New owners toast to anticipated success

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 14, 2003

The new owners of Apollo Liquor and Superette are finding "Minnesota Nice," more specifically "Austin Nice," is helping them find success in their new venture.

Dave and Peggy Olson moved from Kansas City, Mo., after they purchased the Apollo Liquors and Superette from Austin businessman Nick Kolas.

The Olsons were looking for a business for sale and went to Dave Olson's cousin, Austin Wells Fargo president Todd Thompson, for help.

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"There had to be something better out there than working for somebody else," Dave Olson said.

Kolas happened to overhear Thompson's phone conversation with Dave Olson and ended up selling the couple the store. Kolas had owned the store for 30 years and wasn't planning to sell it until then.

Dave and Peggy Olson accepted his offer and took over the store in February.

Since then, Dave Olson said, the experience has been "a real steep learning curve."

Dave Olson spends most of his day and evenings at the store. He wants to learn every job before delegating out responsibilities. Peggy Olson works from home as a computer programmer for Sungard Financial, which is based in California, during the day. Around 4:30 p.m. she joins her husband at the store until they leave for the night.

"I guess I figure you have to work hard the first few years," Peggy Olson said.

Kolas and his two sons have helped them adjust as well.

"They want to help us make it go," Peggy Olson said.

Besides helping them learn about the business, they have introduced them around town to other businesses and Chamber of Commerce members. The store has belonged to the Chamber since it opened and the Olsons plan to stay members.

"I like the fact that everyone is just so friendly," Peggy Olson said.

Kolas, meanwhile, still owns an Austin convenience store, four liquor stores in Rochester and is part owner of Autonetics in Austin. He also owns a hotel in Brookings, S.D.

The Olsons are impressed with what Austin has to offer and look forward to spending more time on interests such as golfing, hunting, fishing and other outdoor activities.

While Peggy Olson is from Kansas, Dave Olson is from Spirit Lake, Iowa, and now feels closer to where he grew up.

"(Austin) has a lot of the attractions of a large town," Dave Olson said. "We have some things in town other small towns don't have."

The Olsons do not plan to change too much about the store, but are planning a ribbon cutting ceremony with the Chamber on Thursday, May 22.

The Superette is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The liquor store is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

"We still plan on offering and maintaining the reputation of a good selection of quality wines, good service and friendly employees," Dave Olson said.

Cari Quam can be reached at 434-2235 or by e-mail at