County Line gas station west of Minocqua on 70 is kind of surprising to me. Quite a bit of tackle for a gas station, even will have ice drills and shacks. Often I went there and they had things marked down to get rid of them and the prices were better than I could find online. Even regular priced tackle was not bad at all. Usually when I'm up north I assume buying local will mean higher prices, but not in this case from my experience anyways. If you get the right person working there, you get plenty of minnows too. Did have them count bigger shiners but even then they throw in a few extra typically.
Most of the Minocqua bait shops are getting to be counters so I avoid them. I get that minnows are more expensive now, but they buy them by the pound, not by minnow count. There was a place in Door County that sold minnows by the pound, I honestly thought that was better than the 'per dozen or scoop' approach. Easier to figure out their profit too I'm sure. Wish more did that. You would just ask for a 1/4 pound of fatheads, etc. They just put a bucket of water on a scale and zeroed it, then added minnows until they got to the right weight.
Case in point, last winter the 'large' shiners were the size of mediums at best. So you paid the large price, for smaller minnows. I think that was a supply issue as I saw that at multiple shops.