totally out of place but we're here none-the-less perhaps just out of stubbornness," says Drury's Owner Mike Drury.   Drury's furniture store is one of those staples. Thanks to Mike's grandfather.  "He actually started the business in 1925 as a second location for a furniture business for a man he worked for in Preston Minnesota."

The original building was just more than 2,300 square feet. Today it's nearly 15 times that, at 35,000 square feet, Drury's continues to grow.  "We just keep going and we keep trying and we keep expanding the business to try to make it a destination," said Drury.

At First St.and Main St. another family trade is being upheld.  "I learned to make pies from my grandma," said Village Square Owner Mary Milne.  The Village Square is a small-town restaurant with a big clientele.  "Fountain is really good to patronize us," she said.  "A lot of Preston and Wykoff, Spring Valley, Chatfield, Lanesboro people."

She attributes the stores success to its great pie and, perhaps more importantly, its location.

"We're kind of the hub right between all the towns. So we get a lot of drive-by and they'll stop in and have pie or specials... new specials go well," said Milne.

The town's Mayor, Richard Kujath, says the great thing about Fountain is students can attend four area schools.  "You can go to Kingsland which is in Spring Valley. You can go to Filmore Central. You can go to Lanesboro. Or you can go to Chatfield."

Mayor Kujath has kept his position for more than 20-years, However that doesn't measure up to how long Willis J. Cambern has held his.

Willie's Grocery store has been handing out warm welcomes for decades.

"You're as beautiful as ever but don't tell my wife I said that," said Cambern to a customer.

Willie has been in charge since 1972.  "But when I started working back in 1954 it was known as Kendall's Grocery and Locker back in those days," said Cambern.

The owner of the once Kendall's, made Willie an offer he couldn't refuse.  "Invited me in to stock grocery shelves and they asked my mother. My mother said 'yes' but she gave me a lecture that night she said, 'you're going to go to work, you're going to work, and you're going to do a job and it will be a nice extra income."

He says it's much more than a business.

"You still have to have relationships with people. And every person that comes into the store, I like to speak to them," he said.  "Even if they are a little squirt or whatever they might be because they are a future customer."

With a memorable reputation, Cambern sees no end in site.  "I really have no intention to retire if my health can hold out and the money holds out," he said.

"It's just worth a trip to Fountain," said Drury.  "We hope you come here sometime."

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