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Bob Lind, Published July 30 2013

NEIGHBORS: Email mentions the Isabel store

Neighbors’ email contains a note from Gene Reierson, of Esmond, N.D., west of Devils Lake.

Gene mentions a couple of columns about a business known as the Isabel store, and of a farmer who rode horseback to the store to pick up groceries when roads were blocked during the winters of the 1940s and 1950s.

That farmer was Ernest Toso, the father of Gene’s wife, Janice.

The Isabel store was so-named because it was in Isabel Township, across from the Isabel rural school on North Dakota Highway 19, which runs from Minnewaukan through Esmond.

“The Isabel store had two old-time gas pumps, the type where you pumped the gas up into a glass globe,” Gene writes. “One was Pure Oil, and the other was Farmers Union Co-op (now called Cenex). The last operator of the store was Elmer Toso,” who was a second cousin to Ernest.

At the time, Gene and Janice owned the Standard Oil business in Esmond, seven miles from the Isabel store.

One day in about 1959, Elmer ran out of gas, so he called the Reiersons for help. They promptly sent some gas to Elmer.

“Those were the days,” Gene says, “when our motto was ‘You expect more from Standard, and you get it.’ ”

And the Reiersons carried that motto out, even though it helped a competitor.

Gene and Janice retired in 1998 after being with Standard (later renamed Amoco) for 39 years.


If you have an item of interest for this column, mail it to Neighbors, The Forum, Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107; fax it to (701) 241-5487; or email blind@forumcomm.com