The following story about the Mill
Store was furnished by Mr. Clarence Crocker,
long Glendale resident and manager of the store for
I have no record of the exact date when
the first mill store was constructed and put into operation. All
indications are that it was built somewhere about 1875 or before.*
When I joined Glendale Mills in 1948 as Mill Personnel Consultant and
of the Mill store and it concessions, I found a picture of the original
store along with D.E. Converse company coins and coupons used as cash
purchases by employees along with some papers which gave some details
the old as well as the new store. It was a large two story wood
It not only contained the General Merchandise store but also had space
the Mill Office, Post-Office, and a Doctor’s office. The building stood
the location where the present building stands and was moved in
to the place where a metal warehouse stands today, making room for the
store. When the old store was torn down in the thirties,
Charlie Sams, Postmaster, bought the building to build some houses on
place at Cedar Crossing about one mile above Glendale on the
* (Footnote; While reading an article in my historical
on Dexter Converse since writing the Glendale Mill Story article, I
a one line reference to Albert Twichell which fixes the date of the
construction much earlier than suggested in this article. It states;
“Mr. A.H. Twichell, brother-in-law to Mr. Converse, came to the mill in
as bookkeeper and clerk in the company store”.
This means that the store was constructed during or before 1859.
Clarence Crocker; August 20, 2009)
The new store, built in a L shape, was made of brick and
had two floors. The first floor was used entirely for store purposes.
The second story was divided into two sections. The front part was used
by the store to display merchandise while the right wing had a section
for Masons, Woodman and Redman meetings along with a room for the
Magistrate. I found quite a few copies of warrants when we cleaned out
that section in 1948-49 as well as Woodman paraphernalia. A stairway on
the inside led up to the store merchandise section while stairs on the
outside of the building led up to the right wing.
One of my fondest memories of the company
store goes back to the early thirties when I was just a young
boy. Dad got a dinner break from the mill and we would sometimes
carry him lunch. We met on the outside stairway on the store. Sometimes
dad would go into
the store and buy a package of saltines and a can of sardines. Got both
about a nickel. Sometimes he would buy some candy or some other goodie.
that was living high on the hog. That was like a Sunday School picnic
me. At that time Mr. Haskel Turner, who had replaced Mr. C.A. Sams when
became Postmaster, was bookkeeper. Mr. Banks Thomas, Mr. Spot Hopper
Mr. Andrew Thomas were clerks. Henry Patton, a black man worked part
as janitor. (Many years later, Henry Patton was the janitor at the last
Glendale Elementary School. He was known affectionately by all as
The Mill store has always carried a complete line of
groceries. Barrel molasses, hoop cheese, loose coffee, salt
mackerel and plug tobacco were favorites. A moderate line of
hardware, clothing, shoes and
drugs were maintained. Twice a year, representatives from fine
came to take orders for tailor made suits and coats for both men
women which could be bought on time through the store. Wood and
were also sold by the store as well as a limited line of animal feed.
cord wood was brought to the store by farmers in exchange for groceries
other needs. Someone said that the store could meet the needs of one
the cradle to the grave. They did indeed handle baby clothes and a
could have a casket made through the store or could buy supplies to
one themselves. I disposed of perhaps a hundred or so casket handles,
and brass corner knobs used to decorate the caskets. Many families
their own dead up into the 1920-30s.
Being older than some of its suppliers,
Glendale Mill Store had contracts with all major tobacco companies and
bought cigarettes, snuff and chewing tobacco directly from the
manufacturers. Chewing tobacco was bought in bulk layers packed in
square (10X10) wooden boxes.
The clerk could cut a nickel, dime or larger plug as the customer
It also had contracts with clothiers such as Hanes Underwear and Dickie
Work Clothes and others which were binding until the day they closed
While many believed Mill stores overcharged, they did have to
charge extra to cover their loss through credit and pilferage. Ninety
percent of the mill store business was on credit and pilferage was
always higher in mill stores. For example, I had just returned to my
office from a tour through the mill and was combing my hair. Looking
into the mirror I saw
a person slip a man’s hat under their top coat. On another occasion, I
looking into the mirror on the door of the meat case when I saw a
slip a bag of coffee up their coat sleeve. Both were well known persons
the community and it would have been hard to believe they were
had you not witnessed the act. Of course, I faced both and they
what they had done but no charges were filed against them. We never
charged anyone caught pilfering.
One fact, which not many knew, was that Mill store profits
were limited by labor laws and were checked annually by the State Labor
department. They could be fined for overcharge and excess profits
disbursed to employees if so judged. This did not apply to
personal/public owned stores.
During the prime time of Mill stores,
there were few to no quick title cash or pay day loan places for
persons needing money for emergencies. The mill store did not loan
money but when a person needed cash they would often come into the
store, charge a pair of shoes, a hat, overalls or cartons of cigarettes
to sell to someone at a bargain, for cash.
Mr. Carl Bates, who had replaced Mr.
Turner on his retirement, had retired and Nellene Alley was serving as
bookkeeper and Mr. Pettit was still
General Manager when I joined the company. We discontinued Mr.
Pettit’s service and I hired a new bookkeeper, Howard Lee, with Nellene
returning to a clerk’s position. As the Company was renovating
the Mill and Village, we also renovated the Mill Store. We painted the
interior, installed florescent lights, replaced the old pot belly stove
with steam heat.
Though we never got air conditioning, we used the fans on the heaters
cool in the summer. Removing counters, widening aisles, installing a
glass display meat counter, we converted the store to self service,
with clerks available to assist the customers in their purchases and
charges. We added a paint department, auto tires, batteries, gas
and oil and added new rest rooms. In the fall we put in a large line of
toys and Christmas goods which could be purchased on a lay-away
program.We also carried a small line of furniture such as chairs,
dinette sets, etc. We could and would order most anything a customer
requested within reason.
Our motto was to serve the customer and
would you believe, I preformed a wedding in my office one day. Knowing
that I was a Notary, a couple approached me and asked that I marry
them. I did, and they went out of my office holding hands as a happily
married couple to face a world they had never experienced before.
Though the store had for many years made
delivery to the homes by horse and wagon, they had an old badly worn
truck in 1948 so we purchased a new pick-up truck. We began a lunch
room serving hot and cold sandwiches, etc. at the mill and also a short
order cafe in the new gymnasium. The second story was discontinued for
store use and was renovated for the Mason Lodge. A Doctor/nurse office
was added in the front of the
store building once the small office located on Mill street in front of
mill was relocated and converted into a dwelling.
Among our many employees were, Howard and Katherine Lee,
Nellene Alley, Bob, Jean, Richard, Donnie and Ronnie Ward. Clyde, Frank
and Bud Millwood. Bob and Mary Jo Sams, Forrest Gibson, Johnny Corn,
Willene Hughes, Avery
Minton, Fred Smith, Dorothy Hyder, Gladys Linburg, Kenneth Quinn, Clair
Dillard, Mae Parham, Lucile Cash, Margaret Hatchett, Flora Collins and
The store closed in 1958 and the
sold to the Glendale Masonic Lodge. The Second story is used for
and Eastern Star purposes while the first story is occupied by the
and storage rental space. The outside stairway has been removed with an
being added at the back of the building and the inside stairways are
to reach the second floor.