Super Valu retiree Russell Byerly and his son Don opened the first Byerly’s store in Golden Valley in 1968. Byerly’s was known for its innovations: wider, carpeted aisles, wider parking spaces, and chandeliers.
The St. Louis Park store, fifth in the chain, was opened on March 16, 1980, on 10 acres of the former Friedheim concrete plant – 3777 Park Center Blvd. The 92,000 sq. ft. store was one of the largest in the United States. The parking lot could hold 630 cars. At the time, the store was a sensation, with write-ups in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Business Week, and People Magazine. From the first it was open 24 hours a day, and attracted more than 75,000 people weekly, even hosting tour buses. One impressed tourist was Vice President Dan Quayle.
The store originally included many unusual features:
- The state’s largest selection of Kosher foods
- Bagel shop, where you could see them as they were made
- Tea and coffee shop
- Woods Chocolate Shop, which sold ice cream cones and fudge
- Gift shop
- 192-seat Restaurant, open 24 hours
- Cooking school
- Hallmark card shop
- Flower market
- Customer service with ATM, post office, film service, check cashing, money orders
- 6,000 sq. ft. Wine and Spirits Shop
- Customer Lounge
- 15 Check-out counters
- “Over-the-Counter” shopping carts
- Parcel Pick-up
The ad announcing the store’s opening also made it clear: “No games, no gimmicks, no stamps, deliveries or charge accounts.”
Lund’s bought the company in 1997. The St. Louis Park Store was extensively refurbished in 2005. In 2006, the restaurant featured historic scenes of St. Louis Park, as provided by the St. Louis Park Historical Society.