BL businesses bring a reason to celebrate for owners, community

Contributed photo
Amanda Poplin and Sara Faaaliga have transformed their friendship into a new business venture in Battle Lake.

By Chad Koenen


Friendships can begin in some of the most unique ways. There are chance encounters on street corners, parents who have been pushed together due to their children being in the same activities, attending school together, life changing moments, and in the case of two local residents, a fondness of Herbalife drinks.

What began as a search for a healthy nutritional option has evolved into a lasting friendship that now encompass the Lakes Professional Building in Battle Lake. 

Amanda Poplin was looking for a healthy nutritional smoothie when she came across Herbalife. She fell in love with the variety of options for the product and has been selling Herbalife teas, shakes, protein drinks and more for the past six years. 

“I was looking for something that would make me feel better and lose weight for my wedding,” she said of her new business Lakes Country on Main. 

Poplin lost approximately 65 lbs. thanks to the nutritional drinks she now sells at the Lakes Professional Building in Battle Lake. She has been at that location since September of 2021. 

Originally a school teacher at the Bertha-Hewitt School District, Poplin would frequently stop by Battle Lake as a tourist, especially in the summer months.

“I enjoy it here. I came here as a tourist and said if I ever open a club it would be in this town,” she said.

One of her most frequent customers was Sara Faaaliga, who now operates two businesses out of the same Lakes Professional Building in Battle Lake. 

“Just a customer who became a friend,” joked Faaaliga.

When space in the office building recently became available, Faaaliga moved her photography studio into the building and also began a custom t-shirt shop right around the corner.

“We always went to Duluth and thought wouldn’t it be fun if Battle Lake had a t-shirt shop,” said Faaaliga. 

With unique lockers encompassing one wall of the new Lakes Lockeroom, Faaaliga went to work to create sample shirts and designs for people visiting and living in the greater Battle Lake area. There are custom shirt designs for athletic teams, school functions, community activities and family gatherings. Faaaliga can create a shirt for just about any occasion and hopes to provide a unique way for people to memorialize important life activities with a custom shirt.

“It’s just that personalized t-shirt shop,” she said. 

In addition to the t-shirt shop, Faaaliga has moved her photography business into the Lakes Professional Building. While she has been taking pictures for the past 10-15 years, Faaaliga has really gotten serious about the business venture over the past three years or so. She said she takes all kinds of pictures from weddings to baby pictures and more, but her favorite pictures are senior and family pictures.

“They are my favorite to do because you get to spend that one-on-one time with them and get to know their personality,” she said.

In addition to her studio in Battle Lake, Faaaliga is willing to meet customers on location at their favorite spots for outdoor photo sessions as well. 

While the two businesswomen operate their stores in Battle Lake, both are willing to travel to meet new and existing customers.

In addition to selling Herbalife products in her store in Battle Lake, Poplin has a delivery option for customers as well. She delivers to places like Henning on set days every week as she tries to help individuals life a healthier life through nutritional drinks.

“As a teacher I wish someone would have had this for me,” she said.

Individuals can go to her website at www. to order products to be delivered each week. Lakes Country on Main is open from 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. For more information, contact (218) 282-1680.

Lakes Lockeroom and Sara Faaaliga Photography do not necessarily have set hours at this time, but appointments can be made by calling the same number as Lakes Country on Main or by visiting them on Instagram or Facebook.