After last week’s blog about George Dietz and the Fairway Market in Elk River, new information came to our attention. We felt we needed to share, to add a bit more information and appreciation for George Dietz and his contributions to the community.
First, a bit of background information. The oral history mentioned his work in markets in the Chaska area. It also hinted about service in World War Two. The unmentioned details include Dietz’s service record. He spent 30 months in the army, fighting in Europe. He was wounded twice, once during the Anzio beach landing, and the second time during the invasion of Southern France.
After the war, and after some time working in markets near the Twin Cities, on August 26, 1953 he opened his store in Elk river. “Completely remodeled with a self-service cold meat department, new frozen food and new center gondolas,” the Star News reported about the store opening. “The market will feature bigger, better, easier shopping at new low prices.”
|George Dietz hands out one of sixty bags of groceries given out
during the market's grand opening. Elmer Olson, right, of
Elk River received this particular bag
During the four days of grand opening celebrations, Dietz gave away sixty bags of groceries to customers in his store. This marked the beginning of a multitude of promotions and creative advertising for his market. One such advertisement, even Dietz acknowledged, may have been too creative. “They would never let you run an ad like this today,” he reminisced. The advertisement featured photos of market employees dressed in prison garb, with the headline: “Local Merchant is charged With Murdering Prices.”
The earlier blog entry noted George Dietz provided a unique addition to the Elk River business community. These follow-up detail reinforce this earlier suggestion.