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Jim: The Opening of Columbia Supply (the Firestone Store) in 1945

From the Adair County News, September 19, 1945

By: Jim

Firestone Store Plans Complete Opening Oct. 1

The new Firestone Store, which will occupy quarters in the Jones Building where W.I. Ingram was located for many years, was opened Monday [Sept. 17th] and will operate in a limited capacity while extensive improvements are under way.

Howard Cheatham, of Campbellsville, will manage the store and he said Monday that every effort would be put forth to have work on the building completed and ready for complete occupancy by October 1. Improvements include a new front, modernization of the interior, and a heating plant. The basement has already been completed.

Mr. Cheatham was connected with the Western Auto Store in Campbellsville for more than four years. His wife will accompany him to Columbia as soon as they can secure a house or apartment.
An ad appeared in the same edition of the News for "Columbia Supply the Firestone Store."

As the Scottish Plowboy wrote, "The best laid schemes o' mice an' men / Gang aft agley." Between America's sudden shift from all out war to peace time and the always unpredictable vagaries of construction, the grand opening didn't take place until over two months later than planned. A week in advance of the opening, the News stated thus:
The new Firestone Store announces their grand opening for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, December 6, 7, and 8.

Carpenters have been hard at work for many weeks remodeling quarters the store will occupy in the Jones Building. Among the many improvements which the place has undergone is an enlarged basement, fine new front with huge plate glass windows and also large display windows in the Burkesville Street side. The interior of the building has been completely redecorated and the most modern equipment is being installed. (A later article also stated the exterior of the building had been painted white.)

Fluorescent lighting is used throughout and a new heating plant will be installed at once. A further announcement will appear in next week's News.
An ad in this issue of the paper referred to "Firestone Columbia Supply Store on the Square, Telephone 6." A full page ad the next week (December 5th) for the Columbia Supply Store, featuring "Firestone extra value merchandise" touted a diverse range of merchandise: tires (auto, truck, and bike), blanket robes, can openers, cake covers and plates, baby walkers, and furniture polish, to name a few. And too, the ad promised three giveaways during the grand opening -- a $25 victory war bond; $10 in war stamps and 5 in war stamps -- as well as a "Souvenir for Everyone."

The following week, the News reported that some 1,850 people had passed through the doors during the three-day opening and that the store was packed on Saturday afternoon for the prize drawings. Mr. J.H. Rogers of Columbia won the $25 bond; Mr. A.R. Coomer of Inroad won the $10 war stamp prize; and Mr. S.F. Coffey took home the $5 prize. An ad in this edition mentioned several Christmas items for the little folks, such as "soft, cuddly" stuffed animals, a two-in-one blackboard/desk combo; and an "adorable little girl doll. This ad referred to the business as "Columbia Supply Store, 'The Firestone Store.'" This seems to be the name that stuck, at least for a few years.

For Christmas, 1948, some of the items available at the Columbia Supply Store were:
  • The Marvelous Magic Skin Doll, $4.98
  • The Constructioneer construction set, $9.95
  • The Firestorm Cruiser bike, $49.95 (boys' or girls' model; available on the layaway plan for $2/week)
  • The Sunrise Clock-Radio, $34.95
  • The Dormeyer "Power Chef" Mixer & juicer, $37.50
  • The Firestone Sheraton Grand phonograph player, featuring a cabinet made of imported mahogany, 11 tubes, and twin speakers. This marvelous machine could play both 10" and 12" records, intermixed, all for $299.50 (almost $2,600 in today's money).
  • The Firestone DeLuxe Electric Range, featuring an electric clock and automatic oven timer; a 6 1/2 qt deep-well cooker; an oversized - and illuminated - oven; storage space for pots and pans; and - count 'em - three burners, each one with seven temperature settings. $319.50 (available on layaway at $5/wk).

By late 1948, there were several other stores in Columbia which sold major appliances, including:
  • Community Public Service Co.
  • Paul Young Sales & Service (Frigidaire)
  • Marshall Furniture Store
  • Flatt's Furniture Store (on Campbellsville St. next to the Columbia Locker)
  • Davis Hardware
  • Columbia General Appliance (on Jamestown St., featuring the "sensational full size Philco console radio-phonograph" with more features than an all night drive-in movie marathon, for only $169.95)
  • Adair Farm Supply (GE)
  • Richardson's (Westinghouse)

This story was posted on 2011-12-02 06:59:44
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