Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Look Back in Time


I was so excited when, a few days ago, I found these photos on a historical society website.  These photos weren't dated, but must have been taken in the early 1900s.

My first memory of this store is as a patron when I was 4 or 5 years old, in the late 60s.  I have many more memories of it from roughly the mid-70s through the mid-80s, when my parents owned it. 

They were the third owners of this store, and although times had changed, the store really had not.  It was very much the same as in these photos. On the outside, the awning no longer wrapped around the side, and the color scheme was more monochromatic, as in this photo... 


rather than the contrasting colors of this shot...


Inside was a also very similar.  As in the photo below, cut-to-order fabric was on the left side, shoes were on the right side, but by then the shelves went to the ceiling, or nearly so, with attached rolling ladders to reach the uppermost shelves. 

Many of the fixtures were the same.  The suspended gas lamp had been replaced with several electric lamps, but the store still had a wood stove as it's only source of heat (I do not think it was the one in the picture, however).  Box fans and screened doors were the only way to cool the store; there was never any air conditioning in the building.

On the left side you'll notice a rectangular glass display sitting on the counter, and if you look closely (and know what to look for) on the right side, near the arched doorway, there is a curved-front glass display case.  Both of these were still in the store when my parents owned it, although they were situated on counters in the center of the store in front of the wood stove.  I suspect many of the other counters I remember were also the originals.


In addition to fabric and shoes, my parents sold sewing notions, small costume jewelery, knick-knacks, useful household items (think clocks, curtains, feather dusters, brooms, etc.) and a few toys.  In the room to the right side with the arched doorway, they sold Levi's jeans and Key overalls.  You can't see it in the photos, but there was a door near the back left of the store for entry from the side street.

The entire back portion of the store, beyond the wood stove, contained groceries.  Canned goods, baking staples and the like were on the shelves, but there was also a counter where they sold custom-sliced deli meats and cheese by the pound, and bottles of pop (not "soda", but "pop" on this side of the state).  Not the new-fangled screw-top plastic bottles, but the old-fashioned pop-top kind.  And oh, the candy!  There were a couple of yards of countertop devoted just to candy!  I'm told the original owners sold plows and other larger farm implements in the grassy lot behind the store.  My parents didn't sell those kinds of things, but in the spring, they sold garden seed in bulk, then in the fall, apples by the bushel, often stacked outside near the front windows. 

I helped out at the store once in a while, but I was in my teens and early 20s then and it was in the next town up the road from where we lived, so I didn't work there often.  My parents had other small stores then to tend to, as did my eldest sister, so my older brother ran this store.  After a decline in business -- all the seniors who loved the store in their youth were passing, and the younger crowd preferred to drive half an hour to the Wal-Marts, JCPenneys and large supermarkets of the world -- and my brother's need to move on, my parents finally closed the store and sold the building in the mid- to late-80s.  The fixtures were sold to collectors and the building sat vacant for a while, before eventually being razed.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...