Commerce will be conducted today at Ted's Grocery in Coon Rapids, but it will anything but business as usual.
Customers will still be able to pick up cereal, diapers and produce. They'll be able to buy the store's signature Freezie pops for just a quarter, trade recipes with neighbors and even bring their pets inside the tiny store that opened more than 60 years ago.
But Millie Buzzelli, the grocery's beloved owner who greeted generations of patrons with her genuine smile, won't be there to ring up the sales.
Friends and customers are invited to the store today to shop and remember Buzzelli, 76, who died Tuesday at Mercy Hospital in Coon Rapids from complications from heart failure.
"We wanted people to be able to come to talk about her and be sad and connect and laugh," said Sue Melody, a customer from Coon Rapids who will step in to help run the store.
A crowd so large that it could barely squeeze inside the sanctuary turned out for services Friday at St. Stephen's Catholic Church in Anoka to pay respects to the woman who knew customers by name and epitomized Matthew 25, the Bible passage read at her funeral.
"She always said that we will be accountable to God," Melody said. "The verse talks about when you feed the poor and thirsty. She lived those words."
Buzzelli never accepted credit cards but often allowed customers who were short on cash to pay later.
"That was a recurring theme," said Buzzelli's daughter, Toni Jett, of Minneapolis. "She loved and trusted everybody in the neighborhood, and they looked after her. The times she did get a bad check, she'd say, 'I guess they needed it more than I did.'"
The store, no bigger than 20 feet wide and 20 feet long, had all the necessities of life and a bit of old-time charm. Buzzelli kept large blocks of cheese in the vintage freezer. When a customer wanted a chunk, she'd slice some off and use a Toledo scale to weigh it, Jett said.
Buzzelli ran the store solo after husband, Ted, died in 1983. Over the years she gave advice to parents, helped children learn to count and prayed for her customers.
"Millie was Ann Landers, Dr. Spock and Julia Child rolled into one," Michelle Filkins said in eulogizing her aunt. "She was an unassuming angel who quietly held together a community with her love, grace and her unwavering commitment and service to others. It's impossible to quantify the impact Millie had."
Friends such as Melody will run the store for now, but it's unclear how long Ted's will remain open. Buzzelli's children, Jett and Ted Jr., of Coon Rapids, are unable to take over operation of the store, at 13120 NW. Crooked Lake Blvd.