In 1880 Peter GEYERMAN bought HEISER’S store and moved his family from Shakopee. His business began there in 1881. In 1892 GEYERMAN built the first half of the big store and in 1901, or ’02 they built the second half. Chas. FITZL left the employ in 1905.
I am told Margaret MEYER was the first book-keeper at the Big Store. In 1905 Anna LEES was book-keeper, Hannah OLSON was also employed. In 1906 Selma SALSTROM (Mrs. MANUEL) was the book-keeper. That same year Martin REISTROFFER began clerking there. Pearl COOPER was also a clerk. As was a usual procedure GEYERMAN had a car load of apples on track in 1906 at 70 cents per bushel. John WEAVER and John HOHLE built a flour house behind the store for storage.
In 1907 GEYERMAN’S installed 3 new pumps, 1 kerosene and 2 gasoline. The tanks were buried outside the store and oil pumped into the building with Bowser self-measuring pumps. This same year Carl NELSON, who had worked here since 1903, went to Luverne. Dick MANUEL took his place.
In the fall GEYERMAN’S and the Mercantile Store shipped a car-load of potatoes to southern Nebraska.
By 1907, the Big Store employed 12 clerks. Emil LUDKE, Blanche MORGAN and Dot WARNER were among this number.
In 1908 Dick MANUEL’S place was taken by Alfred OBERLE. During this year, Ed GEYERMAN was tarring the roof of the store using a gasoline stove to heat the tar, when the roof became ablaze. With the use of a patent fire extinguisher and a bucket brigade the fire was controlled. Miss Ellen SODERBERG left the Big Store this year.
In 1910 GEYERMAN’S installed electric fans for comfort while shopping.
In 1910 T. MCCALL became butcher and cellar man at the Big Store and O.B. HOLDEN had the work of the road alone. In these days, the Big Store hired men to travel through the country with team and buggy selling and delivering groceries. They carried all varieties of food, including long horn cheese and cold meats kept fresh by iced boxes in the back of the buggy.
In 1911 they sold their store at Round Lake and devoted full-time to Brewster. They installed a new hot water heating plant in the Brewster Store.
In 1913 Esther FRENZ was the book-keeper in the Big Store. In 1915 Jack LEES left the Shoe Department to work in a Wisconsin store.
The old ice house behind the store was torn down in 1915.
In 1916 Martha LUDTKE worked there, also Viv GUISENDORFER of Waverly, Iowa. GEYERMAN’S handled groceries, meats, dishes, jewelry, dry goods, shoes, suits, coats and even fur coats. In this year Mr. GEYERMAN bought a store in Pipestone. The following year GEYERMAN and Sons became a corporation.
In 1917, employees were Henry KLEIN, Martha LUDTKE, Mrs. Clara GRUYS, Mrs. KRUMLING, Iva NEINABER, Herman KLEIN and John MCCALL. Thelma VOORHEES was assistant cashier in 1917, replaced in 1918 by Lily BLY. In 1919 Olive JOHNSON, Mr. and Mrs. G.R. BARNES were among the Big Store staff. The next few years included George NEUFIELD, of Mt. Lake, Mary LIEN, Mrs. COMPEAU, Henry VOGHT, Frank DIERKSON, Donna and Grace ADKINS, Terrance MCCALL, Dave NOLDE, Anne MEIR, Chas. PARKER and Helen HABERMAN. There were many others I am sure, but I noticed these names in various news items and as you read them it may help you to recall who worked there.
By 1921 Geyerman Corporation had stores in Brewster, Pipestone and Emmetsburg, Iowa, and were opening one in Worthington.
In 1924 GEYERMAN put on a dance in the Legion Hall celebrating their 43rd anniversary in business. Music for both old and new time was obtained. Lunch was served in the basement.
In 1926 F.R. GEYERMAN traded his home here for a Ready-to-Wear business in Sac City, Iowa. In the same year, F.R. and E.A. GEYERMAN retired from business here after 45 successful years. The new concern will be known as Geyerman-Swanson, with F.J. GEYERMAN, Pres.; P.R. GEYERMAN, V.P.; and H.F. SWANSON, Sec.
In 1927 Alfred MEIR worked at the Geyerman-Swanson store. In this same year GEYERMAN’S purchased stores at Iona, Minn., and Brookings and Huron, S.Dak.
In 1928 Mrs. SWANSON gave a fare-well party for Mary LIEN, who had worked for GEYERMAN’S for 10 years. In 1930 SWANSON became the sole owner. In 1931 SWANSON sold to I. HIRSHFIELD of Sibley, Ia. Mr. SWANSON was here for four years but due to poor health retired from active business and returned to Minneapolis. The store was renamed the Standard Merchantile Co.
Jack MESSMAN and Emil KNUTH were employed there when Jack MESSMAN went into business for himself. Clarence OPPEK worked as clerk.
In 1932 Paul SLAYBAUGH of Luverne came to manage the Standard Mercantile. Illa WEAVER also worked there.
In 1935 August BECKER purchased the GEYERMAN building. Prior to this one-half of the building had been vacant since PLORDE and HALPERN moved out. George GEYERMAN used the other half for a Liquor Store since 1933.
In 1938 Mr. BECKER put in a Locker-System. He tore down the old poultry shed and built a slaughter house. The work was done by SCHUERKAMPS. In 1941 BECKERS’ inaugurated the new self-service system, using baskets. They also remodeled to make room for dry goods.
In 1943 they installed a new vegetable case and took the partition out of the rear of the store and refinished the former storeroom so that the meat department could be moved to the back.
In 1945 100 more lockers were added.
In 1947 Bill HOGAN bought the Grocery and Meat Dept. BECKER’S continued to run the dry-goods portion and lockers. In 1948 and ’49 Robert TROTTER operated the lockers for BECKERS. In 1949 F. ALBRIGHT bought the Locker plant.
Today, in 1958, Bill HOGAN owns the lockers, the grocery dept. and the building, having acquired the grocery dept. in 1947 and the remainder in 1957. Rosella KOSTER, who managed BECKERS Dry-Goods Store for the past 12 years, retired in 1957. The Store is now known as the K and V, and Mr. and Mrs. Wm. KAUFMAN and Mr. and Mrs. Carl VOSS are joint proprietors, since October of ’57. Employed in Bill’s Grocery, in the other half of the store at the present time, are Gary SEVERSON, Dick COTTER and Mrs. Helen FREY.
In 1906 S.M. STEWART was manager of the store owned by Herman PINZ and Son. The store advertised for sale, summer underwear, sun-bonnets and men’s mohair shirts, calicos and gingham’s were 5 cents per yard and underwear – 50 cents, quality was 37 cents. Mr. PINZ and Son advertised their store for sale, but decided to keep it and put in new merchandise. The store was formerly a small concern run by Max HASKELL. In 1907 the store was known as the Brewster Merchantile Co, owned by Chas. HARTHUN, H.B. NELSON and PINZ. Eva MONTGOMERY worked here and the Tribune said she was learning to count eggs, measure calico and drain kerosene without spilling it. Cora OLSON and Mary HOHLE worked here. In 1909 T. MCCALL was employed, Charles HARTHUN sold his interest to NELSON and PINZ.
In 1910 the Merchantile Store had a forced sale by the T.K. Kelly Sales System, John WELDON was in charge. 20 clerks were hired. Music and entertainment were furnished day and night.
If enough stock-holders could be secured, Brewster could have a new cooperative store. Enough stockholders banded to-gether and the co-operative store opened with Karl C. MEYER, proprietor.
Herman PINZ was temporary manager.
In October 1906, Mr. and Mrs. T.A. THORSTENSON opened a Golden Rule store in the MCCALL Building. (PALMER’S). Mr. THORSTENSON also bought cream here. The store closed in 1908.
In 1908 Dick MANUEL and V.C. ANDERSON opened a Clothing store in the building formerly occupied by Plut’s Saloon. (Mabel’s Café).
EVERT’S Store was built in 1892, the first half and the second half in 1901 or ’02, the same time as GEYERMAN’S. Gusta MANUEL and Molly HARTHUN worked there in 1903. In 1904 the large trees which stood in front of A.W. EBERT’S store were cut down, as they had formed an obstruction, for a sidewalk.
In 1913 Gusta MENKEN clerked at EBERTS. In 1915 a storm in July blew the roof off EBERTS store letting rain in the second story. Maggie MCCARVEL worked at EBERTS from 1910 to 1926. I’ll never forget the sacks of candy she gave out with groceries. In 1920 Alice LIEN was employed. In 1928 Mr. EBERT closed out, all except groceries. He had kept all kinds of dry goods; shoes, work clothes, dishes, crockery, jewelry, corsets, anything you might have needed.
In 1931 Catheryn MCCARVEL worked at EBERTS. The same year Mr. EBERT sold his store completing 40 years as a Brewster merchant.
In 1931 Jack MESSMAN opened a grocery store in the Ebert building.
In 1932 Henry WEAVER painted and erected a large sign on Jack’s store. Herman BONNAPOHL had charge of the meat division.
In 1940 GARMER and HARDING opened a Red Owl store. In 1941 it was purchased by Oliver LEU, his first clerk being Donald BISCH. In 1950 Dick COTTER did butchering at the Red Owl. One day, he shot an 800 lb. Steer and had the knife partly inserted, when the steer rose on his front feet. Dick rose too and started for the entrance but a pig waiting to be butchered got in the way. Dick fell and cut a bad gash in his left forearm. Oliver went out to finish the animal, finding him still alive. Dick came back to work with his arm in a sling. And they say there’s no drama in a small town!
In 1950 Al and Arvid WEHLER bought Oliver’s building and business. Arvid is still the proprietor in 1958. His employees are Mrs. Herman NUSSER, with Marie HORKEY and Mrs. Mable ROSSING part-time help.
In 1914 George HAGERMAN ran a Merchantile store, disposing of it to Joe L. HAGERMAN. While Grace HAGERMAN was on vacation, Effie WELLS took her place. In 1916 HAGERMAN traded his store to Elmer AVERY of Worthington for a house and lot but the deal did not materialize. Fred WEY resigned in 1916 to work on the rail-road for Chris LIEN. In 1917, HAGERMAN advertised, There are 34 cracker boxes still out. Those having same, kindly return at once!
John WEY ran a grocery store in Brewster in the early 1900’s. In the old days of the old cracker barrels, which show up plainly in the interior pictures of his store. Many a boy, now a grown man, recall the generous size glass of salted peanuts Mr. WEY measured out for one penny! Mr. WEY closed out his dry-goods and shoes in 1932. He carried Hardware and groceries until the late 30’s and finally handled just hardware.
In 1920 Glen A. TAYLOR, at Fairmont Cream Station, sold all new army goods.
In 1919 Claud OBER quit his restaurant and started the OBER Cash Grocery. In 1923 B. KRUKEMEYER purchased the OBER Cash Grocery. Barney also sold Wear-U-Well shoes. In 1926 the store was the agency for the Worthington Cleaners. In 1931 he installed a Kelvinator and handled Worthmore Ice Cream. Clerks in KRUKEMEYER’S store included his family, also Mable BERREAU and Mary HALFMAN. He closed his store in the early 30’s and continued in the cream station until 1939. Barney was then a Moorman Feed salesman for a few years.
In the old “Roses History of Nobles County” it merely states the first store in Hersey was built by James T. SMITH of Heron Lake. It was run by A.J. TIMLIN. It was suppose to be the next building put up after the depot and agent’s cottage. Everyone has taken for granted it was later purchased by Martin HEISER and is the present KRUKEMEYER store. Such is not the case as revealed by some of the old tax records. It was located on Lot 12, Block 7, which is at present Mabel’s Café.
The store handled groceries and dry goods, it sold for cash and also took produce in trade. In 1876 he sold the stock to Martin HEISER, who located in the building now occupied by B. KRUKEMEYER’S. Mr. HEISER also had hardware and farm machinery.
In 1877 HEISER and BLANE were dealers in hardware and implements and HELLICKSON and HEISER put in a feed-mill.
Thomas FITZGERALD opened a store at this time in the building vacated by TIMLIN. The Brewster Stores ran an ad in the county paper in ’77 stating they would do no business on Sunday. Mr. FITZGERALD also dealt in livestock. He advertised in the Worthington Advance in 1879, that he would trade a new sewing machine for a No. one cow, at his store. In 1880 Mr. FITZGERALD went on vacation and a Mr. Fred HATCH took care of his store. In 1880 Mr. FITZGERALD announced he would move his store to a town on the southern Minnesota border at the Rock River Crossing.
The old stores had barrels of merchandise, some containing crackers, others pigs feet and pickles. They had large cracker boxes, about the size of a 30-dozen egg case. The large rounds of cheese stood in the open on a block with a large knife nearby by to cut off the amount you needed. Bulk coffee was ground in a mill with two large fly wheels. Raisins came in the bulk, as did oatmeal, corn meal, flour and sugar. They sold smoked and dried fish and yeast foam for bread making, although the early breads were salt rising bread. Plug tobacco was handled and cut off as you bought it. Among the popular candies were rock candy, peppermints, gum drops, lemon drops, horehound, peppermint sticks and chocolate drops. Broom racks kept the brooms in good sweeping conditions. This will recall in part how stores were stocked.
Nobles County Genealogy
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