About us

Commitment to Service Is a way of life.

For over 60 years, Sandstrom's has been serving the quality-minded food retailers and service providers of the Northland and keeping current with the latest innovations in product and service delivery. Through the years, Sandstrom's has maintained its leadership position for one important reason: We know our customers and know what they need.
Sandstrom's Story So Far...
The Beginning
1959

Idea Emerged

In the summer of 1959, Al Sandstrom travelled to Grand Rapids from Duluth to meet his brothers from North Branch, MN for a weekend of fishing. Al fell in love with the area and when he returned to Duluth he told his wife, Corrine, he would like to explore the possibilities of returning to Grand Rapids to start a Wholesale Candy & Tobacco business. After a long debate, she finally gave in but said she would not move to Grand Rapids until he had enough business to make it worthwhile.
Founded
1960

Company Founded

On January 1st, 1960, Al drove to Grand Rapids from Duluth with a used truck loaded with candy, tobacco and sundries and The Al Sandstrom Company was born. By April of the same year, Al had developed enough business that he needed help. Corrine agreed to move the family to Grand Rapids and they rented a house on McKinney Lake with a one stall garage.  That one stall garage became The Al Sandstrom Company’s first warehouse.
Series A
1963

Making Progress

By 1963, the one stall garage became too small and a home in town was purchased with a three stall garage.  All of this additional business was developed from Al selling off of his truck and Corrine manning the warehouse, servicing walk-in business. Al & Corrine’s son, David, returned to the business from college and Military service in Viet Nam in 1969 in time for another exciting change for the company.
Series A
1970

Growing

In October of 1970, The Al Sandstrom Company purchased and moved into a 3,000 square foot building in downtown Grand Rapids. Shortly after, David’s wife, Mary, joined the business and additional employees were hired. The growth was fast and furious and in a short amount of time, this building was added on to, doubling its size. None of this would have been possible without Al & Corrine’s leadership. They taught us hard work, honesty and integrity which was the key to their success. Those principles and practices will always be the foundation on which our company thrives.
Series A
1976

end of an era

Al Sandstrom passed away in February of 1976 after a long fight with cancer at the age of 51 and Corrine passed 3 years later. This was devastating to us but the foundation they laid allowed David, Mary and our great employees to continue to grow the business.

Now
1980 - Now

Continuing Strong

The 80's brought many new, exciting changes to the company. Spring buying shows were and still are held annually, we entered the retail grocery business as well as the institutional food business and started to distribute the full line of Bridgeman dairy products which made the Al Sandstrom Company the most complete distributor in the Midwest. In 1990, we built our new facility in LaPrairie and changed our name to Sandstrom's. David and Mary's daughter, Julie, joined the Sandstrom team in 1992 and son, Dean, in 1996. Today, the family company employs over 75 people and continues to grow, servicing greater Minnesota and Western Wisconsin.

Sandstrom’s is often considered a family business but without many dedicated employees, some still here and some who have moved on, we would not have had the successes we have enjoyed. All of this came from the founder’s dedication to their principals which we will always follow.  Thank You Al & Corrine!