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'No-brainer': Brothers open Loup City outdoor store to cater to Sherman Reservoir crowd
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'No-brainer': Brothers open Loup City outdoor store to cater to Sherman Reservoir crowd

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LOUP CITY — The goal of Platte River Outdoors is to “cater to the lake people,” according to Mark Kuszak, co-owner of the sporting goods store in Loup City.

Customers can visit the lower level of Kuszak Hardware and Variety for their hunting, fishing and archery needs.

Platte River Outdoors was based in Tony Kuszak’s home in Kearney for more than five years before it was moved in February to Loup City.

“Upstairs, we had a small fishing and hunting section, and we’ve seen there was definitely a demand for it with us being five miles from Sherman Reservoir and having a lot of traffic,” said Tony Kuszak, co-owner of Platte River Outdoors. “With me having an archery business in Kearney, we just kind of saw the opportunity to maybe do a sporting goods section up here and expand into what we had upstairs into the True Value side of things.”

For anglers, Platte River Outdoors carries fishing poles, tackle and fishing accessories. They also send customers locked and loaded with guns, ammo and reloading supplies. Archers can choose from bows, compound bows, crossbows, arrows, broadheads and targets.

Customers can test archery equipment at an in-store archery shooting range that stretches 20 yards. For non-customers, the range is $5 for two hours.

Platte River Outdoors is one of three main businesses operated by brothers Tony and Mark and Mark’s son, Eric. 

Mark Kuszak started Kuszak Construction more than 20 years ago and involved the family later on. For 47 years, the variety store was King’s True Value, owned by Mike and Shirley King.

“Just out of the blue one day, Shirley King just floored me and said, ‘I think your family would be a good family to take this over,’” Mark Kuszak said.

Kuszak Hardware & Variety had its grand opening in June 2019. Inside is a treasure chest of garden supplies, home decór, plumbing, electrical, hardware, paint, houseware, garbage cans, toys and more.

When the pandemic hit, business increased because of more people shopping local.

“A lot of people got stuff from the store down here for lake use and cabins,” Eric Kuszak said. “Without Sherman Reservoir out there, this place wouldn’t be what it is.”

The sporting goods selection at Kuszak Hardware & Variety began as a small section in the store before renovation began in December. Eventually, the dollar section moved upstairs and Platte River Outdoors opened in its place.

The Kuszak family plans on expanding their inventory in the future.

“It’s kind of cool that we’re all family here and involved in all these businesses together,” Mark Kuszak said. “It was kind of scary at first — taking this over and being able to make it work — but after being at it for two and a half years, looking back, it was kind of a no-brainer.”

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