Drive through the Grandview area of Edina and you'll see Jerry's Hardware, Jerry's Printing and Jerry's Foods. Owner Jerry Paulsen, who began his career behind the counter as a butcher, ended up as one of the largest employers in Edina. Beyond the businesses that bore his name, he also owned Cub Foods on France Avenue, and at one time, a women's clothing store.
And that's just in Edina. His "Jerry's Enterprises" now encompasses 37 stores including Cub, County Markets, Save-a-Lot, and Jerry's Foods, as well as various other commercial and real estate interests that include a Jerry's Foods on Sanibel Island, FL.
The man behind the name died April 5 at age 89. His funeral is April 10. For a complete obituary, see the Star Tribune.
I wrote a story about the history of Jerry's Foods a couple of years ago, when the company donated many photos and other artifacts that trace Jerry's history from his start as a butcher behind the counter at Grandview Market in 1947 to his thriving corporation today. See the story and some great photos here.
For being a man in charge of a large corporation, Jerry was just Jerry to his customers. They would find him sitting in the coffee shop or picking up a few items for the dishes he loved to cook at home. There's something so hometown about drinking coffee with the local grocery store owner. I know his many customers and employees will miss the man who has made his mark on Edina.
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