OK Grocery

535 South Summit
For decades the little neighborhood grocery at 14th and Summit served the community around it. Meat and potatoes were purchased and delivered to the doorstep of many a patron. Penny candies were carefully selected by the neighborhood children and likely consumed before they could be told it'd ruin their dinners.
Leonard and Karen Olson, the last owners of the OK Grocery stand proudly in front of the family business.
In the mid 1920s, Ernest Hansen opened a grocery store on Summit Avenue where 14th Street dead-ends. The name of the business seems to be lost in time, but by 1939 it had become Searles Grocery, and when it was purchased in 1941 by Orville Killalea, it became OK Grocery — to match his initials. The name would remain OK Grocery for the rest of its life as a grocery store. It was a small neighborhood ma and pa store, one of the last in its area. The proprietors slept in the back of the store. In its early days, customers would drop off their orders, and, if there were too many items to carry on their own, have them delivered to their homes. Of course, the visit to the store may have been punctuated with talk about what had been going on in the neighborhood.

In 1951, the OK Grocery was sold to Orville’s brother-in-law Lyle Grinde. Lyle had worked as a supervisor at Consolidated Aircraft in San Diego during WWII. There was high demand for aircraft during the war, and Consolidated employed around 45,000 people during those years. One of the other workers was Gladys Green, who married Lyle in 1943. They moved to Sioux Falls after the war, and Lyle attended Augustana College. Orville planned a move to California and Lyle saw an opportunity for a thriving little business.

In those days before every home had two vehicles, business flourished at the small neighborhood groceries. OK Grocery would sell 40 beef roasts a week, not to mention all the potatoes, carrots, and onions to go along with them. Neighborhood children would come in for penny candies, and the store owners would see the kids as they grew.
Leonard Olson runs his AB Shaver Shop from a small corner of the OK Grocery in 1989.
In October 1977, Lyle and Gladys stepped back from the operation and handed the reigns over to their daughter Karen Olson and her husband Leonard. The Grindes leased the business to the kids, but still owned it. Leonard had been running the AB Shaver Shop under the same roof
since July of that year. The shaver shop moved out for a few years, but came back when the Olsons bought the business in 1984.

As people migrated to the supermarkets, orders came in less frequently. Deliveries kept on for a while, but the business coming in the door was not able to justify the expense. The shaver shop was keeping the doors open and eventually it became the only business. Leonard died in 1993 and the AB Shaver Shop moved on.

When Computer Resources bought the building in 1997, remodeling turned up some great old tin signs including a Fenn’s ice cream sign and a Hi-Hat Orange Soda sign. Customers of the AB Shaver Shop would frequently stop by to have their razors sharpened or serviced, only to be given directions to the shop's new location.

Today, while the little building at 535 S. Summit still stands, fewer people remember it from its previous life as a grocery store.
Info and images sourced from old Argus Leader issues and personal experience.