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JIM: Columbia Merchants Gear up for Christmas, 1927

The Dillon Drug Company enticed Shoppers with a Toy Wonderland. Two doors away, H. Taylor offered boxed men's four-in-hand ties from 50 cents up and noted that H. Taylor was the sales agent for Atwood Kent radios and Thomas Edison Phonographs. C.R. Barger Insurance was more practical, telling newspaper readers that life insurance would be the best Christmas gift a family could get. Grand old mercantile families and businesses are mentioned: Mrs. George Lowe. S.H. Grinstead, Goff Brothers Store, The Royal Cafe, Young-Moore, Morris Epperson & Frances X Merkely, Murray & Jones, Lerman Bros., new to Columbia that year. And more, in this Christmas shopping.
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Early December 1927 found the U.S. economy humming along, despite a mild recession. In fact, consumer prices had declined a bit, so those with money had more buying power, and with the tobacco markets just opening, Columbia merchants eagerly sought the Christmas trade.

In the December 6th edition of the News, Morrison's meat market offered (oddly enough) candles "suitable for Santa Claus," while a front page card from Russell & Co. (at that time still ensconced in the grand old building on the corner of Jamestown Street and the Public Square), solemnly assured the wee folk, via their parents, that jolly old St. Nick would "be at our store every Saturday until Xmas from 8 to 3 o'clock."

Local entrepreneur Mrs. George Lowe offered handkerchiefs for men, women, and children along with "other novelties for X-mas gifts," and theS.H. Grinstead Co., Phone 69, a produce and poultry house, encouraged turkey producers to sell to them early to get the best prices. H. (Herb) Taylor, his Men's Shop already well established in Columbia, had no fewer than three ads in paper that week, one for a free pair of trousers with every tailored suit ordered; another proclaiming a three-day bargain blowout; and the third for "a most excellent display of Christmas ties," priced at fifty cents to two dollars. One of the ads mentioned in passing that he also was local sales agent for Atwood Kent Radio and Edison Phonographs.

The Dillon Drug Co. enticed Christmas shoppers with the promise of a Toy Wonderland with everything from simple toys to elaborate creations "with which to please the children;" the Goff Brothers Store was "well stocked with seasonal goods," everything from ladies' galoshes to stair carpet. The Royal Cafe suggested Whitman's Candies as "the gift that's always acceptable," and Young-Moore Co. assured readers anything bought at their store would "bear the stamp of quality."

C.R. Barger Insurance reminded wage earners that a solid life insurance policy was the best gift a man could give his family, and Messrs. Morris Epperson and Frank Merkley were practically popping buttons off their advertising vest with news the first-year-of-production Ford Model A would be available for viewing in Columbia on December 17th at their Adair Sales Co. showroom.

Albin Murray & Lula Jones of the firm Murray & Jones, next door to the News office, Phone 12, one of Columbia's stand-alone big box stores of the era, offered hats, shoes, underwear, furniture, rugs, mattresses, Queensware, and myriad other clothing and household items a seasonal savings prices.

Lerman Bros., a chain store addition to the Columbia shopping scene earlier in the year, occupied the brand new Miller Building near the north corner of the square. It got into the spirit of Christmas giving by announcing "a worthwhile prize to the student obtaining the highest scholastic average at the end of the first semester." Details were to follow in the next week's paper.

Images of the Dillon Drug Co. ad and one of the H. Taylor ads appear elsewhere on this page.

This story was posted on 2017-12-02 05:37:28
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Toyland sale at The Dillon Drug Co, Columbia, KY - in 1927

2017-12-02 - 204 Public Square, Columbia, KY - Photo from the collection of JIM.
This image from the December 6, 1927 News. G.W. Dillon of Breeding bought the Russell & Taylor Drug Store on the square in July 1922 and took over management on August 1st. Mr. Dillon died in April 1930 and before the end of May, his widow sold the business to Dr. Thomas Brown and wife, then residents of Campbellsville. (In that era, pharmacists ofttimes were accorded the honorific of "Doctor".) Toward the end of 1957, Mr. Brown sold the operation to a young man named John D. Lowe III.

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