Frozen in Time: First Coborn’s Store in Sauk Rapids [VIDEO]
SAUK RAPIDS - What started off as a small feed store in Sauk Rapids in the 1800’s has morphed into a grocery staple in Central Minnesota and beyond.
Coborn’s has had a presence in Sauk Rapids for well over 100 years, the store started when Chester Coborn opened a Feed Store in 1884. Coborn's communications director Rebecca Kurowski says the Coborn family settled in the Sauk Rapids in the mid-1800's.
"The Coborn family had actually come to Sauk Rapids in the 1850's and then they had opened a feed store as their initial store in 1881," Kurowski says.
In 1921 the first Coborn’s grocery store opened at the landmark bell building in Sauk Rapids. The store you see today is actually the third in the area, but the company never strayed too far from its original location.
"This is actually our third building that we've had here but we've been within a block of each other for all the builds," Kurowski says.
Coborn’s quickly became known in the area for their innovation. The store added shopping carts and checkout lanes in the 1940’s and became the first grocery store to use scanning at its check-outs in 1972.
"The way that people shop changes all the time and this is a company that adapts to customer needs, we constantly have change in the company," Kurowski says.
In 1993, the Sauk Rapids location was turned into the first Coborn’s Superstore. The store format soon became the company’s new universal store model.
Coborn’s also prides itself with it’s continued family directors. The store is now in its fifth generation of family leadership with Chris Coborn being the current CEO.
"It's really neat to see how well they get along, they're full of great ideas and together it's just sparks," Kurowski says.
Coborn's Incorporated now owns 39 Coborn's and Cash Wise Foods grocery stores in the upper Midwest. Coborn's recently expanded in North Dakota, opening several stores and Cash Wise locations.
-Historical photos courtesy of Coborn's and their new book "Behind the Store Shelves"-