George B. Wilmarth was one of the first settlers to choose De Smet for a business location. He came from Marshall, Minnesota, before the railroad was built. George is believed to have spent the winter in Watertown, South Dakota, arriving here in early 1880. Mrs. Wilmarth and their two sons came in June when the railroad was completed. The winter of 1880-81 was a trying one for a merchant, and Mr. Wilmarth did all he could to keep supplies in his store.
An early article in the newspaper for the store stated that, “Today they are at the head of one of the largest and best-stocked general stores in Kingsbury County”. Wilmarth was a respected citizen and very active in the community until his death in 1897.
Willmarth Grocery was located on the northeast end of Main Street. It was the location of Larks Cafe and Barbershop, Ford Implement dealership, car dealership, car wash and several different banks. It now houses City Hall.
In The Long Winter, Laura spoke of the grocery store:
“When Miss Garland, Mr. Foster and the students were lost in the blizzard after being dismissed from school early, the Wilmarth boys had only to cross the street to their home and grocery store.”