In Little House on the Prairie the Oleson’s Mercantile featured quite heavily on the show, particularly with the characters of Nellie Oleson and the rest of her family. But was this a store in real life too?
In the book by Laura Ingalls Wilder, On The Banks of Plum Creek, Laura wrote about Nellie Oleson and how her parents owned the General Store in Walnut Grove. And Laura on several occasions went inside the store, and described it in detail, along with the behaviour of Nellie Oleson in the store.
The basis of Nellie Oleson on the TV show did come from Laura’s description of her in the book. And yes, the character Nellie Oleson was based on a real person, whose family did own the local general store. But the real-life Nellie Oleson was based on three different girls that Laura knew and the girl in Walnut Grove was actually known as Nellie Owens. And in the real Walnut Grove, it was the Owens who owned the general store.
While the Owens store did exist in Walnut Grove at the time Laura and her family lived in Walnut Grove, the building is no longer standing today. Nellie’s parents later owned a mercantile in California before selling it and moving the family to Oregon.