By Jennie Zeitler, Staff Writer
The Peach’s August Woman of the Month, Pam Michels Borgmann and her husband, Mike, were born and raised in Sauk Centre. Life took them away for many years, but as retirement neared, they decided to return.
“We came up all the time, with our parents here,” said Borgmann. “It was my brother’s death that brought us all back together as a family as we worked through the grief.”
With a place chosen, the Borgmanns pondered what it was they wanted to do after they made the move.
“In the Cities, Mike and I would go on dates to coffee shops, where we played cribbage and talked,” Borgmann said. “There was no place really like that in Sauk Centre, a place to go in for coffee and sit and visit and stay as long as you wanted.”
The Borgmanns opened Main Street Coffee in 2002, in the back of the building kitty corner from the Palmer House.
They wanted to create an atmosphere of community in the shop. Within months, that location proved to be too small and the shop moved to its present location at 600 Main Street S., in October 2002.
Borgmann had been concerned that Sauk Centre was losing a lot of the small community feel, but she and Mike are very pleased with the destination that Main Street Coffee Company has become.
“We are a good coffee community,” she said. “We do a lot of referrals out of here for local businesses, people we can personally recommend.”
With the coffee shop flourishing, Borgmann started to see the need for activities in town in addition to Sinclair Lewis Days.
“I wanted to create events to bring people to town — bring families back by reawakening the history and beauty of Sauk Centre,” she said. “It’s a place where we can walk to the Post Office and to the movie theater.”
Borgmann developed the idea of hosting a cookout contest. In 2009, she, Sue Hartigan and Marilyn Harris attended a judging school in Iowa sponsored by the Kansas City Barbecue Society.
“If we were going to do a cookout contest, we were going to do it right,” Borgmann said. “It’s in its fifth year now.”
The first two years, Grillin’ & Chillin’ was held at the old home school (now Eagle’s Healing Nest) north of Sauk Centre. Then planners thought it would be better in town and it moved to Sinclair Lewis Park.
“The city has been very helpful and supportive of the event, such as putting in more electricity,” said Borgmann. “Sarah Weber has helped pull together vendors.”
In 2012, there were 25 contestants and around 25 vendors. Approximately 750 people attended.
“We’re hoping for 1,000 people this year. We’ll be using the whole east side of the park, and the city gave us a one-day variance to offer beer,” Borgmann said.
Another event Borgmann helped get off the ground is the December tree-lighting ceremony — Christmas In the Park — now in its fourth year.
“We decided we needed something more for children and families in the winter,” she said. “The Chamber makes up candy bags. There are wagon rides, sleigh rides, bonfires and carol-singing. Businesses sponsor an animated light display.”
Borgmann is a member of the Convention and Visitors Center board and is the current president of the Sauk Centre Area Historical Society.
“If we don’t know where we’ve been, we can hardly know where we’re going,” she said.
She was a strong influence in filling downtown Sauk Centre with hanging flower pots.
“We formed an ad hoc committee — strictly volunteer,” she said. “Leroy Moritz built a water cart and Anita Berg was instrumental in getting the project established. The city waters during the week now, with volunteers watering on weekends. It really brightens up the downtown.”
“We need to create memories,” she said. “I know what this town meant to me growing up and I think it’s important for people to have ties to the community. We should always keep the positive influence of being a thriving small town.”
Grillin’ & Chillin’ is Saturday, Sept. 7 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. in Sinclair Lewis Park.
Main Street Coffee is open Monday – Saturday from 7 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. For more information, go to www.mainstcoffeecompany.com or call (320) 351-8000.