The La Sal Store has been an essential part of everyday life in La Sal for 100 years. But, last Wednesday, March 25 at the end of the day, the store closed for business.
Established in 1915, over the 100 years of its existence, the store has seen many iterations. Until 1945, the office of the ranch was housed in the store. That year an office building with a garage and auto dealership was completed east of the store (La Sal Reflections, compiled by Hardy Redd, 1984). At this time, you could buy an automobile from the store. Farm machinery could also be purchased.
In the late 1950s and early 1960s the uranium mine boom in the La Sal area brought a lot of industry and people to town. The store did a bustling business. In 1961, during this height, the store and post office burned to the ground. The buildings were replaced with new structures with identical red brick facades (La Sal Reflections). Those exist to this day.
For many decades, the store had a large hardware section. It contained many of the parts needed to carry on farming and ranching activities as well as many other basic hardware needs. It also boasted a full meat counter with meat being cut on the premises. A good range of groceries were also available. If the store did not have what you needed, it could be ordered from a various array of catalogs as well as case goods for grocery items.
In recent decades, the store was downsized to a convenience store. It carried the basic everyday needs: milk, bread, eggs and gas, along with a full range of convenience items such as chips, candy, beer, cigarettes and pop.
On the last day of business, most items were reduced by 25 percent for quick sale. This included gas. Many locals converged on the store to take advantage of the bargains. Lines and waiting time were long at the gas pump. The store was full of customers reducing the inventory at bargain prices. Vendors had been there that week collecting products and equipment.
On Wednesday, the students of La Sal Elementary made their last field trip to the store. They left behind thank you notes, which were posted on the front door of the store along with the big “Closed” sign. This century old fixture of La Sal will be sorely missed. Perhaps it will once again rise from the “ashes” as it did in 1961.