It was any parent's nightmare, I suppose. Spending a bloody fortune financing an expensive college education was supposed to bring career and financial growth and stability for your child. Shelby was more interested in opening a Scandinavian store in downtown Sioux Falls that celebrated her family heritage. Home she came and she spent almost 9 months working on her business plan, getting financing and enlisting all her family members in painting a storefront, and stocking shelves.
She named the store after her grandfather John Holsen and her great grandparents Rasmus and Magnhild Holsen. Rasmus and Magnhild immigrated to the United States from Norway. Actually, Grandpa Rasmus came from a tiny village called Holsen in Norway.
He and his brothers all immigrated from Norway. Tom came first in 1900, Rasmus in 1906, Louis in 1909 and Sam in 1914. The Holsen brothers were hard workers. Tom and Rasmus worked for the railroad. Louis was a cement contractor and Sam worked for a bridge company. Entrepreneurial Holsens, all of them.
The entrepreneurial spirit lives on in the Holsen offspring.Hence the store name. Grandma Magnihild came from Jaren. They met in Moorhead, Minnesota and became parents of 3 sons, Roland, Oscar, and John.
This is a picture of Shelby and Grandpa John at the opening of Holsen Hus 8 years ago.
It is hard to believe that Shelby celebrated her 8th anniversary this past October 2010. She has become a seasoned buyer, a shrewd businesswoman and a ardent genealogist of our family heritage. To say I am proud of her seems inadequate, somehow. She works so hard with little to no time off. Retail is tough but especially so with the economic meltdown. However, she adjusted her business model, and worked hard to grow her customer base through loyalty, a sense of heritage and with the offering of unique and genuine Scandinavian products.
Blessings come in many forms in our lives. The Holsen brothers' dreams of a new life celebrated everyday and immortalized in a little Scandinavian store in downtown Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A dream of a little girl who grew up to embrace a strong Norwegian heritage that she learned from her mother, passed down from her grandfather, passed down by his mother and father in a new land.