History of Rod's

Rod's Country Corner - Bustling Since 1890

Reprinted from the North Branch ECM Post/Review, June 25, 1987 issue, article by Twyla Ring

ALMELUND - The corner location in Almelund has been busy since school bells first rang there in 1890. Carpenter Gust Shoberg built the school and classes were held at that location until 1916 when the building was moved to its present location. Shoberg's building has seen nearly a century ofuse as it is the front of the present Amador Town Hall, the oldest building in Almelund. In 1910 a new brick two-room school was built - the site of the present Amador Heritage Center. The children marched hand-in-hand to the new school on the hill.

The corner store was built on the old school yard site shortly after the school moved. The interior still features the wood floors of yesteryear and the beautiful tin so popular at the time. It was just a general store offering just about anything that the residents of the farming community needed.

The store's present owner and operator Rod was born to Mr. & Mrs. Conrad Johnson in the living quarters above the store. The elder Johnson purchased the store from Walfred and Anfred Abrahamson and sold it in 1936 to Arnie Sellman.

Harvey Petersen purchased the store from the Sellmans in 1945 an operated it for 26 years. Conrad Johnson's son Rod bought the store in 1971 and he and his wife Lois have operated it ever since - while living in upstairs quarters. Rod also is employed by E.F. Hals Sons in Forest Lake.

"There are 22 steps to get downstairs," Lois laughs. "I can't tell you how many times I've counted them."

Mrs. Arnie Sellman recalls "the good old days," featuring nothing but ice for cooling, ration stamps and tokens to aid the war effort and a few packaged products with most products arriving in bulk to be packaged in the store.

Arnie Sellman was also the postmaster fro 29 years and to this day a community post office is operated out of the store. There is no postmaster now, but contracted services such as postal boxes are available.

At one time all the meat was fresh and cut on the spot. Now, however, the store operates more like a modern "convenience" store with frozen products were only fresh used to be. Where once cream separators were purchased by local farmers, now their off-spring rent video taped movies to be played on high tech cassette players in their living rooms.

Not only was the store the hub of activity for the obvious reasons of needing supplies or using the postal services, but it housed doctor's offices upstairs at one time and also housed some hot political discussions as C. Elmer Johnson was the local legislator at the capitol in St. Paul from 1932-1962.

Lois notes that the store is still a gathering place for residents and for tourists who visit the nearby Wild Mountain Resort Area and Wild River State Park. Just recently a group of people from Sweden stopped at the store on a tour bus. Luckily, the interior is be-decked in blue and yellow, the colors of the Fatherland.

The Almelund Mercantile has a new look beginning in 2006!

The Almelund Mercantile in the old days of the 1930's!



Rod's Country Corner, now owned by Rod & Lois' son Mark and his wife Diane made a move to a new location on the corner of Chisago County Road 12 & MN State Hwy 95 in October 2004. This has provided a much needed gas and convenience grocery store in the Almelund community.

The offer a great snack bar with hand dipped ice cream in 8 flavors, and are making homemade pizza & fresh sub and wrap sandwiches to order and take out! They are still making Rod's World Famous Swedish Sausage year around, too!

Mark & Diane and family are working hard to bring what you need right to our own community! Mark calls Almelund the busiest small town in Minnesota, and Rod's in at the center of it all!