The Stillwater business community is coming together to support downtown business owners whose son died over the weekend.
National Guard member Joel Costa, 32, was found dead with his car on a rural road north of Duluth the evening of Feb. 12, according to media reports. He was reportedly last seen on Feb. 10. His death is under investigation, but police don’t suspect foul play.
Costa’s mother and stepfather, Kelly and John Daly, own Gammy & Gumpy’s, a toy store and indoor play area on Stillwater’s Main Street. John Daly, former manager of the Freight House restaurant, is a longtime member of the city’s business community.
Several organizations — including the Main Street Stillwater Independent Business Alliance (IBA), the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce and the local convention and visitors bureau — are asking the public to purchase toys from Gammy & Gumpy’s and donate them to Minnesota National Guard families in Joel Costa’s honor.
“We’re asking anyone in the public and the locals here to go into Gammy & Gumpy’s and purchase a toy, and then there’s a donation bin there to go ahead and donate it, so we can help their business continue to stay open during this tragedy time,” said Robin Anthony, executive director of the chamber of commerce.
Aimee Pelletier, an IBA board member and owner of Darn Knit Anyway, said the idea came about when a few of her organization’s members were talking about how best to support the Dalys. They decided to “fill the register,” so the Dalys could more easily focus on family.
“It just snowballed,” Pelletier said. “People started talking about it and sharing.”
She said it’s a concrete way community members can help in the midst of tragedy, and the response has been positive.
“Certainly people want to do whatever they can,” Pelletier said.
Gammy & Gumpy’s is at 122 Main St. S., Stillwater. The business can also process orders over the phone at 651-342-0144.
Learn more about the toy drive here.