Super Value Store

Published 10:20 am Saturday, March 26, 2011

For four decades a grocery store with the name of Boyd & Jack’s was an interesting part of life in Albert Lea with four stores at three locations.

Here’s the expanded store that replaced the Boyd & Jack’s Super Valu building destroyed by fire in September 1964. This new store building opened for business on June 1, 1965. It had more parking space with access from both East Clark Street (on the right) and Bridge Avenue. Visible in the photo are the Plexiglas panels between the top of the entry and roof line in front that had various colors and gave this store building a distinctively different look. -- Photo courtesy Freeborn County Historical Museum

The firm’s name was based on Boyd deMalignon and Jack Oothoudt who worked together as employees at C. Thomas Grocery, 217 S. Newton Ave., for two years.

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In 1943 the two men formed Boyd & Jacks’s Inc. and took over the former Malmer’s Super Value Store, 130 W. Clark St.

In 1948 Boyd & Jack’s built a new store at 525 E. Clark St., near the Bridge Avenue corner, which became their second location. This building was expanded in 1955 and a new bakery was added in 1962.

On Sept. 18, 1964, this store was completely destroyed by fire. Plans were immediately made to continue the business and replace the store. Boyd took on the responsibility of supervising the building of a replacement store at the same location. Jack managed a replacement store.

This temporary store, which could be considered the third location, was at the Freeborn County Fairgrounds and in the area below the grandstand. Thus, for about eight months during late 1964 and early 1965, the Boyd & Jack’s Super Valu customers could continue to patronize this store.

This photo of the building built for Boyd & Jack’s Super Valu Store was taken in the early 1960s. The store was located on the triangular block based on East Clark Street and the start of Bridge Avenue. The store faced the Clark Street side. -- Photo courtesy Freeborn County Historical Museum

The new Boyd & Jack’s store opened on June 1, 1965. It had the same address as its predecessor. However, the front of the expanded store faced the Bridge Avenue corner on a triangular block and had a larger parking lot. In the interior were several innovations like a sit-down deli and coffee bar, a flower and gift shop and a special “junior college” structure for the children of customers to enjoy. This store also reportedly had the first electronic checkout system in the Midwest.

Sadly, deMalignon died in June 1965. Yet, his name and legacy continued on with the store’s name, unusual logo and distinctive Plexiglas panels featuring several colors on the upper portion of this new store’s front.

What could be one of the most unusual features of Albert Lea’s Boyd & Jack’s Super Valu starting in 1965 with the replacement store was what was called a “junior college” or a kid’s corner. Customers could divert their children to this part of the store, do their shopping and retrieve the childen when the shopping was completed. -- Photo courtesy Freeborn County Historical Museum

This firm’s logo on the signs and in their newspaper ads were based on a bird and a rabbit. Boyd’s name, when given a Brooklynese touch, furnished the inspiration for the bird design. Jack’s name could easily be extended to logically include the concept of a rabbit.

In 1983 this supermarket was sold to C&E Nelsons Inc. of Faribault and renamed Nelson’s County Market. A few years later the store’s operations was relocated to the former J.C. Penney portion of the Skyline Mall.

One of the customer conveniences added to Boyd & Jack’s new store after June 1965 was a coffee bar and delicatessen counter. -- Photo courtesy Freeborn County Historical Museum

City records show the former Boyd & Jack’s store building being torn down in 1999. Nelson’s Shell Food Mart and Car Wash, Taco Bell and possibly a portion of Blockbuster facing Bridge Avenue have now replaced what was once a popular location to purchase groceries.

Jack Oothoudt and his wife, Alvina, are now residents of Thorne Crest Retirement Community.