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103-year-old runs and operates long standing store

FREMONT, Minn. (KTTC) – When County 29 hits Fremont Store Road, you’ll find a hidden gem.

“We don’t have a lot of things, but we have a little bit of everything,” owner and operator of “The Fremont Store” Martha Johnson said.

But while “The Fremont Store” has been a staple for road trips, snacks and sugar since 1856, folks also make pit stops for another reason.

“As a little girl, when we came here on vacation, my grandmother would bring me to this store,” Kristina Bergan said.

And that reason, is Martha Johnson. She’s been running the store for 17 years.

“Every day, and when I come in the morning, she’s up out of bed, ready to go,” Bergan continued.

Ready to go at 103 years old, running the shop every Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“She loves visiting with people in the store,” Bergan said. “She’s bound and determined to keep it going.”

“I like to talk, I like people, but I don’t like huge crowds,” Johnson said.

On Thursday, Johnson’s big birthday drew a crowd to the store.

“She’s got friends all over the whole world,” Bergan said.

Friends wishing her well, some asking about her secret to living a long life.

“Listen and keep your mouth shut,” Martha said laughing. 

But, if you sit and chat with her a while, you’ll learn quickly.

Love for others and love for her home of 45 years.

“Yeah,” Johnson said. “Even if they don’t love me. The best years of my life were spent in Fremont, I know that.”

Johnson loves to send friends she meets in the shop hand written mail. If you give her your address, expect birthday and Christmas cards. She sends about 120 every year.


Beret Leone

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