By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Bergan’s SuperValu, one of the few remaining family-run grocery stores in the Twin Cities, will soon close its doors.

“We heard rumors that things were going to change on the corner, as a neighborhood we were hoping that that was not true,” customer Mary Broman said.

For more than 60 years it was the Cheers of grocery stores in South Minneapolis. A place where employees knew the names of their customers, and vice versa.

“You get to know everybody. You know their kids. Their kids even come and work for us eventually,” store manager Russell Smith said.

Bergan’s Super Valu began as a Red Owl in 1955. The Bergan family bought the store in 1985. They’ve been known for their service. When elderly customers could no longer make it to the store, they delivered to them. They hired people with special needs and donated to a local food shelf. But in recent years they became a small grocer in a big industry. Corporations and home delivery services made their presence felt.

“The writing has been on the wall. It’s just been slower. We haven’t had as many people coming through,” Russell said.

Bergan’s last day will be December 10th, and between then and now it’s more about seeing people that weren’t just long-time customers, but also long-time friends.

That includes 95-year-old Dorothy Swenson who remembers when the store was a Red Owl.

“It’s just a shame, really. I feel really bad. I’ve cried many times,” Swenson said.

For long-time employee Melissa Flores it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly she’ll miss the most.

“Probably the employees. The customers. The flexibility. I guess everything,” Flores said.

“It’s been a great run. I appreciate our loyal customers. And I thank them for keeping us here this long,” Smith said. “We are very grateful for this neighborhood.”

Through Tuesday, everything in the store is 50-percent off.

A Lund’s will be built at the same location along with apartments.

There’s a good chance some Bergan’s workers could be hired by Lund’s.

John Lauritsen

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