Celebrate the Flavors, Textures, and Aromas of 170 Years
This year, the Marilla Country Store turns 170 years old!
Since our opening in 1851, many things have come and gone, and many more have changed. But there are a few things that have remained constant.
For starters, in the entirety of our 170-year history, we have never closed our doors. And to say that the store has seen a lot during that time would be an understatement.
We’ve seen some things.
We have been through 33 U.S Presidents. 8 global pandemics, 6 major blizzards, and more than 100 wars. We witnessed the first American football (1869), ice hockey (1875), and basketball (1891) games, and the first tennis match ever played (1877).
Marilla Country Store is older than the Town of Marilla itself! (1853) We also pre-date color photography (1855), stainless steel (1872), the telephone (1876), the incandescent light bulb (1879), ballpoint pens (1888), and the zipper (1891). And those only get us through the 19th century!
But no wars, blizzards, or even global pandemics have been able to keep us from fulfilling our promise to meet the needs of the people of Marilla, and all who pass through.
A focus on family.
We are also proud that the keepers of that promise have always been families. My family, the Gingerich’s, became the third family to own the store when we purchased it from the Monchow’s back in 1979. Louis Monchow was the son of Gustav Monchow, partner of the store’s founder, Harrison T. Foster. Louis took over for his father way back in 1916, and ran the store until his passing in 1943. His wife Mildred took over until her retirement, when she sold the store to my parents.
Harrison T. Foster, our founder, became so completely by chance. In 1848, he purchased 60 acres of land for $150 and started his logging business. One fateful day in 1851, his oxen got loose in a nearby cornfield and gorged themselves to death on corn. Desperate, he struck a deal with a local shopkeeper, who agreed to trade his business for Foster’s land. The site on which that business was located was and still remains the site that the store sits on today.
Celebration and gratitude.
At the time of our founding, agriculture was just beginning to emerge in this region. So, it seems fitting that we celebrated our 170th anniversary during this year’s Ag Day, on September 18th!
We wanted this to be as much a celebration of the town of Marilla as it is of the store. Frankly, we would have nothing to celebrate if it weren’t for the support that this community has shown us throughout.
It begins with our staff. Throughout everything, especially during the last year and a half, they remain the hardest-working, most loyal group anyone could dream of working with. We would not be able to claim 170 years of continuous operation if it weren’t for them and those who came before.
Nor could we have done it without you, our patrons. By continuing to come to us for your food and home decor needs, by introducing future generations of your family to this place, and by making us a staple of your holiday and seasonal plans, you have kept this quaint little piece of history alive.
Thank you for sharing this momentous occasion us!