Northern Star Mills was first built in 1898 at the intersection of West 16th and Chestnut streets in Chico. The mill received locally grown grains and processed them into flour and animal feed. In 1930 the mill stopped producing flour, but continued to operate as a feed mill until an arson fire destroyed it in 1986.
Today Northern Star Mills is located across the Esplanade from Bidwell Mansion. The building was constructed in 1915 by the Sperry Flour Company next to the site of John Bidwell’s flourmill on the north side of Big Chico Creek. Northern Star Mills purchased the building in 1933 to serve as a warehouse and a retail outlet for the 16th Street mill’s products. Today Northern Star Mills provides farm, garden, and pet supplies for the greater Chico area.
Northern Star Mills is now in it’s third generation of family ownership. R.A Harelson purchased Northern Star Mills in 1928. In 1956 John B. Growdon, R.A. Harelson’s son-in-law joined him in the business. John M. Growdon, son of John B. Growdon, now owns and manages the business.