Neighbors: Fargo grocery stores back in the day spark memories

Fred Quam writes that stories about old grocery stores in Fargo that have appeared in this column struck a spark for him."I was a northsider," Fred, of Fargo, writes, "and I remember the Roosevelt store on the corner of 11th Avenue and 11th Stree...

Bob Lind, Neighbors columnist
Bob Lind, Neighbors columnist

Fred Quam writes that stories about old grocery stores in Fargo that have appeared in this column struck a spark for him.

"I was a northsider," Fred, of Fargo, writes, "and I remember the Roosevelt store on the corner of 11th Avenue and 11th Street North.

"Also, there was Tideman's Grocery, and across the street from them was Temple's Grocery; both were on North University close to 12th Avenue North. Also there was Lubenow's store in the 800 block on University.

"There also were stores in the 1000 block on 10th Avenue North and one on the corner of 12th Street and 8th Avenue North, and also one on 8th Street and 12th Avenue North. I do not recall the names of those stores, as this was a long time ago."

Fred adds that he is "doing well" at his advanced age, which is good news.


He turned 100 last October.

More store memories

Karen Selberg-Lavelle, of south Fargo, also chimes in on old grocery stores in Fargo she remembers.

There was the Red Owl on 17th Avenue South and University Drive, across the street from what was Dakota Clinic and Hospital and now is a parking lot for the Essentia Clinic.

"Piggly Wiggly was on North University and 7th Avenue North; that now is a Family Fare," she says, adding that at those stores, "You received S&H Green Stamps with each purchase based on your total amount spent. The redemption center, I think, was what is now the ARC store across the street on the south side of Woodrow Wilson school.

"Then there was Herb's Grocery Store on North Broadway. There was a major name gas station on the corner. Herb's was about where the driveway into the north side parking area for Sanford is now. I think about that every time I turn in there. That was where we got most of our groceries. My mom would send me there with a list of groceries that would fill two paper bags. They became quite heavy as I trucked the three blocks home. I always wished we had had a Radion Flyer wagon to get those groceries!

"I also recall a grocery store on 8th Street just south of 12th avenue North," Karen writes. "Mr. Macey owned the store (I'm not sure how he spelled his name). I do not recall the name of his store. That was the place to stop on the way home from Ben Franklin school, Shanley or even Roosevelt. The owner was a short, stout Frenchman with black hair and a mustache. He was a very nice man who ran the store with his wife.

"And there was the one I would stop at when I went to Roosevelt, Ben Franklin and North High. I do not recall the name, but it was another locally owned store located on 10th Street just north of 7th avenue North. This was back when postcards cost three cents to mail. They had a variety of penny candies to choose from, too. An apartment building is there now.


"Finally, there was one that I remember as having very dusty counters. It was Macey's, run by an older gentleman who shuffled through the doorway of the back room to assist you with the candy jars. That is where I bought my first Nut Goodie candy bar. This was located on 10th Avenue North in the middle of the block between 7th and 8th Streets.

"Wow! What a trip down memory lane," she concludes.

Karen lived in Horace, N.D., for 20 years before coming to Fargo. She says she enjoys watching Fargo grow.

"My father, Norm Selberg, used to say, 'Don't tell everyone how nice it is here, or they will all want to move here,'" she says. "But someone must have let the cat out of the bag, because now we have more than two exits off I-29, more schools than I can keep track of and so many apartments for people to pick from."

Plus, she adds, "There are so many transplants, their own ethnic grocery stores are popping up around this part of town; just like all the neighborhood stores in days gone by."

Good old prices

And winding up this trip down Memory Lane, here's this item which was good not just for Fargo, but for the entire nation.

It's a piece out of a magazine clipped and sent in by Allen Rudel, West Fargo, which, he says, refers to "what really were the good old days:"


The article reads, "Americans who were fortunate enough to find themselves employed in 1930 earned an average annual income of $1,970, while the basic materials to build a four-bedroom Vallonia Craftsman house from the Sears-Roebuck catalog cost $2,537.

"A Pontiac Big Six sold for $745 and a gallon of gas cost 10 cents. A Magic Chef gasoline cooker could be purchased for $195, while a pound of hamburger meat was 13 cents and a loaf of bread cost nine cents."

And, neighbors, you no doubt could have got those food items at your friendly neighborhood store in Fargo or anywhere.

If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107, fax it to 241-5487 or email .

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