ELGIN — If you’ve spent much time in the Grande Ronde Valley, there’s a good chance you’ve been to the Elgin Corner Market.

A staple of the city, the shop celebrated its 100 year anniversary on Wednesday, July 14, with decorations and free ice cream.

“It’s definitely a fixture here in Elgin,” owner Brad McLaughlin said. “Everybody knows what Corner Market is and they come down here for snacks and goodies, and we try to contribute to causes and be a good community member. I think it’s an important part of the community.”

McLaughlin has been the market’s owner for 17 years, since he bought the business from Bill and Debbie Johnson, who ran the store for a decade.

“There’s only been five or six owners in 100 years, which is really not that much,” McLaughlin said. “When this store became available, I had an opportunity to take over thanks to my parents’ help.”

Gene Livingston, long-time customer and Elgin resident, said the service is what makes the store so great.

“I’ve been coming here for 10 years,” Livingston said. “It’s an icon, everybody comes here. It’s a great store and Brad’s a great guy.”

Although the exact day of the anniversary is unknown, McLaughlin decided to celebrate on July 14 because of its personal significance.

“My dad always would sit out here and buy kids ice cream,” he said. “Today’s his birthday, so we decided to celebrate 100 years today because he loved sitting out here on the bench and buying kids ice cream bars.”

The market has always had close ties with the Elgin community. Earlier this year, the business donated the breakfast supplies for the Firemen’s Breakfast at the Elgin Riverfest.

“It’s a good place to be,” McLaughlin said. “My wife teaches here at the elementary school, and we just love it out here. The community has been great.”

Along with the community, McLaughlin credits the market employees with keeping the store running smoothly during a pandemic and labor shortage.

“It’s hard to get good people right now, but we have an exceptional group,” McLaughlin said. “Lots of businesses are trying to hire, it’s kind of a weird moment, but thank goodness we have a good group.”

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