St. Peter residents have the chance to find bargain sales at a new store: Riverside Thrift Shop.

The thrift shop, which officially opened last Friday, is run by husband-wife team Zach and Hannah Bauleke (who receive lots of help from their four-year-old son, William).

Zach Bauleke grew up in Cleveland and worked at the MRCI Thrift Shop in Mankato for the past six years, besides managing vacation rental properties along Lake Jefferson, where he and his wife live. He said he has loved the thrift store business ever since he became involved with MRCI, and he started wanting to own his own store.

“We were looking for the right opportunity, and it came around,” he said. “We were looking for a building and got lucky and saw a sign in this building here that said that [the owner] was moving. I called … and got in here right away. It worked out because there’s no vacancies in this town at all for business [with] sales floors.”

The couple moved into their Front Street building on Aug. 1 and began making the space into a real storefront.

“The place was completely empty, so we had to put all the shelves and stuff up,” Zach Bauleke said. “It was a lot of work, but we got it all in here and set up. We were pretty busy with property management and vacation rentals at the lakes; otherwise, it probably would have been a bit quicker.”

They also worked on collecting their inventory, both from items they already owned and through donations from family and friends. Besides clothes and shoes, the store also offers board games, video games, kitchen appliances, toys, collectibles and other items.

“We’ve showed up a lot of mornings, and there’s been stuff at the front door, waiting for us,” Zach Bauleke said. “We got a lot of donations from family and the community. They’ve been really helpful and supportive.”

The store officially opened on Sept. 20, and Zach Bauleke said the first day was “really good.”

“It was better than we expected,” he said. “It was really busy. We’ve got to do some restocking now. Our hard work is paying off.”

While the store only has its two co-owners right now, Zach Bauleke said the hope is to expand in the future, both in terms of hours and location. He added that they also hope to work with community organizations to have a positive impact in St. Peter.

“We’d love to… work with something in the community that benefits the community directly, some kind of nonprofit,” he said. “I don’t want to get involved with a big corporation again, because I know all the profits are just going to pay the CEO his half million dollar salary, and that’s not really what I’m about. We want to benefit the kids or something directly with the community.”

Riverside Thrift Shop is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

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