Memories of businesses that have come and gone
Glimpses of Yesteryear
Wednesday, October 14, 2009 9:54 AM
Where today we find the Subway sandwich shop and All-in-One Video-Tanning, there once stood the imposing home of B.W. Huntley, local druggist from l880 to l934. In April l966, this house where Don and Muriel Cummings lived for so many years was bought and moved to its new location on Tracy Road and converted to an apartment house. The site was then bustling with activity, and in November of that year, the Spring Valley Tribune carried a full-page ad on the grand opening of the Greenway Co-op at that spot.
The Greenway Co-op on North Broadway and Highway 63 at the time of the second ‘open house’ in May l97l.
Wilhelm and Bernice Ostern had moved to Spring Valley from Spring Grove in l965 and Greenway tapped Bill as the first manager. The co-op boasted not only gas pumps but also two tank wagons, driven by Bob Bushman and Paul Hagan, ready to serve customers. A free trailer dump station was available as well. It was a convenience store with many amenities and new customers could register for dozens of free prizes. Local contractors who offered congratulations included Kappers Construction, Larry's Plumbing & Heating and Koebke ReadyMix. Ostern went on to own and operate other service stations in town until he was chosen as transportation director for the school district. When Dave King, bus operator, retired, the school went into the business of busing students. Ostern was transportation director until he retired in l986. He is well remembered as active in offices at Our Savior's Lutheran Church and as a member of the Root River Revelers men's chorus.
The accompanying photo was taken in l97l when the co-op held an open house, with prizes galore, to show off improvements and to introduce the new managers, Pat Manning and Tom Minnich. Does the sign in the window suggest that gas was 29.9 cents a gallon?
At the time of the photo, what else was going on in town according to the Tribune? Maple Lane, a new street in the northeast part of town, opened with new signage. C.A. Landgrebe was hired as new high school principal when Nord Osland resigned. John Moberg was new at Osterud Agency, Inc. and the Rev. Virgil Fitch at First Baptist Church had resigned to move to Sleepy Eye. Ed Buss was pictured with a 2 pound, 12 ounce, trout caught on a fishing trip with buddy Larry Blood to Forestville. Conrad Knutson, park groundskeeper, reported that picnic tables and new barbecue grills were ready for the summer season. Spring Valley's police department reorganized with new work hours and new uniforms for the staff: Ralph Sveska, police chief; Norm Olson, commissioner, and Dwight Horsman, Martin Norman and Lawrence Bowlin.
Marilyn Maloney was writing "Teen Scenes" with school news for the Tribune. According to Senior Citizens' reporter Luella Schunke, the group went on a bus trip to Apache Mall to see an Arts and Crafts Show. Mayor Al Miller was pictured buying poppies from veterans' auxiliary leaders Mrs. Willard Jahn and Mrs. Anton Lorius. (Note the style at that time of using her husband's name rather than the lady's first name.)
Diane Michener, member of Empire Builders 4-H Club won an all-expense airline trip to Washington, D.C. Ruan Transport presented accident-free driving awards to 29 drivers. Top awards went to Don Larson, l9 years; Milford Thompson and Glenn Winslow, l8; Les Hyland and Curt Simonson, l7; Don Kimball and Don Hoff, l4; George Wagner, l2; and Roy Schwartz, Don Reiland and Charles Toft, ll.
Sixth grade students of Mrs. Walter Blakeslee, Mrs. Charles Reps and Miss Mabel Wilke compiled a "museum" at school of artifacts from their homes. They collected $25.50 to present to the local historical society's fund drive for a new location on South Washington. Three students, Charles Foster, Barbara Knox, and Sharon McGill, were selected to ride in George Simpson's antique auto to the Standard Oil Terminal where society secretary Mrs. Gordon Dathe worked, to present their gift. (Again using the style of the day, Mary Jo was listed as Mrs. Gordon Dathe.)
Back to the Greenway Co-op site. Harold and Shirley Rolli bought the building in the spring of l980 and on July 24 to 26, held a big open house for their new AG Motor Mart. They carried a full grocery line from Associated Grocers, plus gasoline, hot foods to go, auto supplies, tobacco, cold pop, beer, fruits and vegetables. The open house promised many free prizes, coffee and cookies. I found a note that indicated Gary Johnson purchased the motor mart in December l990 and in l997 it closed. Perhaps that is when it became a Subway franchise.
A few of the ads in the same issue included these: Gary and Carron Ruesink at Northwest Aluminum expanded their business and had sales on everything from appliances to carpets to steel siding. Spring Valley Bakery sold two loaves of bread for 55 cents and donuts were 35 cents a dozen. Buster's AG FoodMart had extra-lean spareribs at 49 cents a pound and we could cook them on a new $l.79 barbecue grill from the Ben Franklin store. Peterson Drug was selling the new Ayds reducing plan candy for those trying to lose weight. Those sub sandwiches were really good!
Yes, the face of Spring Valley changes all the time, and it is amazing the variety of businesses we have had. There are good memories of all those fine businessmen and women.