They were singing "Meet Me in St. Louis, Louis; Meet Me at the Fair", and beef steak was selling at nine cents a pound when two young brothers, J. R. and H. V. Miller snapped on black sateen half sleeves, put on long white aprons and opened their general store in Maple Plain on October 17, 1905. They had purchased 2 acres of land, which at that time was a corn field and located on what is now Main St. and Budd St. In 1904 a building 22 feet by 50 feet with living quarters on the second floor was constructed. The H. V. Millers lived there until 1934 when a new home was built on the property north of the store across the highway.
Merchandising is a "Miller" heritage. John Miller was a farmer in Cannon Falls. He also had a jewelry store, later a line of bicycles and gradually added other items with the help of his two sons H. V. and J. R.
Miller customers, who tied horses to the hitching posts and pushed their way past the cracker barrel and bolts of calico, could also breathe the fragrance of freshly ground coffee mixed with the stronger odor of kerosene. Wood burning parlor stoves heated the store, gasoline burning mantle lamps hung from the ceiling and also suggestive of the decorative ideas was the tin ceiling with a fleur de lis design. Store hours were from 6 A.M. to 7 P.M. The early opening was to accommodate the farmers who brought their milk and cream to Halgren's Creamery. Since 1905 the store-keeping business has been greatly revolutiomzed. The 100 pound sacks of flour and bolts of cottons have disappeared. Business at the old stand has undergone drastic changes as it has grown. In 1915 a 24 foot addition was added, doubling the floor space. This gave room for a complete assortment of dry goods, shoes and clothing. Additions were also constructed in 1950 and 1962. The present building, 110 foot by 60 foot, now includes complete meat and produce departments.
The store presently called "Millers Department Store" has always been a family owned business run by J. R. and H. V. Miller and now by Everett V. Miller. Everett, son of H. V. Miller, bought out his father's interest in 1953.
Through the years "Millers" way of saying "thank you" to then customers and friends is a free smorgasbord served once a year.