Whatever Happened To Red Owl?
As I remember it, every town had one. Now, of course, every town didn't have one. But to a ten-year-old kid, it sure seemed like it.
A Red Owl grocery store.
Now this was, uh, a few years (decades) before the advent of the 'Super Store' or the 'Super Center'. From the little farm I grew up on in southwest Minnesota, there were Red Owls all over, or at least so it seemed. Was there one in Pipestone? Luverne? Worthington? Slayton? Well, I'm not sure exactly, but I do remember this:
We would either grocery shop in a Piggly Wiggly or a Red Owl... somewhere. So, in a ten-year-old's eyes, Red Owl was everywhere.
And now it seems like they're nowhere. I mean, I don't think I've seen a Red Owl for years and years and years. Have they been consigned to the dusty history bin of yesteryear?
Well, apparently, not exactly.
Come to find out, Red owl began in the 1920's as a...coal store! (Hmm, not many of them around anymore either I suppose).
With the opening of the first store in Rochester, Minnesota, they eventually popped up throughout the upper Midwest (See, I told you they were everywhere!). There were over 400 stores at one time.
Well, without getting too boring (is it too late for that?), the stores were eventually bought out and the Red Owl name was phased out.
But, but, but...
According to Wikipedia there are still a few Red Owl's spread around. They also said there was a Red Owl in Waubay, South Dakota for over 60 years until it became an independent store in 2003.
But the memories are still there for me. Mom letting me pick out a favorite breakfast cereal (or the variety pack, that was the best) and maybe a candy bar at the checkout counter.