It's not every day that you meet a family of five young adults who each own successful businesses. Especially in the same small community. Therefore, I've developed the ‘It’s Possible in Platte′ series. Through the course of five articles, you'll learn about a group of millennial, entrepreneurial cousins in the Samuelson family and their paths to success. 

Chances are if you've ever been to Platte, or even just driven through, you've stopped at Dakota Food & Fuel.

Located in the middle of town on SD-44 (201 E. 7th St.) Dakota Food and Fuel has been a convenient stop for both residents and tourists for years.

Current owner-operator Maria Samuelson began working at the store in 2005 when it was named Hoffman Gas & Grill. As a freshmen at Platte High School, Samuelson worked part-time throughout her entire high school career.

While working in the store, she developed a curiosity for management and entrepreneurship. As a young teen, she quickly realized that she would like to have her own business someday, and the opportunity to be her own boss.

After completing high school, she decided to attend college at Mitchell Technical Institute for Business. While going to school, she continued to work at the Platte convenience store, as well as another store in Corsica, on weekends.

Shortly before she graduated college, at just 21 years old, the owner of the Platte store decided to put the business up for sale. But not before asking Samuelson if she would like to purchase the store herself.

Samuelson admits it was not an easy decision to make, especially at that age. After much consideration, she decided to take on the responsibility and purchased the business in September 2012.

When thinking about how young she was at the time, she says: "It was extremely hard at the beginning being only 21 years-old. However, since I had worked at the store for 6 years prior and enjoyed what I was doing, it made the decision to buy it much easier."

Upon taking over as the owner, Samuelson changed the business' name to Dakota Food & Fuel and had impressive plans to re-brand the business into something more than a convenience store. This included taking on a large renovation just months after purchasing it.

Dakota Food and Fuel
Google Street View

Samuelson admits that when she took over as owner, one of the most difficult elements was managing employees who were older than she was. But after four and a half years of ownership, Maria, now 26, is a pro at maintaining her flourishing shop.

She says that one of the best aspects of her job is that it's in the friendly community she grew up in: "I love how I know most of the customers and can interact with them on a daily basis. Yet I always enjoy meeting new customers, as well."

Dakota Food & Fuel offers many services, such as: daily lunch specials, video lottery, hunting/fishing licenses, live bait, wide selection off sale liquor, huge beer cave, ethanol, diesel, regular and premium fuel and much more.

In fact, the food happens to be so tasty that local high schoolers will come to Dakota Food & Fuel over their lunch break. Weekly specials are posted on their Facebook page, and the food will not disappoint.

As someone who began visiting the shop as a kid, it is very impressive to see what such a young entrepreneur has accomplished in just a few short years of owning the business. So, whether you live in the area or are just stopping through sometime, check out Dakota Food & Fuel at 201 East 7th St. in Platte, located off SD-44.

Hours are 5:00 AM - 11:00 PM every day of the week.

Dakota Food and Fuel
Dakota Food and Fuel

Source: Maria Samuelson 

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