Our Grandpa Gust Nelson started the grocery business in 1910 as Nelsons's Groceteria. In 1961 Curly Nelson, son of Gust Nelson, expanded the little groceteria into a new modern supermarket. Then in 1989 Julie Nelson Johnson, daughter of Curly, bought the business when Curly retired. Dillon Johnson, son of Julie Nelson Johnson, has now learned the art of preparing the famous Swedish Potato Sausage. It has been a great experience to be able to continue such a history. Our business continues to grow in Swedish products as people come from miles around to keep their heritage alive.

From Our Family to Your Family please enjoy looking through our products and happy shopping. If at anytime you would need help - shopping or preparing foods - please give us a call. We’d love to hear from you and help you in any way.

Food Pride Is In The News!

Woman carries on tradition with Nelson’s Food Pride in Oakland
By Debra Jacobsen/Tribune correspondent
Wednesday, Sep 17, 2008 - 10:39:06 am CDT

Julie (Nelson) Johnson hitched her cart to a star -- Star Mercantile.

Founded by her grandparents, Gust and Julia Nelson, Star Mercantile blew into Oakland in 1910.

After weathering the storms that small businesses face, Nelson’s Food Pride proudly sits in the town of about 1,300.

Johnson purchased the store in 1989. Her husband, Terry, provides maintenance and moral support.

While she was growing up, Johnson’s father, Curly Nelson, owned the store. He joined the store after returning from the U.S. Army in 1946. They carried mostly canned goods at that time.

Curly wanted to purchase a small bunker for ice cream.

“Grandpa did not think that would be a good move,” she said.

But it was.

She recalled her earliest memories at the store.

Sometimes, she even slept on the bottom shelf, wrapped in a blanket, as her parents took inventory into the early morning hours.

She remembered playing in the railcars that brought potatoes to her grandparents. For three days, they would sell from the car.

“We used to sit with Grandma Nelson on a stool and peel potatoes for sausage. I was 7,” she said.

In the early 1960s, the store reopened in a new location.

“Grandpa Nelson died in 1960. He didn’t get to see the new store,” she said.

By the time she was 13, she was working in the bakery -- and offering her skills as a “taste tester.”

“We’d sample herring and dips,” she said. “One night I ate so much herring, I got sick. I still like it. Every time I open a bucket, I still have a piece.”

She balanced bookkeeping records and made Swedish favorites from memory.

“They (recipes) are in my head,” Johnson said.

She makes Swedish rye bread, ham balls and Ostakaka, a custard-like tradition -- recipes handed down by her family.

“I learned to do all of it. When you are raised in an environment like this, you are always learning,” she said.

Johnson’s son, Dillon, has taken over the popular potato sausage.

“Handmade in our store -- you can’t get it anywhere else,” she said.

She orders lutefisk for Christmastime.

“We added a new rotisserie and smoker grill -- prime rib every Monday night. We also have baked potatoes. People don’t have to go out to eat. They can grab a meal and eat at their table,” Johnson said, adding, “We have a calling list.”

Each noon, staff members notify area residents to let them know the daily special.

“I almost never have anything left over,” she said.

So when the store closes at 7 p.m., Johnson heads home to cook.

The responsibilities and long hours don’t spread the petite owner too thin.

On a recent day, she helped customer Lyle Neiburg of Oakland select just the right mustard.

“It’s the only place I go to shop,” Neiburg said.

“I wouldn’t go anywhere else,” said Mava Johnson of Oakland, a customer for 54 years.

“They call you by your first name. It’s like coming home. I feel like shirt-tail relation -- but we’re not,” she added.

The owners named a few challenges.

For Curly, it’s the computer age.

But for Johnson -- it’s big name competition.

In 1998, she added on to the existing store.

“I’m always striving to be better. Dad was a good teacher. You have to put money back in your business -- it shows,” she said.

“Julie’s a wonderful gal -- a ‘go-getter,’” Mava said.

“It’s rewarding to see the business do well,” Julie said.

“I have everything that life could bestow upon you,” she added.

Nelson's Food Pride
P.O. Box 146
Oakland, NE 68045

By email:

By phone:
402-685-5652 (between 8:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. central time)


Shipping Information:

Order will be filled in 1-2 business days. Preferred shipping days are Monday & Tuesday.

Refund, Returns and Cancellation Policies: Cancellation of order has to be made within two hours of the order being placed.