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American soda pop a big draw for Sask. store

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There’s an unassuming store in a Saskatchewan town about an hour from Saskatoon where customers from all over the province flock to get its unique products.

The owners of Kelvin's Perk in Watrous have stocked the shelves to make every day feel like the fourth of July.

Kelvin Felner specializes in bringing in U.S. products not generally available in Canada. He has a special import license, a process he said involved a lot of paperwork.

“We try to keep our prices very reasonable. We charge our exchange and 20 per cent,” Felner told CTV News.

He makes the 28-hour trip south to North Dakota, Montana or Colorado almost every weekend, hitting up Costco or Walmart for supplies.

“People look at us different when we’re rolling out of Walmart with six or seven carts, and a $2,000 bill, but that’s what we do,” he says.

There are some popular favourites that are hard to keep on the shelves.

“Hands down will be soda pop. We usually try to carry 200 to 250 cases a week. The Prime drinks are the other huge seller. We were selling upwards of 200 cases a week of Prime,” he says.

Pop flavours are popular because they just taste different, even when you can buy the same kind in Canada, according to Felner.

Customers notice the difference and have their favourites.

“I like A & W cream soda. I bought a case when I first saw it,” customer Sunshine Quinton, told CTV News.

There are other coveted items, too.

“Back in December, there was the Bugle rush, I called it. I had the Bugle train going because you couldn’t get them in Canada anymore. In the month of December, we sold 3,000 bags of Bugles through this store,” Felner says.

Felner and his wife, Melanie Airey have always travelled to the U.S. and Kelvin’s grandparents are from the Deep South.

Bottles of Prime, a sports drink promoted by popular You Tube personality Logan Paul, fly off the shelves at Kelvin's Perk. (Faceboook/Kelvin's Perk)

The name of the business also has an American tie-in. It’s a play on the name of the famous café from the 90s sitcom Friends, Central Perk.

“I’m the biggest Friends fan you’d ever meet,” Felner says.

The walls of the café are adorned with Friends memorabilia including photos, posters and even a replica framed doorbell from the show.

The surprises at this little gem don’t end there. If you head upstairs, there is a bowling alley run by the Felners.

“There’s strings and pins and ropes.” He had to learn how to run a bowling alley and all the workings too, creating a real hang out for the town residents.

With business booming he hopes to keep it going strong, serving more than locals.

American pop products are among the most popular offerings at Kelvin's Perk. (Facebook/Kelvin's Perk)

“We get customers from all over, believe it or not. We have a huge clientele from Saskatoon,” he said.

He even makes weekly deliveries to loyal customers an hour away in the city. 

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