by the Night Writer
Having lived in St. Paul for a number of years, including a stretch in the Selby-Dale neighborhood, I am very familiar with Tiger Jack’s Store on Dale St. next to the northern entrance to Highway 94. Tiger Jack Rosenbloom was a black entreprenuer who, along with his wife Nurceal, sold a little bit of everything from their 8′ x 10′ wood and metal shack The store was a fixture in the old Rondo neighborhood (a neighborhood essentially gutted by the highway’s construction) and a fixture at that corner for decades. Tiger Jack and Nurceal died several years ago and the original shack was donated to the Minnesota Historical Society, but their son, Lucky, has continued to run various enterprises from the tiny plot of land and has been a bit of a conservative gadfly in the community.
Driving by there these days I usually get a smile from the signs Lucky has posted in recent years, asking people to accept Christ, offering lessons to women for conceal and carry permits and volunteering the site (no bigger than my backyard) as a location for Christian Revivals. Lucky was there on Wednesday night working on his campaign for the St. Paul School Board but decided to step out: “I think my mom and dad and God told me to get out of there for a while,” Rosenbloom said.
While he was gone, a panel truck lost control and crashed through the wall of the store.
On Wednesday, Rosenbloom had been at the store’s other building for several hours signing copies of his book, “Liberal Racism and the Black Conservative,” and waving a sign encouraging people to elect him to the St. Paul school board. He had gone inside the store briefly and was starting to pack up.
That’s when he decided to take a short break and headed to a nearby gas station for juice and lemon cake. He was on his way back when the crash occurred. He thought at first that someone had been shot near the store, but police officers filled him in on what had happened.
“One police officer kept coming over and saying, ‘Lucky, I’m sorry, I’m sorry,’ ” Rosenbloom said.
Rosenbloom does not yet have an estimate of damage. He’s also not sure if he will rebuild, but if he does, he might build a small museum to honor the Rondo community and his parents.
“They trusted me with that corner,” he said.
Fortunately, no one was hurt in the accident and I hope Lucky continues to make his presence – and thoughts — known on that corner for some time to come.