OSLO, Minn. – Anyone who wants to experience the best of what a small town has to offer, likely will find it in Oslo.
A small town cafe, family-owned businesses and friendly people who pull together in times of adversity are some of the things visitors to Oslo will find during a visit to the village of 350 about 20 miles north of Grand Forks. Business leaders offer personalized service, which makes the small-town atmosphere enticing to many.
On Main Street -- yes, that’s its official name - is Chevrolet dealership Dahlstrom Motors and kitty-corner from it is Tim Gowan’s Street Is Neat Custom Bikes & Trikes and Kosmatka’s Market. While business is key to the town, amenities, such as a city park, senior center and Catholic and Lutheran churches, round out the farm community.
“We’re very blessed to be where we’re at,” said Rod Dahlstrom, general manager of Dahlstrom Motors, the longtime Chevrolet dealership in town. “Most people who do business with us, your word is your bond."
Back on Main Street, Dahlstrom Motors Inc., an Oslo fixture for about 75 years, continued to sell and service cars during the pandemic, according to Dahlstrom.
“Our business has just been going on,” said Dahlstrom, noting that the company’s employees do more sanitizing of surfaces and social distancing to keep customers safe.
Dahlstrom’s customers are loyal, and area residents are used to dealing with the adversity that comes with the spring floods that often hit the small town, he said.
“Small towns kind of band together, whether it’s a pandemic or something else .... Everybody is in this together,” Dahlstrom said.
Tim Gowan, longtime owner of Street is Neat Custom Bikes & Trikes Inc., has been able to maintain his customer base -- and note some cautious thinking on the part of some residents during the days of COVID-19.
“I’m pretty fortunate,” Gowan said, noting that he typically stores 40 to 60 motorcycles for his customers from October to May. While the bikes are in storage, many customers ask Gowan to service them, and he also does repairs.
Gowan, who also offers consignment motorcycle and tricycle sales, noted there has been an uptick in customers requesting those transactions.
“People actually call me and ask me if I can sell their bikes because they don’t want to go out of the house,” he said.