a big new project

This blog is going to start getting a lot more personal.  Why?  Because things in my life are changing rapidly and I have to share them, that’s why.

I am on the cusp of something…something that I was meant to do, but never thought I had the opportunity.  I seem to have the opportunity now, and it’s up to me to make it happen.  As my da says, “you can’t expect to catch a fish if you don’t cast a line…” Well, it’s not going to come easy, or fast, but I’ve decided to act upon the little voice in my head telling me to go for it.

I’m starting my own business.

I’ll start out small, with an Etsy store (which is up, but I haven’t listed anything yet), but I’d love to be able to have my own storefront and workshop in a few years.  I thought about calling it Snicklenose, but it never felt quite right.  It didn’t speak to what I wanted it to be, which is a store that I can put all of my many and varied passions into.

But then I remembered that my great grandfather and great uncle had some general stores in North Dakota about 100 years ago. The one I remember best was called the Nekoma Mercantile Co.  So that’s what my business will be called.

I asked my da to send me some photos or information about it, and this is what he wrote:

Without checking stuff for dates, briefly what I know is that Ole came over and worked in two or three places while he was studying the language and getting acclimatized to American life, then ended up working in Nekoma, oh say after 1905 to 1910.  I have letters to Nellie that start around 1909.  He worked for the original owner whom I don’t know right now but can find out.  Lets see.  The Nekoma Centennial was 2005 so it was probably later than 1905, probably 1908 when he got to town.  I’m pretty sure he had bought the place by 1910 as they were married late 1910.  Dad born 12-1-1911.  He may have been in partnership for awhile, the name Sundahl comes to mind.  He eventually owned it outright.

Haaken had come over and worked for his brother Fred but Fred was difficult, Haaken headstrong so he worked for Ole for a while until he got the store in Adams, still there.  I’m sure Ole and/or Fred bankrolled him.  There was another store Ole owned, but the town is gone now.  Ole died in 1927.  Nellie ran the store with Dad’s help, also hired people, until she married J.O. Dahle which was in late 30’s I think.

J.O. Dahle was originally from Washington State, so when he retired, he and my great grandmother moved to the Tacoma area, my father’s family soon followed.  My parents met in Olympia, where I was born and raised, and now have the opportunity to restart what my ancestors began.  Here’s a few photos of the original Nekoma Merc (click on them to get the really good detail!):

Ole & Haaken

Ole Bellerud & Joe Sundahl, Nekoma Mercantile (My great grandpa is probably the short one!)

A view inside...

Ole's on the left, Haaken on the right

I’ll post more Merc ephemera as my dad scans it.  =)

My business will be an outlet for the things I love, and the things I want to share with the world.  This includes art, crafts, upholstery and furniture projects, supplies for canning and curing foods at home, vintage things I can’t bear to leave at the Goodwill but don’t have space for them at home, and Scandinavian goods that are actually interesting instead of hokey.

I’m excited, are you?


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kaia on July 1, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Wow Ginger, that is exciting. I think you would do great at it – I love the history and the pictures as well!


  2. Posted by Erin on July 2, 2010 at 8:10 am

    SOOOOOOO EXCITING!!!!! You go girl! 😉


  3. Posted by Ginger on July 2, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    Thanks, guys!


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