Jun 11, 2024

The Odin Store hosting Grand Re-opening on June 21

Posted Jun 11, 2024 11:35 AM

Great Bend Post

The population of Odin in northeast Barton County was listed at 131 people in 2022. On nights when The Odin Store is hopping, that population can nearly double. Edgar and Sue Jacobs bought the store on Dec. 1, 1972. Sue passed away in 2021, and Edgar died unexpectedly in January. Instead of selling the business, their son, Monte Jacobs, took the reigns. Now, he's following in his father's footsteps with a grand re-opening of the store on Friday, June 21.

"He was in the hospital a little bit and he always came back," Monte said. "It kind of feels like he left and he's going to come back, or mom's going to come back and I'm just covering for them. Here recently, it's setting in that it's my baby and now I'm calling the shots. I wanted to do it as an appreciation-type thing for the people and something to kick my career off. I just thought with the way my dad liked to promote things and liked the people around, I thought it might be a good thing to do."

Jimmy Dee & The Fabulous Destinations will provide live music from 9 p.m. to midnight. The celebration will include dollar beers and dollar pulled-pork sandwiches from Boots Style BBQ.

The Odin Store's success was no guarantee when Edgar and Sue bought it in 1972. Edgar gave up a job on the railroad, and the bank would not give him a loan to purchase the store until he was married. So he married Sue on April 21, 1972.

"I think there were lots of doubters," Monte said. "My dad was 24 and my mom was 22 when they bought this place. I always remember my mom saying there were several people in the area who thought they were crazy for what they were doing, to take on something like this."

After purchasing the store, Edgar never took a day off because he loved what he did. That work ethic and love of the small community were handed down to Monte.

"It was just something that became part of the family," he said. "I've been with them since day one as far as helping. I just grew up here. I spent a lot of time here as a grade school kid, just because it was a place to be and we lived across the street. It was such a big part of our family."

Things were much different in rural Kansas in the 1970s: the store operated out of a simple cash register, there was no lottery, and fuel was regulated far less than it is today. The eight TVs The Odin Store now has were out of the question, as were credit and debit cards.

"That was a big deal to get that credit card machine," said Monte. "That was probably in the middle 80s. Before, there was no internet, limited cable TV. Now, the fuel is highly regulated. The lottery machine is here. The amount of change my dad has seen is probably pretty crazy as far as day-to-day stuff."

The Odin Store was always a little different by design. For many, it became a one-stop shop to pick up some essential grocery items and grab something to drink on the way home. Cars can fuel up and providing diesel is important for the local farming community.

"You just swing through and grab a pop or a sack of ice or a six-pack of beer," Monte said. "My dad always thought carrying all that stuff was important just to maybe get them in the doors in case they needed something else."

The Jacobs also kept The Odin Store relevant. The store was a takeoff point for Kansas City Chiefs bus trips. It provided concessions and a beer garden for the local rodeo. The store began catering alcohol to weddings more than a decade ago and has hosted BBQ competitions and chili cookoffs. A big sporting event can transform the store from a quiet bar into a hub of activity.

Then there's the ceiling. It's been a tradition of many to sign the store's ceiling for nearly 30 years after former Barton Cougar Alek Radojevic first did it in 1997.

"My dad made a comment, 'If you were to sign the ceiling, you wouldn't even need to stand on anything,'" Monte said. "He grabbed a magic marker and was the first one. Of course, now everyone likes to sign the ceiling."

Edgar was still enjoying his labor of love until an accident in January. Monte said selling the store was never really an option. His parents would have wanted him to carry on the tradition.

"I just really appreciate how they have taught me," he said. "I couldn't have had a better role model to assume the position."