New Private Label Brand At Coborn’s Honors Family History

A new private label line called Four Brothers has made its debut at Coborn’s. Initial products in the line can be found primarily in the meat, bakery, deli and produce departments.

Among the first products to be introduced by the St. Cloud, Minn.-based grocery company are Cheezy Garlic Loaf, Flame-Seared Ribs and Creamy Caramel Sauce.

CheesyGarlicBreadCheezy Garlic Loaf is the first Four Brothers item and it is now available in the bakery departments of Coborn’s stores. The artisan gourmet bread loaded with cheese can be eaten right out of the bag, heated in the oven or grilled.

Four Brothers Flame Seared Ribs are a convenient entrée option. At home, consumers glaze the ribs with barbecue sauce and heat them through. The new product is available in the service meat case at Coborn’s stores.

Coborn’s will introduce Four Brothers Creamy Caramel Dip in its produce department near the apples this fall.

The Four Brothers brand pays tribute to the company’s heritage and history that dates back to the early 1900s. It is designed to be a “destination” brand, with products unique to Coborn’s. The company got its start as a produce market and later opened its first smokehouses, meat markets and fresh bakeries in Sauk Rapids, Minn., in the 1960s and 1970s.

The third generation of Coborn’s brothers, Bob, Dan, Bill and Ron, are credited with taking Coborn’s Inc. to new levels under their leadership in the 1960s and continuing through today. Dan Coborn, now 84, still serves as company chairman and is at the office each week, despite having “retired” in 1999.

“With months of brainstorming and research behind us, we agreed that paying tribute to Bob, Dan, Bill and Ron would be an appropriate way to recognize their leadership,” said Dennis Host, VP of marketing, in a company blog ( Host said several more products soon will be introduced.

The company also released a coffee-table book titled “Behind the Store Shelves” that details its history back to when Chester and Lee Coborn opened Coborn’s Bros Feed Stores in 1884. The new book is available at all St. Cloud-area Coborn’s stores.

Chester A. Coborn is credited with starting the original Coborn’s Grocery in 1921 in Sauk Rapids’ oldest landmark, the Bell Building. His sons, Chester C. and Duke Coborn, took over the business in 1929. Bob, Dan, Bill and Ron, the “four brothers” and sons of Duke, were all involved in the family business starting in the early 1940s during World War II. They became increasingly more involved in the business, taking over significant leadership roles in 1957.

Under the four brothers’ leadership, the company grew from a handful of Coborn’s stores to the company it is today, with more than 120 retail outlets that include its 30 Coborn’s stores in Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota, and 14 Cash Wise Foods stores in Minnesota and North Dakota. Coborn’s now employs more than 7,500 people.

About The Author

A nine-year employee of The Shelby Report who writes for and about food. In previous lives, she worked at a police department in Texas and an amusement park in Arkansas. She also was a newspaper publisher for more than a decade. Not sure which of those qualified her for this job.