Created By: Coleman Memorial Museum
121 1st St. N. – Char's Food Pride / Ulmer's Jack and Jill
Ellendale has had numerous food stores over its history, and at times three or more grocers competed for local business. The last remaining grocery store was bought by Char Knight in 1999. Char’s Food Pride continues to serve the community with excellence as an affiliate of Nash Finch.
Ray Ulmer, who bought the Red and White store on Main Street in 1947, became legendary for his economy and dogged competitiveness. In 1958, Nash-Finch retired the Red and White brand and switched to Jack and Jill. Ulmer’s Jack and Jill prospered, and moved to this location—the former home of Zimmerman John Deere--in 1970. The Ulmer family ran the store until 1999. Subsequently Ray Ulmer became known for local philanthropy. The fieldhouse at Trinity Bible College, for example, is named in honor of his generous contributions.
Ellendale merchants often point out the advantages of shopping locally. One of those is that food items in North Dakota are not taxed, a fact that makes Char’s Food Pride a good alternative to driving to Aberdeen to make use of larger stores.
Over 100 years ago, local businesses were well aware of the trends toward mail order shopping (though food was usually not involved at that time). The Leader ran a doggerel poem called “Mister Brown of Shopless Town” that called attention to the concern (see graphic on this app page). The original clipping can be seen here: http://bit.ly/shoplesstown1
This point of interest is part of the tour: Ellendale - Tour of the Core City