Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Red Owl in MN

I sell a photo of an old Red Owl spice tin I have. Many people have asked me if there are any Red Owl stores still around. I found online that they were bought out by SuperValu. And I assumed that all of the Red Owl stores are gone.

I'm driving around southern MN and I get the urge to head to Le Roy MN. It looks like it might be out of the way, but I go. I pull into town and I see the Red Owl store. The sign looks good - almost new. Could it be real?

Brownlow's Red Owl, LeRoy, MN

Apprehensively, I go in to the grocery store and see that the aisle signs are marked Brownlow's Red Owl.

Red Owl aisle sign, Brownlow's Red Owl, LeRoy, MN

I ask a clerk, (who is actually Kay the manager) is this a real Red Owl store? I expect the answer to be no but it is a real Red Owl. Kay shows me around the store and introduces me to her dad, Bob Brownlow, the owner. Her daughter is there. She shows me all the Red Owl products, signs, logos that she's collected over the years.

Red Owl ad and more, Brownlow's Red Owl, LeRoy, MN

I ask her how it worked since SuperValu owned Red Owl. She told me that they had actually taken down the sign worried that SuperValu would disapprove of them using it. They worked out a deal with SuperValu that lets them be a real Red Owl. In fact, if you call SuperValu asking where to find old Red Owl memorabilia - they'll direct you to Kay. In fact, if you've got any Red Owl branded items, send them to Brownlow's so they can add them their collection. Watch for the movie coming out, "A Serious Man," by the Cohen Brothers. One of the characters works in a Red Owl and many of Kay's items are in the film

Red Owl logo 1945, Brownlow's Red Owl, LeRoy, MN

You could spend hours there looking at how the logo changed, that Red Owl's Jello was just called Jel and the big watchful eyes of the owl back in the meat department.

Red Owl products, Brownlow's Red Owl, LeRoy, MN

Red Owl products, Brownlow's Red Owl, LeRoy, MN

I got a Brownlow's Red Owl t-shirt and I was proudly wearing it around. I was asked again if there are still Red Owl stores and instead of shrugging my shoulders, I told them to head south on Hwy 63 to Le Roy, MN and see one of the only two actual Red Owl stores still around. When you're there you can get your own t-shirt plus many other items with the Red Owl logo. You could even do your grocery shopping (they are a real grocery store) or just get a few things for a picnic.

They are up to date and have both a web site and they are on Facebook.


Mr. B said...

Good post, glad to see Red Owl has more fans then me, Nice to know one is still operating today in Minnesota. You can also buy a generic Red Owl Logo T Shirt at the Electric Fetus which I currently own and proudly wear also. Nice memory here of something just as rare as the old Ben Franklin Craft stores.

Norbert said...

Hear is another Red Owl link you might be interested in, it is a scrapbook we all put together. enjoy.
You do not have to download it you can click on full screen and page through for easy viewing, very retro.


NostalgiApparel said...

Love nostalgia! I too am amazed at the memories the Red Owl head invokes. So many people have shopped or worked in them and associate fond memories of a 'time gone by.'

The Electric Fetus t-shirt is not actually the 'true' Red Owl logo. It's been slightly altered to avoide trademark infringement. There is a site below where you can get licensed Red Owl shirts and hats in a variety of styles. Very cool and guaranteed to spark conversation!