New owner's Bob & Mary Laster have brought their southern hospitality to the Kasilof Mercantile
If you were use to stopping by the Kasilof Mercantile on your way south or north on the Kenai Peninsula to say “Hey” to Bob and Mary Lamb and pick up a little something you probably heard that they had decided to sell the Mercantile. Well they did and just to make the transition easy they sold it to Bob and Mary Laster of Tifton, Georgia. So now you can keep on pulling in to the Kasilof Mercantile to say “Hey” to Bob and Mary and find out for yourself why folks from that far south would want to migrate this far north, “No big story really just kind of burned out on the hot weather and looking for a cooler environment and our son Rocky and daughter-in-law have been living up here for about six or seven years so we decided to do something different before we went belly-up,” said Bob sipping a nice iced beverage in the Mercantile’s expanded café. Kenaitze artist Bunny Swan-Gease has recently given the café a host culture touch with a wildlife mural that is certain to enhance the pleasure of each visit.
A true “Jack of all trades,” Bob says while in Georgia he use to teach, coach, milk cows, and build houses, not necessarily in that order, “Just anything to keep out of trouble,” said Laster, who had just put some finishing touches on a new Arctic Cache in front of the store. Along with their true southern hospitality Bob and Mary have brought north some new ideas for the Kasilof Mercantile that are already proving to be very popular with their customers, “We’re going to offer as many things as people need as we can, we have a souvenir shop and fishing section, movie rentals and the usual line of groceries and snacks. We’ll be open seven days a week offering three different meals a day in the café with breakfast ‘til 3:00pm and of course Rocky’s pizza to take out or dine in anytime, we may even expand the summer business hours,” said Mary.
While the Laster’s worked at a lot of different trades in Georgia this is the first time they have owned a store and believe it or not they did not come to the Kenai for the fishing, “We don’t fish much, we don’t sit still long enough,” said Mary. Bob admitted that he has yet to catch a salmon, but added, “Things might change though, we get this finished and we might just find time to fish a little bit.” One thing for sure, whether you stop by the Kasilof Mercantile for some batteries, fishing or camping gear or to try their famous Stuffed Hash Browns, Rocky’s Breakfast Sandwich, Justa Burger, a Philly Cheese-steak, Toasted Bagel Sandwich, full pizza menu, specialty espresso bar, or just some good ol’ Biscuits & Gravy, you’re sure to hear a friendly, “Yawl come back now!” from new owners Bob & Mary Laster. The Kasilof Mercantile is located at mile 109 of the Sterling Highway just past the Kalifornsky Beach Rd. turn off. Call in orders may be made at 262-4809.
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