Reyleck’s was a department store in Grafton, North Dakota. The store was founded in 1887 by W.W. Reyleck and closed for business in 1995.
Walter Winslow Reyleck was born in Austria in 1861. After immigrating to the United States, he lived for a time in Sauk Center, Minnesota. He moved to Grafton, North Dakota, in 1884. Three years later, he and two other partners, Thomas Scotland and James Rosholt, bought out a retail store in Grafton named the Chicago Store. The partnership dissolved by the end of 1887, and Reyleck took on a different partner, John Borch. This arrangement lasted until 1889, when Reyleck took over sole ownership of the store.
The name of the store changed to Reyleck’s in 1911, when the W.W. Reyleck Company was organized. Reyleck served as President, his wife as Vice-President, and Edward A. Casper as Secretary-Treasurer. The business moved several times during its early years, before settling into a building at 532 Hill Avenue in October 1916. Reyleck’s was a true department store, selling groceries, shoes, and men’s, women’s and children’s clothing.
W.W. Reyleck retired from the business in 1927 and sold his shares to Edward Casper, A.E. Carlson, T.A. Driscoll, and D.J. LaBerge. Reyleck moved to Los Angeles, California, where he died in June 1946. That same year saw Richard LaBerge, son of D.J. LaBerge, begin working in the store. He eventually became the co-owner of Reyleck’s, along with Murphy Callahan.
Business remained steady from the 1950s through the 1970s, until Reyleck’s began facing increased competition from larger stores in Grand Forks and Fargo during the 1980s. After more than a decade of declining business, Reyleck’s closed in February 1995.
Sources: "100 Years in Grafton," Supplement to the Walsh County Record, Box 2, Folder 23
A 100 Year Look at Grafton, North Dakota, 1882-1982. Grafton Centennial Corporation and the City of Grafton: 1982.
"End of an Era." Grand Forks Herald. 30 January 1995
The Reyleck’s Department Store Records dates from 1929-1995, and has been divided into six series.
Series 1: Correspondence
Series 2: Financial
Series 3: Store History
Series 4: Legal
Series 5: Advertisements
Series 6: Oversized Material