MANDAN, N.D. (KFYR) – It costs more to do just about everything these days.
From filling our gas tank to filling our pantry; it even costs more to run a business.
But one long-standing local business has found a way to adjust for the rising costs and keep the family legacy alive.
This is Delores Royse-Castle’s happy place. It’s where she raised her children, and where she grew up.
“This is my childhood,” she said.
Her parents first started selling watermelons on the strip in Mandan in 1948.
“We used to be known as the ‘Watermelon Kingdom,’” Royse-Castle recalled.
Over the years, her parents expanded to other fruits and vegetables, and Royse’s Twin City Produce became a fixture on this busy street.
Virginia Reich and her granddaughter have been shopping here as long as they can remember.
“A long time, a long time,” said Reich as she shopped for watermelon.
“We’ve come here ever since they’ve had this building. My grandma and my mom, and we’ve always gotten good fruit and vegetables from here,” added her granddaughter, Brianna Stein.
After the 2018 season, Royse-Castle had to make a difficult choice. She decided to close the building and sell fresh produce by the truckload.
“We bring in truckloads of watermelons and then as the cherries and peaches become available, they get added in,” she explained.
This year, she faced another tough business decision. Prices are up – way up – and Royse-Castle wasn’t sure her customers would be willing pay $15 for a watermelon.
“I never thought in my lifetime I’d see prices this high,” she said. “The growers are having their own issues because of the labor shortage. Diesel and the restrictions on trucking have made it harder to get stuff up here.”
Royse-Castle was forced to raise her prices, but quickly discovered her customers are willing to pay more for a quality product.
“We’re just so grateful to be supported,” she said.
And for Royse-Castle, the second-best part of this job is seeing customers who over the years have become friends. The first best part, she says, is the watermelon.
“I can’t live without good watermelon!” she laughed.
Royse-Castle holds a truckload sale for two weeks every month during the summer. Follow Royse’s Twin City Produce on Facebook for the schedule. You can also sign up for her regular emails; she’s got a sign-up sheet at the sale.
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