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Randy Morrissette II goes from manager to owner

Randy Morrissette II now owns the liquor store in the Plaza 94 shopping center that he has managed since 2004. Setter's Liquor is the new name of the former Northland Liquors store.

Randy Morrissette II now owns the liquor store in Plaza 94 that he has managed since 2004.

Setter's Liquor is the new name for the store tucked in between Maurice's and Hudson Optical in the shopping center on Ward Avenue.

Morrissette purchased the former Northland Liquors store from SGG Corp. and opened under the new name at the end of February.

Setter's, he explained, is an old nickname of his. It also represents his father's partnership in the business. Randy Morrissette I is a retired Hudson police officer, and like his son, a life-long resident of Hudson.

"It's a local liquor store. That's what I want it to be," said the younger Morrissette. "I've got a lot of local folks who come here, and that's how I want to continue to grow the business."

Morrissette said he'll concentrate on providing competitive prices and products that customers request. He said he'll have a list at the counter that customers can use to request a beer, wine or liquor that they don't see on the shelves or in the coolers.

"If it's feasible, I'll bring it in for folks," he said. "And the nice thing is, I can do it right away. I don't have to go through three different levels of management, because I'm the owner now."

Morrissette said he's also looking for opportunities to cross-merchandise locally produced food products such as cheeses, steak sauces and beef jerky.

He plans to capitalize on the Fresh and Natural Foods store be located nearby by expanding the line of organic wines and gluten-free beers he already carries.

"I'm going to go after that customer demographic," he said.

He might have a coffee pot on, so if people want stop by and talk politics over a free cup, they can do that, he said.

The 41-year-old Morrissette has represented District 1 on the Hudson City Council since the spring of 2007.

He grew up in the same house on First Street where his parents live now. His father has lived there since he was a boy.

While his dad was a Hudson police officer for 25 years (retiring as the acting chief), his mother, Sandy, managed businesses for Erickson's Diversified Corp. The former Denim Patch in Hudson was one of the stores she ran.

"I'm kind of doing what both of my parents did," Morrissette said. "She did business management. He did community service."

Morrissette graduated from Hudson High School in 1989 and from UW-Stout in 1994 with a degree in child psychology and juvenile criminal justice. He worked as a juvenile counselor for Washington County, Minn., for a short time before going into hotel management.

He managed the Fairfield Inn in Hudson before opening the first Northland Liquors store in the Plaza 94 shopping center.

His wife, Kirsten, is the head pharmacy technician at the County Market pharmacy. They have two sons, Jacob, 14, and Mitchell, 10.

Setter's Liquor is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Three part-time employees assist Morrissette in operating the store.

A new, lighted outdoor sign is on order and should be installed in a couple of weeks. The interior of the store is freshly painted and the floor will get a polishing.

Morrissette said regular customers and some new ones have stopped in to congratulate him on purchasing the business.

"People love small businesses and Hudson has always supported them, so it's going to be nice," he said. "We're off and running."

He said it is his understanding that SSG Corp. is selling its stand-alone Northland Liquors stores, but may continue to operate those next to its Holiday gas stations. Last year, the company opened a new Northland Liquors store in a strip mall on Crest View Drive, across Interstate 94 from Plaza 94.

"Competition makes us better operators," Morrissette said, indicating that he doesn't mind having his former employer for a competitor.

He expressed gratitude to SGG Corp. Executive Vice President Gail Dahlstrom for giving him the opportunity to purchase the Plaza 94 store.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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