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Dave Olson, Published May 18 2012

Trade Talk: Lakes country gathering spot closes

Billy’s Corner Bar and Grill, a lakes country gathering spot in Vergas, Minn., for decades, has closed.

Owner Kevin Flynn said he could no longer afford payments on the business he and his wife, Kelly, purchased five years ago.

Flynn said they viewed Billy’s as a lakes country tradition they were proud to uphold.

But he said a winter with little snow and few snowmobilers was too difficult to spring back from.

Flynn said most, if not all, of the bar’s dozen employees have found other jobs.

“They were an awesome crew,” he said.

Flynn said he is still considering what he will do next, and he said another bar and restaurant may be a possibility.

And while Flynn described the closing of Billy’s as a huge blow to his family and the community, he tries to look at the positives.

“I’m thankful for the opportunity. I learned a lot. I made a lot of great new friends,” he said.

The building occupied by Billy’s has been a fixture in Vergas for many years.

The original structure, built in 1903, burned down in 1918 and was replaced in 1919 by the building that still stands.

It has always been a bar, and the building became Billy’s Corner Bar & Grill in 1990 after it was bought by the late William “Billy” Day, the father of Brian Day, who now owns the building with his wife, Shelley.

Day said that one way or another they plan to reopen Billy’s soon.

Scheels recognized

Scheels, a Fargo-based sportswear, footwear and sports gear retailer, has been named one of the top 12 major sporting goods retailers in the United States by Sports Insight magazine in its annual “The Power 12” publication.

Through a series of secret shopping visits, Scheels ranked No. 1 in three of the four categories, including first impression, interaction with staff, and facility and display.

Scheels operates 24 stores in nine states and will open another store this fall in Sandy, Utah.

Don’t be surprised if you soon see a Smiling Moose in Fargo.

The deli restaurant is going into the Shoppes on 45th, at 2877 45th St. S.

Smiling Moose owner Nathan Everson said the restaurant expects to open in early June.

The business will feature fresh-made salads, hot and cold sandwiches, and wraps and soups.

It will also offer breakfast all day and provide catering services, Everson said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555.

Dianna Baumann of The Forum newsroom contributed to this report.