Bob Caldwell and Beth Miller
The shops in Oasis Center in Pequot Lakes are anchored by a mother and son who enhance communication.
Beth Miller has been selling cell phones to customers since 2005, first in Jenkins and now in Pequot Lakes.
Her son, Nate, is a taxidermist whose skills turn birds and animals into works of art.
"In a small business, it's all about customer service," said Beth.
She first started handling cell phones when she had a paint store in Jenkins. She thought it would bring more customers into the store. Then she found an opening at the Oasis in Pequot Lakes, sold the paint store and opened a Cellular One store. AT&T bought out Cellular One and she became an AT&T dealer.
Beth helps customers set up their phone, coordinates it with other phones in the family and is there to service customers' phone needs.
Customers come in with questions about their phones. One wanted a head set and another needed a charging unit for his vehicle. One woman decided she wanted a phone like her husband's and wanted it programmed like his. The woman said she had other errands to run and would be back in half an hour.
All cell phones aren't the same, and some of the older ones that are still operating successfully no longer have the accessories to fit. But Beth has a box of old headsets from which she will try to find one that will work with an old cell phone.
Sometimes it's impossible, but sometimes she finds what the customer needs. She carries a large inventory of cell phones and all the accessories from Blue Tooth to connection cords, to phone covers and holders.
Bob Caldwell from Pine River stopped in to get a car charger cord for his cell phone. He really wanted one that would work with his camera and printer. Beth found what he wanted, tested it on his phone, showed him how to use it and even printed a picture from his card.
Bob's wife was interested in a new phone, but said she didn't have time to learn how to use a new phone that day; but when they were back from their trip, she'd be in for a new phone and Blue Tooth connection.
That's how Beth operates. She takes time with her customers, and knows the questions to ask so they get the right equipment. And it's all done with an easy grace.
Beth grew up in the Brainerd area and attended Franklin Junior High School and Brainerd High School. She said her folks moved here from Missouri when she was just 6 months old. Her grandparents had built a home on Gladstone Lake. For many years they operated an agate shop near their home.
Beth has four children. Nate, 32, is the owner of Wild Marsh Taxidermy with a shop in the Oasis Center.
Laurie, 29, lives in Pillager.
Garret, 22, is in the Army at Fort Lewis in Washington.
Alex, 21, lives in the Pequot Lakes area.
Nate Miller owner of Wild Marsh Taxidermy.
Nate, whose shop is at the opposite end of the Oasis Center, has won several ribbons for his bird mounts from professional shows in North Dakota and Minnesota. He does it all - shoulder deer mounts, antler plaques, birds and fish.
He's just finished an owl. The owl was hit by a car and the mount will be going to a nature center. The bird has its wings partially extended and looks like it's about to grab a mouse.
"This is a young owl," Nate said. "See the downy feathers at his throat?"
It's Nate's goal to keep his mounts as natural as possible. He has displays of deer, antlers, fish and water birds.
It's not often you will find a mother and son both having shops in the same center. Beth has taught her son the importance of service to the customer.
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