Just months after Prohibition ended on December 5, 1933, the Edina Village Council approved Liquor License No. 1 for the first liquor store within city limits. Hay & Stenson opened at 50th and France in March 1934 as the village’s only off-sale liquor establishment.
The partners were prominent Country Club District residents Charles T. Hay, a former colleague of the neighborhood’s developer Samuel Thorpe, and A.R Stenson, owner of a twine business in St. Louis Park.
Despite the Great Depression–or perhaps because of it – the store thrived. Within two years, the business expanded and moved into a brand new building, complete with a state of the art wine cellar. To emphasize their connection to the Country Club, the store owners installed “a small grassy lot bearing a golf green flag, which will designate the store as ‘The Nineteenth Hole,’” according to a story in the August 1936 issue of The Crier, a monthly neighborhood newspaper.
Voters later approved a municipal operation just as Hay & Stenson’s liquor license was up for renewal in February 1948. Hay & Stenson sold its operation to the Village of Edina and remains the only privately owned liquor store in Edina’s history.
For more stories about Edina’s past, visit the Edina Historical Society website.