Memories of businesses that have come and gone

By : 
Mary Jo Dathe
Glimpses of Yesteryear

Where the Subway sandwich shop now stands, was once the imposing home of B.W. Huntley, local druggist from 1880 to 1934.  In April of 1966, this house was where Don and Muriel Cummings lived for many years.  He was the postmaster at the post office you saw in last week's column.  The house was eventually moved to its new location at the corner of Tracy Road and North Park Drive and converted to an apartment house.

The site was then bustling with activity and in November of that year the Tribune carried a full-page ad on the grand opening at the Greenway Co-op at that spot.  Wilhelm and Bernice Ostern had moved to Spring Valley from Spring Grove in 1965 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.  It was a convenience store with many amenities and new customers could register for dozens of free prizes.  Local contractors who offered congratulations included Larry's Plumbing & Heating, Kappers Construction, and Koebke Ready Mix.  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 director until he retired in 1986.  He is well remembered as a member of the Root River Revelers men's chorus and active in offices at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church.

The accompanying photo was taken in 1971 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.  You note the price in the windows 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?  C.A. Landgrebe was hired as the new high school principal when Nord Osland resigned.  Maple Lane, a new street in the north side of town, opened with new signage.  John Moberg was new at Osterud Agency, Inc., and the Rev. Virgil Fitch at First Baptist Church resigned to move to Sleepy Eye.  Ed Buss was pictured with a 2 pound, 12 ounce trout caught on a fishing trip to Forestville with buddy Larry Blood.  Conrad Knutson, park groundskeeper, reported that new picnic tables and 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 was police chief; Norm Olson, commissioner; and on duty Dwight Horsman, Martin Norman and Lawrence Bowlin.  Marilyn Maloney was writing "Teen Scenes" with school news for the Tribune.  According to senior citizen's 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 the time of using the husband's name rather than the ladies' first name.)

Diane Michener, member of the 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, 19 years; Milford Thompson and Glenn Winslow, 18; Les Hyland and Curt Simonson, 17; Don Kimball and Don Hoff, 14; George Wagner, 12; and Roy Schwartz, Don Reiland and Charles Toft, 11 years.

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 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 automobile to the Standard Oil terminal where society secretary Mrs. Gordon Dathe worked, to present their gift. 

Back to the Greenway Co-op site. Harold and Shirley Rolli bought the building in the spring of 1980, and on July 24 to 26 held an open house for their new AG Motor Mart.  They carried a full grocery line from Associated Grocers, plus gasoline, auto supplies, tobacco, hot foods to go, Coke, pop, beer, fruits and vegetables.  The open house promised many free prizes, coffee and cookies.  We found a note that Gary Johnson purchased the motor mart in December 1990, and in 1997 it closed.  Perhaps that is when it became a Subway franchise.

A few ads in the same issue: Gary and Carron Ruesink at Northwest Aluminum expanded their business to include appliances, carpets and steel siding. Spring Valley Bakery sold two loaves of bread for 55 cents and donuts were 35 cents a dozen.  Buster's AG Motormart had extra-lean spare ribs at 49 cents a pound. 

Yes, the face of Spring Valley changes all the time!  We are most appreciative of the businesses, and there are good memories of those fine business men and women.