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Recording in the land of 10,000 Lakes

Posted on Wednesday, June 9th, 2010.

In the last three months, StoryCorps recorded interviews in six different towns in the land of 10,000 lakes. While partnering with the Great River Regional Library of Minnesota, we recorded in Annandale, Elk River, St. Cloud, Melrose, Little Falls and Staples. We heard stories from all walks of life — including farmers, mothers, teachers, nurses, doctors, and soldiers of Central Minnesota.

Our partner, the Great River Regional Library, is a group of thirty-two branch libraries that provide books, materials, computers, programming and information services to almost 450,000 residents. The branch libraries are a source of knowledge and information in their communities, and for March, April and May they were our host family.

In our visit to Staples, Carol Weber, 63, came with her husband Rick Weber, 64, and her mother-in- law, Mrs. Marlys Weber, 87. During their interview, Mrs Marlys talked about her heritage, meeting her husband and her family. Halfway into their interview, Rick and Mrs. Marlys talked about how Ernie, Marlys’ husband, started the family business. “Ernie’s Food Market” was different than most grocery stores in Staples, MN. At that time, most grocery stores had a person that would take their order in, the order would be filled for them and the customer paid for it at the counter. Ernie started the first self service grocery store in Staples, and for a while it even provided both services.
Mrs. Marlys also described how she helped her husband stocking the store and how Ernie’s Food Market keeps growing and growing. Ernie retired and currently Ernie’s Food Market has a different owner, but it is still the town’s main grocery store and still has the neon sign to let you know who used to own it.

To learn more about The Great River Regional Library, please visit

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