When the railroad came to town, it brought farmers, land seekers and business people. Wesley Curo was the first person to build and open a general store. The store was located on the West side of the tracks across from the Depot. Later he built a two-story building where the McAllister Electric Building stands today. The Curo’s operated the store downstairs and lived on the second story. The Curo’s also ran the local telephone exchange located in part of the store until it was taken over by the Arvig Telephone company in Pequot.
The Curo’s sold the building and it’s inventory to Mr. and Mrs. Oswald Lundale. The Lundales operated the store for a number of years. The building burned and Mr. Lundale built a single story building on the lot. That building still stands today and currently houses McAllister Electric.
In 1924 or ’25, the Lundales sold the store and merchandise to Mr. and Mrs. K. D. Lawson.
The Lawsons continued to run the store. Mr. Lawson also put a barber chair in the small room in the front building. In later years, he discontinued the barber shop and opened a Off Sale Liquor Store.
Mrs. Lawson also operated a coffee and soft drink bar along with a small lunch counter in the back of the building. When the new highway went through town in 1936, her lunch counter did very well serving meals to the construction crew. Two local girls were needed to help Mrs. Lawson in the lunch counter during the highway construction.
After a few years a building was moved from the West side of town and added to the back of the building. This addition was used as a warehouse. The Lawsons sold the store to Mrs. Bixenstine and Sons. They continued to operate the grocery store, but discontinued the Off Sale and lunch counter.
After running the store for a few years the store was sold to John and Ralph Dickey. They were assisted by a son Lamar Dickey and his wife. They enjoyed a good business. The store and inventory of groceries were leased to Mr. and Mrs. Meiers. But they were not successful business people.
The Dickeys resumed the stores operation in 1960. Mrs. Dickey also opened a second hand clothing department that was well received by many local residents. She also added a souvenir and handcraft department that was also well received.
The store was then sold to Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Mills. But due to ill health, they only ran the store for a very short time. They sold to Mr. and Mrs. Edward Larson. The Larsons did a lot of remodeling and reopened the store on June 1, 1970 as the outpost. They operated the store a number of years before selling it to Mr. Ben Overbaugh. Overbough operated the store for a number of years and even had a meat department for a time.
The store was later sold to Jim Mcallister who operated an electrician and electrical supply out of the building.
The Rush’s Store
Mr. and Mrs. John Rush also built a grocery store in the early years of Jenkins. The store was located on the South side of town just West of the Bryant Hotel. There is no record of what happened to the building, but it was either consumed by fire or had to be moved when the new highway went through in the early 1950’s.
Bert Browen’s General Merchandise Store
Bert Bowen also built a store on the lot where the Gleason home now stands. Mr. Bowen carried general merchandise. The store was later operated by Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Locke who continued to handling the general merchandise.
The store was later sold to Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Riddle. Mr. Riddle had been a teacher at the Jenkins School. The store burned and the building and it’s contents were destroyed. This was a very costly fire for the town of Jenkins because they not only lost the store, but a saloon and the town hall which stood adjacent to the store.
At one point in time the store also had a small millinery department. I’m not sure if it was while the Browen’s, the Locke’s or the Riddle’s who operated the millinery department in the store. It is also unclear who owned and ran this department.
Dee Ritchie Store
Dee Ritchie also built and ran a store on the lot where the Coyne McLaughlin home was built.
In 1911, the building was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Fred Kemper. The building was later sold to Mr. Mel Dudgeon who operated a feed store there for many years.
After selling their store to Mr. Dodgeon, the Kempers built a frame building on the lot where Ed Roberts now lives. The Kempers carried a full line of groceries and meats.
Dee Ritchie built an addition onto each side of the Kempers store. On the East side of the Kemper Store, Dee operated a cream station and shipped the cream to Bridgeman-Russell in Duluth.
Dee Ritchie’s Hardware Store.
In 1919 or 1920 a fire destroyed all four stores. Mr. Kemper, Mr. Ritchie and Mr. Hill not only lost their stores but everything in them. The Kemper’s rebuilt the store as a two story brick building. They not only carried a full line of groceries and meats, but also added a few items of clothing and dry goods. He also carried a limited supply of replacement parts for machinery and was the local agent for DeLaval Cream Separators and other machinery.
In 1929 the Kempers sold the store to Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Johnson. The store was later sold to Mr. Finholtwho sold it to Mr. Stephen who in turn sold it to Mr. Ostrander. Mr. Ostrander later sold it to Mr. and Mrs. Cox. Allen who operated the business for several years. The Allen’s sold the building to Mr. and Mrs. Cox and the inventory to Mr. Cromett.
The Cox’s operated a small business on the main floor and lived upstairs. The building was sold to Ed Roberts who was an electrician and operated the business out of the first floor of the building and lived on the second floor. Mr. Roberts employed several people in his business.
After purchasing the inventory from Mr. Allen, Mr. Cromett opened a store about where the old post office stood just East of the Gleason Boat Works Building. The business did not last long as this building was also claimed by fire and totally destroyed.
The Everhart Store
Mr. Nick Everhart opened a grocery store between the McAllister Building and the old bank where the Antique Shop is today. His Daughter Leona ran the business. Like many other businesses in town, it did not enjoy a long life and was soon closed.
Ed Quighy’s Candy Store
Mr. Quighy operated a candy and confection store in Jenkins. Where this store was located or the years it was in operation are not known at this time.
Jenkins Ironing Board factory
At one time there was an ironing board factory in town. The factory was located where underdogs now stands. I do not know who owned the factory, the years it was in operation or just how many different models they made.
But there is one surviving example of the ironing boards that still exists. It was a folding model that stored easily in any closet. The board can be found at the Driftwood Museum. Unfortunately the museum has been closed for about the last two years.