Mid-America's mini-discount mart, known as Tempo, was established by Saint Louis Park, Minnesota-based Gamble-Skogmo, Incorporated. Originally an auto parts retailer, the company was founded by Bertin C. Gamble and Philip Skogmo, who had opened their first Gamble Auto Supply Company store, in St. Louis Park, in 1925.
The discount department store field was entered with the opening of the first five Tempo stores, in 1962. Tempo stores encompassed between 30,000 and 60,000 square feet. Each included the following departments; auto supplies, small appliances, men's, women's & children's apparel, hardware, housewares, luggage, sporting goods, home furnishings, jewelry, fabrics & notions, cosmetics and photo supplies. There was also a drive-in auto service center at most locations.
The Tempo enterprise expanded quickly during the 1960s, establishing a large presence in the West North Central and northern Mountain States; territories not serviced, in any great degree, by other discount stores such as Kmart, Target, Fred Meyer or Valu-Mart.
Gamble-Skogmo merged with the Founders, Incorporated holding company in January 1966. In doing so, it acquired Ohio's Cussins & Fearn and Buckeye Mart stores and California's F.S. Rasco & Company division. In June 1967, Minnesota's Red Owl Supermarkets joined the fold and were eventually operated in conjunction with thirteen Minnesota Tempo locations.
Various stores, mostly in the West, were rebranded as Rasco-Tempo in the fall of 1969. Stores predominantly in the Midwest became Tempo-Buckeye. The Cussins & Fearn division had been shuttered in the mid-1960s. At the height of the Tempo, Rasco-Tempo and Buckeye-Tempo enterprise, there were fifty stores in operation.
Some of these were sold to Pennsylvania's Fisher's Big Wheel in January 1979. Gamble-Skogmo, and its various holdings, were acquired by Illinois-based Wickes, Incorporated in 1980. By 1984, the company was filing for bankruptcy. Remaining Rasco-Tempo and Buckeye-Tempo stores were shuttered soon after.
TEMPO-ANCHORED SHOPPING MALLS:
*KARCHER MALL, Nampa, ID (1965)
*WESTERN MALL, Sioux Falls, SD (1968)