It is uncertain what the first business enterprise was in Fargo beyond the Northern Pacific Railroad. The following material was published in the Sunday Argus on July 5, 1896, just 21 years after Fargo was officially established. It is primarily the recollections of N. K. Hubbard. Given that the information was still recent at the time, the account is likely as accurate as we will find.
The first store to open in Fargo was by Mann & Maddock, near the corner of Front Street and Fourth Street. They failed in August 1873, assigning to John J. Back, who employed Jacob Lowell to close out the stock. On October 20, 1873, N. K. Hubbard and E. S. Tyler purchased the building for $500 and moved it to near the corner of Front Street and Fifth Street. They opened a general store under the firm name of E. S. Tyler & Co., with W. A. Yerxa as head clerk. Mr. Hubbard also owned a store in Moorhead at that time where he continued to spend his time for the next two years. Mr. Tyler kept books for both stores.
The first hardware store in Fargo was opened at 27 East Front Street by E. H. Davy who also opened the first hardware store in Minneapolis years before.