Count Minnesota retailer Josh Lund among those happy to have 2020 in the rearview mirror. By midyear, the independent c-store owner had suffered a debilitating one-two punch of enduring COVID-19 pandemic business stresses along with a vexing local road construction project.
Both kept customers away from his Beaudry Express c-store as they curtailed travel during the pandemic or because they simply found it hard to navigate the construction, keeping them from visiting his 2,000-square-foot store in Elk River, Minn.

The upside is that absence made many customers’ hearts grow fonder. “Many told us that when they went to competing c-stores for their morning coffee, doughnut or lunch, they didn’t get the same level of customer service they receive from us,” says Lund. “People come to Beaudry Express because we’re both accessible and friendly.”

Despite the local esteem, Beaudry Express still found itself challenged when part of state Hwy. 10 closed for construction this past summer, making it difficult to get to the store. “The loss of [sales] dollars was crazy,” says Lund, adding that high-velocity coffee and doughnut sales took the biggest hit with a 35% decline.

But with the construction and 2020 behind it, Lund is optimistic he can get the store back on track. In 2021, he is looking to execute an in-store refresh project to include updated gondolas, fixtures and coffee counters, which he says have “taken a beating.” The good news about that “beating?” It’s the direct result of ample use by the multitude of customers who consider Beaudry Express to be an essential piece of their daily regimens.

Josh Lund of Beaudry Express.