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Stewart Red Owl Restoration

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Bill Sunde in his Red Owl around 1939

In 1939 Bill Sunde was on his way to Atwater Minnesota to open his very own grocery store when his car broke down in the little town of Stewart. While his car was being repaired he walked around town to pass the time and saw a little building that was available for rent. He quickly decided that this was the perfect spot for his new store and on October 6th 1939 his Red Owl Agency Store opened for business.

Over the next 40 years Bill was a pillar of the community. He moved to town, married a local gal, raised a family, served on the fire department and other organizations. Bill passed away in 1978 just short of his stores 40th anniversary

In March of 1979 Bill's wife Darothe sold his store to Larry and Virgene Roepke and for another 22 years Larry's Red Owl became the local gathering place in town.  Until it closed in 2002 as one of the last Red Owl Grocery Stores in existence.  

The Stewart Area Historical Society (A 501c3 non profit) was formed in 2013 to acquire the building after its abandonment.  Sadly years of abandonment have taken a toll on the building and the building has many issues to overcome the most pressing being replacement of the roof.  Quotes to have it replaced have come in at approximately 16 thousand dollars.  As of right now through fundraising we have raised  
about $5,000 towards our goal from people who live or grew up in Stewart and from fans and former employees of the Red Owl Grocery Chain.

Years of being abandoned have left the roof in need of total replacement.

 Your donation go towards helping us restore the Red Owl for use as a museum for our growing collection of Red Owl and Stewart artifacts and space for a community center to once again make the historic building the focal point of our community. 

Help Support Us By Getting Your Very Own Red Owl Shirt and Hoodie at: 

Thank you for helping us out with our dream!


Jim Pessek
Stewart, MN

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