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Sara Remmel, left, and Staci Anderson stand in the bowling alley lanes of their business, the "I Don't Know" in Atwater. The two sisters purchased the business earlier this month. It had been called Gieser's Sports Bar and Lanes. Tribune photo by Carolyn Lange

Now 'I Don't Know' can be destination, not predicament

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business Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
(320) 235-6769 customer support
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

ATWATER -- IDK is the texting shorthand for I Don't Know.

Now it's also a destination.

Earlier this month, two sisters purchased the bowling alley combination bar, grill, pool hall and outdoor volleyball court in Atwater.

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They've renamed the establishment "I Don't Know."

IDK for short.

"It's for people who can't make up their mind where to go," said co-owner Sara Remmel.

You know, when there's a group of people and someone asks, "Where should we eat" or "Where should we go?" and the unanimous answer is "I don't know."

Remmel and her sister, Staci Anderson, hope that when the answer is "I don't know," that people will come for a burger and bowl a few lanes at their business, the "I Don't Know" in Atwater.

"I just think it's fun," said Remmel.

Remmel, 27, and Anderson, 22, worked at the bowling alley, previously called Gieser's Sports Bar and Lanes after owner Toby Giese, for five or six years as waitresses and cooks.

When Giese started talking about selling the business last year, the two sisters started chewing on the idea of buying it.

"It was our opportunity to take it or leave it," said Anderson. "We knew what we were getting into."

The two took the business over Feb. 1.

Then came the hard part -- naming the business.

One idea was to call it "The Girls," but the men's pool league that the business sponsors objected to wearing shirts with that name on it.

It was while on a trip to St. Cloud with their husbands to meet friends that Remmel and Anderson picked the name.

The decision came in the usual way.

The group was discussing where they should eat and where they should go when they got to St. Cloud. The answer, repeated multiple times, was, "I don't know."

It was actually Sara's husband, Devon, who made the bold suggestion that since that seemed to be such a popular thing to say, that the sisters should give that name to their new business.

It's been a bit tricky these first couple weeks.

When friends or family have asked what the new name is, Anderson and Remmel respond, "I Don't Know."

The typical follow-up question, said Anderson, is, "Oh, you don't have a name yet. When are you going to know?"

To avoid people hanging up, the sisters don't answer the phone by saying "I Don't Know." Instead they say IDK.

Concerned that having customers write "I Don't Know" on checks could cause problems, they also encourage checks written out to IDK.

The two young women, who are graduates of the Atwater-Cosmos-Grove City School District, hope that the frequency of IDK being used in text messages with also bring a younger crowd to the business.

And when they get there and are having an extra difficult time making up their mind about what to eat, the I Don't Know has a specialty sandwich on the menu. It's called the "Whatever Burger."

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Carolyn Lange
A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers county government and regional news with the West Central Tribune.
(320) 894-9750
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