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Business is going well for Big George's Liquor Store in Killdeer

Kelly and Susan Summerfield stand with their dog George in front of a wine rack at Big George's Liquor Store in Killdeer. (Sydney Mook / The Dickinson Press)

When you walk into Big George's Liquor Store in Killdeer, you are likely greeted with a welcome and perhaps a happy dog named George, who is named after the store, trotting over to see what's going on.

The liquor store, which is located at 100 Alkali Way in Killdeer, opened last spring as the second liquor store in town, co-owner Kelly Summerfield said. He said things have been going well so far. He said he was a bit worried about all of the oil activity slowing down, but business has not tapered off in spite of the economy.

"I was actually surprised it's doing a lot better than what I thought," he said. "... We're getting our name out and everything. People know that we're here so we're starting to get customers. So, it's just nice."

The building was previously a cooling and heating business, so Kelly had to redo the floors, along with some of the walls and siding. The building also needed to have fridges added in order to keep drinks cold. However, Kelly said he has many years of construction experience, so the project only took a few months to complete.

Kelly's wife and co-owner Susan Summerfield said they always wanted to open a liquor store. She is a nurse by trade, so by the end of June 2016 she went to fill-in status. Currently, she and her husband are the only ones working in the store because of the difficulty of adding extra staff members, she said.

"We just want to have a nice store for people to come into," Susan said. "We have a very nice wine section."

The store is named after Kelly's dad, and their logo is actually from a photo of Kelly's dad as well.

"He's done a lot for me in my life, and out of respect I had to name it after him," he said.

The couple also has a dog named George, however the dog is named after the store, Kelly said.

The store is open seven days a week. Monday through Saturday the store is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and on Sundays it's open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Kelly said his family has been in the area since before Killdeer was even a town, so it is nice to now own a business in town.

"My grandma worked here (in Killdeer) when Jack and Jill's used to be open," Kelly said. "She worked at the register from the time they were open until the time they closed."

The store sells a variety of IPAs and has a large wine selection, Kelly said. They are constantly swapping out different beers for people to try and do their best to find the beers people request, though they are not always able to fill the requests as some drinks may not be available to them from their distributors.

"We try to keep fresh stock in because the guys are always amazed at how many different beers that we have for a small town," Susan said. "Sometimes we even have a better selection than the stores in Dickinson."

Kelly estimates they have about 40 different off-brand beers in the store at one time or another.

Susan said they try to keep their prices low to encourage people to shop with them, rather than going to Dickinson. However, it is tougher for them as there is often an added shipping cost, plus they cannot buy in bulk as much as bigger stores like Walmart and Cashwise because they lack the storage capacity and the demand.

During last July's hailstorm, Susan said they fared well compared to other places in town. The store did not lose any windows and mainly had roof and siding damage. They were closed down for a couple hours because they lost signal to their cash register, but overall Kelly said the storm did not slow them down much.

"I was open the next day, and I probably sold as much beer that day as I did on the Fourth of July," he said with a chuckle.

During the spring and summer an authentic Mexican truck is open next door, which helps bring people in for both businesses, Susan said. She said the food truck should be back toward the end of March.

"It's something new for the town," Kelly said. "We're trying to bring things to Killdeer where people can have something to do here. That's one nice thing, Killdeer is starting to grow a little bit. They've got the swimming pool now, and the parks board is starting to work on stuff. It's improving in this town."

Both said, being from the area, it is nice to see the town start to expand.

"Change is good for everybody," Susan said. "It's hard to adjust to, but change is always good."

The couple said one of their favorite parts about running the business is the different types of people they get to meet from all over the country and even from all over the world.

"It's kind of nice because you get to talk to people all the time," Kelly said. "It's very enjoyable."

Sydney Mook

Sydney Mook has been covering higher education at the Grand Forks Herald since May 2018. She previously served as the multimedia editor and cops, courts and health reporter at the Dickinson Press from January 2016 to May 2018.  She graduated from the University of South Dakota with a bachelor's degree in journalism and political science in three and half years in December 2015. While at the USD, she worked for the campus newspaper, The Volante, as well as the television news show, Coyote News. She also interned at South Dakota Public Broadcasting and spent the summer before her senior year interning in Fort Knox for the ROTC Cadet Summer Training program. In her spare time, Sydney enjoys cheering on the New York Yankees and the Kentucky Wildcats, as well as playing golf. If you've got an idea for a video be sure to give her a call!

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