Owner of Fremont store where honor system is still in use, turns - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Chris Conte

Owner of Fremont store where honor system is still in use, turns 95

FREMONT, Minn. (KTTC)-- The owner of a small convenience store in Fremont where customers still pay on an honor system turned 95-years-old on Tuesday, and a large portion of the town showed up to celebrate.

"I remember when we used to come here with my gopher feet when this store was in operation back in the 1920's we used to get a nickle a piece for my gopher feet," said one customer.

The "Fremont Store" first opened its doors 154-years-ago but the celebration was not about a rickety old building, in the middle of a town with no stop light.

"What would I do if I didn't have the store, I can't drive and people don't socialize like they did in the olden days," says owner Martha Johnson.

Johnson only took over ownership of the store 6 years ago after the previous owner, Martha's son Donnie Johnson died of Muscular Dystrophy. Doctors told Martha her son would only live to be 17, he made it to age 67.

"He couldn't use his hands, so he couldn't operate the cash register," recalls Johnson.

It was for that reason the store's honor system began, customers would simply open the cash drawer themselves and make change for whatever they needed to buy from Coca-Cola to eggs.

"You put your money in, if you need change take it out then go out the door," Johnson says about the system which is still in place.

Even at 95-years-old Johnson says she plans on running the store for as long as she is able to.

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