SAUK RAPIDS -- It was 100 years ago that Chester Coborn started selling produce in a little store on Benton Drive and began what we now know as Coborn's Incorporated.

Vice President of Marketing Dennis Host says the original location was just down the street from where it is today, but the store was actually in several locations in downtown Sauk Rapids during the early years.

So it started in 1921 down on Benton Drive, then they moved in 1925 and again in 1930 as it got bigger.  Then the original larger store on the corner of Benton Drive, which is today's parking lot that was built in 1974 and they moved into the current Marketplace building in 1993.

Coborn's had just the one Sauk Rapids location all the way up until 1963 when they opened their second store in Foley. That same year they also opened their third location on Fifth Avenue in St. Cloud.

Submitted photo

It was in the 1970s when they really took off starting with the acquisition of Chet's Town and Country in Willmar in 1972, which they changed the name to Cashwise in 1979.

1974 was the Cenntenial Avenue location in St. Cloud, and in 1977 was the Little Falls location.  The original Riverside location in Sartell, which is still there, in 1978 and then the old location in Clearwater was in 1979.  Through the 1980s and 90s it really started to pick up.

And the company continues to grow, they just announced plans to build a new store in Buffalo which will be their 60th grocery store and 29th Coborn's store.

Submitted photo

Today the fifth generation of the Coborn family is helping to run the business.  The Coborn family still owns the majority shares, but employees that have been there three years or longer can have a vested ownership stake in the company.

Coborn's Incorporated has over 9,400 employees. Today there are 29 Coborn's stores in four states and the company owns 130 total business units.

Host says Coborn's has several events planned to celebrate the centennial including a four-week kick-off sale, a customer appreciation and an employee appreciation, and they are sponsoring a night at Summertime By George as well as a night at Rock The Riverside in Sauk Rapids.

Most recent store in Otsego, submitted photo
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