Our druggists have abounded in quality and not quantity for we have had relatively few.
Just when the first drug store was started here is a mystery but as early as 1880 the papers report that a Mr. HEISER of our village says he has such good trade he may have to hire a clerk to look after his drug department. People are making a run on his homeopathic remedies.
The first druggist I have found was a Mr. FABRE who ran a drug store located where the home of Gay GRAF is now. In 1903 he sold the store to W.J. SEMMONS of Primghar, Iowa. Harry SEMMONS ran it for about two months when he packed up the stock and shipped it to Iowa. In 1903 several citizens who were creditors for the defunct FABRE Drug Co. received checks for approximately one-fourth the amount due them. It is believed the next druggist was E.Y. WILSON and that he moved the store to its present location. Some of his early employees included Orville K. OLSON, Nelly SALSTROM, Freda LEES, and Gusta HOKLE. In 1912 he sold his household goods and drug store and went to Badger, Minnesota. Mr. L.E. JOHNSON of Elgin, Illinois, came to Brewster and held his opening on October 19. The drug store was at its present location and the post office was next door. Mr. and Mrs. JOHNSON lived at the LEES Hotel where there were fifteen or twenty regular boarders and roomers.
During the period of time between WILSON’S departure and JOHNSON’S arrival Dr. T.Z. MAHER carried drugs necessary for filling his prescriptions. Mrs. JOHNSON did substitute teaching soon after coming to Brewster. A clever ad Mr. JOHNSON ran in a 1913 newspaper read: “Our fountain by its fizziness proclaims its readiness for business!”
In 1914 he had a live white Easter bunny in the window which attracted much attention. In 1919 Mr. JOHNSON purchased the Woodman Hall and in 1923 moved over the drug store. Early employees were Alice SILVER and Edna MANSON. Later Alice BAUCHLE worked there.
In 1920 Mrs. JOHNSON sold beautiful land painted china, of which perhaps if you look about you you might find some for many people bought it.
In 1926 a new rental library was established at JOHNSON’S, a minimum charge of ten cents, otherwise three cents per day. They had a large selection of books.
Mr. JOHNSON made connections with a reliable repair shop and watches and jewelry were left there for repair.
It has been said that in 1944 Mr. JOHNSON put the flag out on Thursday, thinking it was Navy Day, which actually was the following day, Friday. When reminded of it he decided Thursday was his birthday anniversary so he left the flag out anyway.
Another experience which Mr. JOHNSON did not relate was on an Aprils Fools morning when he taped a dime beneath the glass in the cigar counter. Those of you who remember Mr. GRAY, our depot agent, know how he used to always empty his coin purse out on the counter, pay his bill, then pick up all the rest of the coins and return them to his purse. Lou thought he would have some fun when Mr. GRAY tried to pick up the coin under the glass, but the trick backfired, Mr. GRAY bought his cigar, emptied the change but picked it all up except the dime under the glass. Mrs. JOHNSON said the dime was soon untaped and put back in the till!
Mr. JOHNSON has held many public services offices as has Mrs. JOHNSON and both have been a great asset to our community for the past forty-six years in the same business, keeping up with all the changes of that period. We have a most modern drug store.
Employed at the time of this writing is Mrs. Lily GERTSMA of rural Brewster, who replaced Mrs. Mark KRUKEMEYER, who moved to Aurora, Minnesota, recently. In this many years of business I shall not try to name all of the clerks who have assisted at the drug store.
Nobles County Genealogy
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