Thomas Grocery in Sterling
51 South Main Street, Sterling, Utah
In the 1920’s, N. E. Larsen opened this General Store in the center of Sterling. The painted masonry storefront with its stepped gable and varied collection of colorful signs remains in operation today as one of the few “mom and pop” grocery stores to survive modernization.
The store opened when Larsen’s daughter Lillie was six months old; from that time on Lillie spent her life in the Sterling General Store. The general merchandise store has changed with the times. Originally, the merchandise came in bulk so people bought fifty pound sacks of flour and sugar. A black ring on the floor marks the spot where the old vinegar barrel stood. Kerosene was sold in bulk for lanterns, commonly used in Sterling homes that lacked electricity. Milk and eggs from local farmers were sold here and the children often traded farm eggs for pieces of penny candy. In August of 1945, Lillie and her husband Evan Thomas opened their own business in Lillie’s father’s old store and moved in. The the past 63 years, Lillie has served three generations of Sterling residents and travelers from behind the Counter of the Thomas Grocery. Lillie passed away May 14, 2008 at her home in Sterling at age 93.(*)