Located smack dab in the center of downtown Walker, the corner that Lundrigans Clothing occupies has been a hardware store, a general store and lastly a men’s clothing store before it was purchased by Ed Lundrigan in the fall of 1937 and became Lundrigans Clothing.
Within a couple years he met and married Mabel. They had expanded beyond the overalls and long johns for farmers and fast became the largest merchandiser of the Pendleton brand in the 5-state area. Most notable from the Pendleton Woolen Mills was the plaid shirt - made for the first time by Pendleton in 1924. In addition to Pendleton shirts, they also sold seersucker pajamas and men’s trousers. The trousers shipped unfinished so Ed taught himself how to tailor – and was setup in the basement of the store- where the inseams were written on the wall.
Lundrigans Clothing was open Monday through Saturday from 8am to 5pm. On Sunday afternoon, Ed would take the week’s drive to downtown Minneapolis to buy merchandise directly from the manufacturer’s buildings. He would sleep in the parking lot overnight. Bright and early Monday morning, he’d purchase pants, overalls and jeans. If he was lucky he’d have 25 cents after getting gas and he’d go the Nankin restaurant to get one order of egg rolls and tea before heading home to finish his Monday workday at the store.
It was Mabel that started Lundrigans on the path of women’s clothing. She was the first to notice at market that the women’s merchandise had a higher markup than the men’s. She talked with Ed and they decided it would be worth trying. They bought several blouses and pants for women. She cleared out an area in the store and started a small women’s corner. It was a hit and to this day Lundrigans is one of the leading women’s clothing retailers in northern Minnesota.
Mabel was also the first one in town to offer free wrapping to the customers, and not just at Christmas. Boxes were wrapped in black paper and said “from Lundrigans Clothing” on the box. This tradition continues today at all the Lundrigans stores, and at Christmas, the festive boxes are recognized under trees all over the area. “Oooh, looks like something from Lundrigans”, people say, when opening gifts on Christmas morning.
Mr. & Mrs. Ed Lundrigan, Shingobee Winter Playground, Chippewa National Forest - U.S. Forest Service Photo
Ed & Mabel were also active in the community. Ed was involved in creating and promoting the Shingobee Recreation Area. Now owned and operated by the US Forest Service, the local area offers miles of trails for hiking, hunting, camping, and cross-country skiing. In the winter, it is a popular sledding hill with a small warming chalet open on the weekends. Both were avid golfers - Ed was instrumental in getting the back 9 added to the Tianna 18-hole course. Mabel was a longtime member of the Ladies' Professional Golf Association as well as the American Legion Women's Auxiliary.
But the quietest things they did were the best. They would let kids who made teams at school pay with whatever they had, for as long as needed to pay for their jackets. They gave several graduating students a suit and shoes for their move into the work world. They held the bills of folks who couldn’t pay.
Lundrigan's Clothing changed hands to Tony & Pat Doughty in 1977, and then again to the current owner, Nancy Freeman in 1999. Both Tony & Nancy knew with the legacy Ed & Mabel left, they had to always keep it as Lundrigans Clothing.