The commercial building at the
northeast corner of Minnetonka Blvd. and Dakota was called
the (Minne) Tonka Boulevard Shopping Center. An
article in the Dispatch on October 28, 1949 announced
that it was being built by Meyer A. Fingerman. The
architect was Armstrong & Schlichting, and it was
constructed by Bruce Construction. It would have a
drug store, hardware store, super market with meat and
bakery, and three professional offices.
From June 29, 1950 to March 19, 1951,
Penny's Super Market
occupied the east end of the building.
E.L. Brink Hardware opened on August 17-19, 1950. It
quickly became Brink's Variety Store.
Atkinson Drug Store had its Grand Opening from June 29 to
July 1, 1950. It was located at the western end of the
building. Customers were invited to come and meet
Lady Kemp, who would be handing out free Lady Kemp ice
cream. The ad featured something called Mead's Oleum
Al Hartman fills us in on the
In the West Northwest corner of the
building there was a separate entrance for the Doctor
and Dentist offices. One would go down a corridor to a
shared waiting room. Dr. George Friedel MD was on the
right and Dr. Robert Nelson DDS was on the left. It was
a bit cramped and each had a receptionist/assistant. As
I recall, Dr. Nelson did all work including cleaning and
I only remember one chair which must have limited his
practice making him want to move all the more. [He moved
his office to 3645 Rhode Island Ave. in the late '60s.]
Dr. Friedel was a family practice doctor and I
remember him making a house call to visit me while I was
sick with the flu in the late '50s. The last I remember
being treated by him was in the mid '70s and I think he
was dead with his doctor brother closing his practice by
After Nelson moved Dr. Norman Taiko Kushino DDS
rented his office space. Nelson took his patients with
him as he did not move too far away and Kushino started
fresh. During the Kushino period I remember Sue
Sutherland, local young woman, just graduating from
dental hygenist school in the later '60s, working for
Kushino had been in a Japanese Relocation Camp with
his family during WWII. In the '70s sometime, I
believe, he moved his practice to Golden Valley. After
Kushino and Friedel were gone I don't think anyone
rented their spaces anymore and building was eventually
On March 19, 1951, a fire caused
$250,000 damage to the building. It started when a 16-year-old Brink’s employee
burned waste paper in an incinerator. Firefighters from
Golden Valley, Hopkins, and Richfield responded to the call
– the largest fire call met by the SW Fire League – a group
of suburban firefighters.
This photo of the 1951 fire courtesy Al
After the fire, Adolph Fine built Levine a new Penny's Super
Market in what
was to become the Texa-Tonka
Supermarket moved in and opened on February 21, 1952.
This was the 17th in the chain, which was established in
1921 by Jacob Klein of St. Paul and was owned by his four
sons, Harry Klein in this case. The Dispatch
indicated that the store had formerly been the Crystal
Market - was that an interim store? Manager Frank J.
DeMay was kept on from the previous store.
Klein's took over not only the space
that Penny's had occupied, but also expanded west into the
middle store, which had been occupied by Brink's Variety
Before Minnetonka Blvd. was paved in 1952
Undated photo by the City Tax Assessor
From at least
1954-60, the drug store was Desnick's Boulevard Pharmacy.
(In 1962, Stillman had a liquor license.) Al Hartman:
"Desnick's Drug Store, at the front West end of the
building, seemed to have a bit of everything. They had a
tube tester for old radio and TV tube diagnosis and
replacement. A magazine rack in the front of the store with
a comic book stand to its left as you faced it. I read many
a comic I should have bought because they are worth enough
today. I hardly ever was told to move on as they were not a
library. In the Northwest corner there was a grill and soda
fountain with seating at the fountain counter on bolted down
pedestal stools. They served food such as burgers, fries,
etc. They had a roasted-nut hutch that kept the nuts warm to
be scooped out into a bag for sale and lots of candy.
Desnick was the Pharmacist and also was associated with an
old folks home around Joppa Ave S and Mtka. Blvd for a
In 1960, the grocery store was a
Piggly Wiggly, pictured
Tax Assessor Photo
1963, the grocery store was Don's Minimax, owned by Donald
A. Swanson and his wife Tillie. The hats on the faces
on the sign in the picture below say "Don" and "Tillie."
Gil was the manager and Thelma "ruled the roost." In February 1965 the name changed to Don's
At some point it may have been called Tony's Park Market.
In 1970 there
was a Pilgrim Cleaners at the drug store site.
1975 Photo courtesy Emory Anderson
On September 12 and 13, 1975, Metro Auto Stores held their
grand opening at 6320 (the west end). By 1983, the
west end would be Bigelow Video.
Tax Assessor photo, 1981
In November 1993 another fire burned
out Ty's New Park Market and Bigelow Video.
1994 photo courtesy Emory Anderson
After the fire the building was removed
and a new structure called the Minnetonka Park Mall was built in
Big City Bagels occupied 6312 in 1998. There were
stores in Downtown Minneapolis and at Snelling and Grand in