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The Trading Store - Seven Persons

Seven Persons - Once Hundred Sixty Acres and a Dream

Chapter 12

Again, a group of interested citizens formed a corporation and rebuilt and restocked the new Seven Persons Trading Store, on the former site. Managers were H. Hewitt, Gust McMillan, Annie Carlson and Bertha Carlson. In 1927, Bertha (Carlson) Holmberg bought all interests in the business and operated them until 1947.

This store was constructed as two departments, one for the sale of groceries and staples, the other for the sale of hardware, with storage spaces at the back and in the basement. It was a brick structure, with big show windows along the south side. The high ceilings and the walls were covered with white embossed tin, the floors were oiled wood. There was a bell to signal the opening of the door.

Buying groceries from this store was typical of the times. One gave the order, or, read a written list, while the clerk copied it down in her order book, collected the items, bagged them and packed them in a box, added the prices and took the money. Quite frequently the customer said, "Charge it", and where credit was allowed, she did.

Shelves along the walls and long counters about the store, displayed the commodities offered for sale. Numerous foods were sold from bulk quantities, kept in glass-backed drawers in the counter, so they could be seen by the customer at the front, and taken out at the back by the clerk. Brown paper bags were used to carry these items. Such foods, so sold, were: coffee beans, brown sugar, icing sugar, beans, split peas, macaroni, candy, nuts, peanuts, coconut, popcorn, raisins, currants, prunes, rice and tapioca.

There was a large coffee grinder, which the clerk turned to grind the coffee beans. The rich aroma of coffee filled the room when this was done. A large screened box held possibly fifteen inches in diameter, eight inches deep Cheddar cheese rounds, from which triangular slices were cut with a centrally-attached knife. Tea came in lead-lined pound packages. Cocoa, baking powder, lard and syrup were sold in tins, while flour, oatmeal, wheatlets, sugar and whole wheat flour were contained in cotton bags, Many uses were made of these cans and bags when they were empty.

Coal oil which was used for lamps and small stoves, was purchased and put in the customer's spouted can. Should the spout cap be mislaid a small potato served as a stopper.

Other items sold were: apples, oranges, bananas, scribblers, writing pads, pencils, pen nibs, ink, cough medicine, vaseline, Mentholatum, Dodd's Kidney Pills, castor oil, Epsom salts, dishes, pails, gloves, mitts, cloth, underwear, overalls, caps, boots, shoes, blocks of cattle salt, tobacco, horse collars, harnesses, bolts, nails and ropes.

With the ensuing years business dwindled. Bertha (Carlson) Holmberg sold the store in 1947. Other private owners of this store have been: Arthur and Doris Moore, Del Thompson and Roland Konrad, Gordon and Audrey Ismond and Bill Anderson, Allan Fretts, Bill and Esther Klug, Bill and Adeline Gill, and Alois and Elizabeth Gechter. The building still stands but is not used as a retail outlet any more.

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Mary Tollestrup