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Time capsule: Spring Grove's Royal Blue Store

Published: Sunday, April 27, 2014 5:30 a.m. CDT

While the 1940s fire crew and equipment protecting Spring Grove stands proudly, it is the Royal Blue Store behind the fire crew which is extremely interesting. It served the public from the corner of Main and Blivin streets. Even before 1900, Royal Blue food stores could be found in almost every hamlet across the Midwest. While Royal Blue was a wholesale chain, each store was an individually owned, mom and pop operation. These stores served the needs of local populations very well, providing everything from butcher meats and sausages to canned goods, salt, flour and sugar. Most often near the front of the store, a shelf or two displayed hard and soft candies and bubble gum for children. The floors of the store were wooden and the ornate cash register was silver or bronze and had a bell on the drawer. The owners knew just about everyone in town. As the Atlantic and Pacific Tea, National Tea and Jewel Tea corporations decided in the 1950s to build their own outlets, local groceries tried to hang on. In the end, they could not compete with the volume of sales and related price discounts the big stores offered. They quietly disappeared almost without being missed.

– Compiled by Craig Pfannkuche

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