by Dennis Dalman
Some Sartell residents just cannot start the work day without first stopping at Liquid Assets for a morning boost – a cup of freshly brewed coffee and maybe a roll to go.
Many loyal regulars visit the shop as almost a ritual in their daily living. It’s a place to relax, enjoy a good chat, eat a light meal, read a newspaper or plug in a laptop to Liquid Assets’ free high-speed internet service.
That socially connective ambience is one reason Liquid Assets was recently named “Sartell Business of the Year” by the Sartell Area Chamber of Commerce. At its annual banquet, the owners of Liquid Assets Bob and Linda Feuling accepted the award, along with manager Deb Duncan and two of the employees, Cody Radjl and Sandy Wolter.
“I was in shock,” Duncan said. “We were up against such heavy hitters – places like CentraCare, Living Waters Church, Pediatric Dentistry and several more.”
Liquid Assets, which began about 11 years ago, went through a couple of ownerships before the Feulings bought it in 2008.
Duncan, a St. Cloud resident, has been its manager since last September. Before that, she worked at Hemsing’s Deli in St. Cloud for 25 years.
“Being locally owned makes a big difference,” Duncan said when asked why Liquid Assets has so many loyal customers. “A lot of local people come here, and we know most of them by name. We get to know them so well that they become part of our family.”
That comfortable, local, down-home ambience at Liquid Assets is quickly apparent to customers at the coffee shop. On a typical day, people relax inside and on the patio outside as if they were at home. Conversation flows and laughter percolates as people meet and greet, sit and chat.
“We go the extra mile for our customers,” Duncan said. “We consider them family.”
Another down-home plus at Liquid Assets, though Duncan is a bit too modest to admit it, is the homemade soups she makes completely from scratch. She makes a mind-boggling variety of 70 kinds of soup in the Liquid Assets kitchen. The soup is sold in cups and bowls, as well as frozen in quarts to go.
Customer favorites are chicken-noodle soup, chicken-dumpling soup and Philly cheese-steak soup.
Making soups is practically a birthright for Duncan, who grew up helping her mother and grandmother make soups on their farm near Kimball.
“It’s my passion – making soups,” she said.
Liquid Assets consists of a large lounge area with the coffee bar as its focus. There are also two back rooms that resemble comfy dens in a home, as well as an outdoor patio and a drive-thru lane. Seven friendly employees are happy to cater to the every need of every customer.
Some of the shop’s specialties include paninis, which are various ingredients (meats, cheeses, veggies of choice) served on Italian-style ciabbata bread; fruit smoothies; and breakfast wraps. There are also unique salads, soups, kids’ menus and ice-cream treats. For the diet-conscious, there are many heart-healthy items on the menu. In addition, there is a gluten-free menu.
Liquid Assets also does catering, with advance notice.
The shop is located at 1019 2nd St. S. Its hours are 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Fridays; and 7 a.m-4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
Dalman was born and raised in South St. Cloud, graduated from St. Cloud Tech High School, then graduated from St. Cloud State University with a degree in English (emphasis on American and British literature) and mass communications (emphasis on print journalism). He studied in London, England for a year (1980-81) where he concentrated on British literature, political science, the history of Great Britain and wrote a book-length study of the British writer V.S. Naipaul. Dalman has been a reporter and weekly columnist for more than 30 years and worked for 16 of those years for the Alexandria Echo Press.