Building demolition in full swing in Wadena

The former Wadena Outfitters building was flattened Wednesday, April 15, in an effort to make way for an expansion project at John's Car Care. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

With Hwy 10 tore up through Wadena, the demolition seems to be spreading as a number of buildings were flattened this week in preparation for new developments.

One major demolition project getting plenty of attention on Wednesday included property surrounding John’s Car Care on Hwy 10 east in Wadena. John’s Car Care owners Tony and Jacqueline Wegscheid are pushing ahead with removal of buildings to expand on their fuel station offerings. Tony said the buildings being removed include two garages, two homes, the former Wadena Outfitters business and a couple buildings to the rear of the fuel station.

“We’re removing all the buildings to create a turn around,” Wegscheid explained. Once the business owner found out the plans of the Hwy 10 reconstruction, which includes concrete medians, he knew he would have to redevelop their property to allow vehicles of all sizes easier access in and out. They eventually came up with a plan that would work, which involved removing the surrounding buildings.

“The highway coming through made it so we were no longer able to get our trucks out of here,” Tony said. “We had to come up with a solution.”

That solution includes angled diesel lanes and satellite pumps so semis won’t be making sharp turns out onto the roadway. The improvements also include high-flow pumps that will pour diesel at 50 gallons a minute.


“We’re gonna make it work so they have no problems getting in and out, in fact, it will be better than it was, it’s just we were forced to do it quicker than we wanted to …” Tony said.

Planning for this took time and now it’s crunch time to get it done. Tony hopes it’s all complete by the first week of July, he’s also hopeful the road work is complete by then so he can welcome in travelers on the new roadway.

Tony said dealing with slower traffic due to the coronavirus and due to the construction are two animals to deal with. He said the lower fuel prices are a good thing as it will hopefully get people out fueling up more once people can stop sheltering at home. He also saw it as a much needed help to those hurt by the challenging economic times.

The former Wadena Outfitters building was also a gas station and car wash and later an auto dealership. One local said Keys Cafe was at that location for a time as well.

Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative

Demolition began at Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative this week as well. The demolition begins just a couple weeks after board members voted to move ahead with the new headquarters project. By Thursday, the garage portion of the building was pulled apart and being hauled out.

The cooperative has operated from its current facility in Wadena since it was constructed in 1949, with an office addition built in the 1980s. The decision comes in response to study and planning to evaluate TWEC’s needs and possible solutions to determine the state of the building, which has served the cooperative for 71 years, according to a TWEC news release.

According to TWEC's website, the headquarters will break ground in April. Demolition of the shop/garage would be complete in May, and construction would start immediately after on that site. The construction is expected to be complete in November 2020. The office would then move from their current space to the new space and demolition of the current headquarters office would commence in November.


The garage portion of the Todd-Wadena Electric Cooperative building is removed Thursday in Wadena. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

TWEC Member Service Manager Allison Uselman said on Wednesday, April 15, the garage portion of the TWEC building is currently being demolished. The new building will be constructed just to the east of the current office portion of the building. Uselman commented that this process is handy to allow them to avoid relocating during the demolition and construction process. Even so, many of the employees have relocated to remote work stations for their safety due to the coronavirus.

Moore Sensational Looks

The Moore Sensational Looks and Comfort Corner Massage building was also demolished this week. The building suffered a total loss from a fire Feb. 26. The business temporarily relocated to the upper level of the Wadena Family Dental building, in the former Glamour Salon space at 122 Colfax Ave. SW. They were in business there for just a couple weeks before they had to cease business due to the COVID-19 business closures. When salons will be able to reopen is still an unknown should closures be extended again. Currently they are to remain closed through May 3.

Property owner Kelsey Moore said they do plan to build on the site again, however, when that will come together was yet an unknown. Moore said her many clients are "very antsy" to get a hair appointment, understandably so.

Moore owned the building as a salon for six years. Prior to that the building was a tanning salon and realty business. Many seem to also remember the building was home of "Lucky Bees" restaurant.


Moore Sensational Looks building was razed Tuesday, April 14, following a fire there in February. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

Local historian Roger Folkestad recalls the building being built by ER Jacobson (sp). He said it was a cafe early on with a gas station next door in the current Genesis Auto Sales location.

Business Park

Two buildings are being removed in the new Wadena Business Park. Those steel buildings were set to be removed to make way for a Dollar General, however, with that deal being undone, the space will be open for the next development project.

Buildings at the Wadena Business Park are being pulled apart to make way for developments on that site. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

Michael Johnson is the news editor for Agweek. He lives in rural Deer Creek, Minn., where he is starting to homestead with his two children and wife.
You can reach Michael at or 218-640-2312.
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