The year 1990 was a very good one for Canby.
That's when three businesses - Canby Dairy Queen, Canby Chiropractic Center and Canby Drug and Gifts - opened up shop on St. Olaf Street.
Vickie and Gary Stoks were living in the Twin Cities prior to 1990 and decided a big city wasn't where they wanted to raise their kids.
Photo by Jodelle Greiner
Dr. Robert Welker is shown working on a patient earlier this week at Canby Chiropractic Center. Welker initially worked out of his home before buying the old Jake’s Cafe building.
Same story for Tammy and Robert Welker, the owners of Canby Chiropractic Center. They moved from the metro to the rural area when their first two children were young.
"It's an ideal place to raise your kids," said Tammy Welker. "It felt like home right away."
Kari and Mark Whittier of Canby Drug also wanted to raise their family in a small-town environment.
"We grew up in smaller communities and we wanted to move closer to families in the Fargo/Moorhead area," Kari said. "The size (of Canby) appealed to us."
Canby has worked out well for the Stokses, who wanted to own their own business.
"Gary said, 'I like ice cream - let's buy a Dairy Queen,'" Vickie Stoks said.
So they did and all six of their kids have taken their turn dispensing the icy treats.
"It's a place where they have learned how to work," she said. "I have two left and they are taking their turn."
These days the Canby DQ is Vickie Stoks's baby, since Gary bought SMI in Porter.
Stoks said the Dairy Queen equipment has been updated over the years and this next year she plans to renovate the dining room.
Dr. Robert Welker first worked out of their home, and then after three years they bought the old Jake's Cafe building and remodeled it to suit their purposes.
"And we've been here ever since," said Tammy, who is in charge of the clerical and billing aspect of Canby Chiropractic.
Tammy has worked part-time and full-time on and off through the years in between taking care of the children.
Tammy said her husband likes practicing in a smaller city such as Canby because "you can spend more time with each patient. You not only know their condition, you know them personally."
Living in such close proximity the hours of Canby Chiropractic can be flexible.
"There's not a big commute to and from our house," Tammy said.
After working at a Snyder's in Blue Earth, Dr. Mark Whittier entered the pharmacy business in Canby as part of a partnership with two other businessmen and then Mark soon became the sole owner.
Kari taught school in Minneota until 1997 when she went to work in the gift side of Canby Drug and Gift.
"We expanded our gift section in 2000," Kari said. "In 2001, we purchased the building next door."
They had many figurines on shelves in the gift shop, but the business was flowing to the home decor area and they needed more space.
"Our product was bigger - accent furniture, large prints...," said Kari.
Kari said Canby is a good medical community which has supported the drugstore.
The drugstore has two part-time pharmacists and "we've been fortunate to have excellent help," said Kari.
The pharmacy is an independent store, Kari said.
"We're a mom and pop shop," she said. "It's been fun."