Verde Heritage By Glenda Farley, Cottonwood, AZ Local historian Glenda Farley guides us on a journey back in time to discover fascinating moments that make up our Verde heritage and history.
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
1923: MERCHANTS DECLARE HOLIDAY BUSINESS A RECORD BREAKER
"Christmas business in the Verde district was a disappointment in just one respect: Hardly a single merchant had laid in enough holiday goods to supply the demand. Almost everyone underestimated the extent of the Christmas trade. For several years the district had been in the throes of a depression and many were afraid to lay in extensive supplies for the holiday season."
"But that depression is over. If there was anything needed to convince the merchants of that fact, the unexpected scramble for gifts did it. As a result, they face the year 1924 full of hope and confidence. Plans for expansion that were being held in abeyance have now taken definite form."
"Almost every store was compelled to put on extra help for the last week or two of the rush. Many were unable to secure the salespeople needed. But they all had splendid business and on the day after Christmas they were faced by empty shelves. Only remnants were left and some establishments did not have a single thing in the way of holiday goods left over."
"UNITED VERDE EXTENSION COMMISSARY: 'We see now that we made a great mistake in not stocking up more heavily,' declared J. M. Foster, manager of the U. V. Extension commissary department at Clemenceau. 'As a result we lost a great deal of good business. We are more than satisfied with the Christmas trade.'"
"VERDE FURNITURE CO.: Perhaps the most surprised merchant in the whole district was John MacIntyre, proprietor of the Verde Furniture company, Cottonwood. For several months the new MacIntyre building, occupying the site of the old one, has been in course of construction and the store has been practically closed. But the holiday goods, ordered months in advance, were unpacked and displayed in the new building, on the Friday before Christmas. MacIntyre supposed that most of the buying had been done and expected to get rid of only a few odds and ends. But from that time until late on Christmas eve the store was literally overrun with eager buyers and practically the entire stock was cleaned out."
"RILEY'S VARIETY STORE: 'I'll admit that I plunged in buying for the Christmas trade,' remarked Harry Riley, of Riley's Variety Store, Cottonwood. 'I laid in an immense stock and many of my friends warned me that I had gone too strong, that I never would be able to sell half of it. At the start I was a little fearful myself, but the results show that I made no mistake. Our store looks as though a cyclone had been along and carried everything away. It was a cyclone, too --- a cyclone of gift buyers.'"
"WINGFIELD COMMERCIAL CO.: 'We did the best holiday business that we have enjoyed since engaging in business at Clarkdale,' stated R. W. Wingfield, manager of the Wingfield Commercial company. 'We have almost no toys left and in other lines the buying was equally brisk. If we were not satisfied we would indeed be hard to please.'"
"THE REXALL STORES: 'Don't bother me,' groaned W. M. Swisher, manager of the Clarkdale Pharmacy and Jerome Drug company. 'I'm too busy writing orders for new stock. They not only cleaned out our holiday goods but also took a lot of other articles out of our regular stock that we had figured on carrying over into the next year.'"
"CENTRAL PHARMACY: 'Our store looks so bare since Christmas that I am ashamed of it,' mourned Charles M. Connor, proprietor of the Central Pharmacy, Jerome. 'A week before Christmas our stock was so thoroughly picked over that I was almost sorry to see a customer come in. I' made 'preparations for the holiday trade, but I could not forsee its volume. In my opinion there was more Christmas buying than ever before in the history of the camp.'"
"D. J. SHEA COMPANY: 'I'm dead on my feet,' declared John D. Connolly of the D. J. Shea company. 'Our trade was better this Christmas than it has been for several years past and they certainly kept us on the jump. Jerome always was the best camp in the world and it's better today than ever. We look for a real revival of the old-fashioned good times in 1924 and are preparing to care for a steadily and largely increasing business.'"
"KOVACOVICH MERCANTILE CO.: 'Our holiday trade has been better than good, it has been splendid,' said Haydee Lane at the Kovacovich store. 'We couldn't complain if we wanted to, for although the stocks were large and complete, we sold out practically every bit of holiday stuff that we laid in and could have sold more. The trade was better than for several years past and we believe it will be better still in 1924.'"
"JEROME MEAT COMPANY: 'Not a kick in the world, my boy, not a kick in the world,' declared Jim Wingfield of the Jerome Meat company. 'We figured that the old camp had a come back --- and our figuring was right. Our holiday trade was even better than we expected, and we set our sights pretty high at that. It has been the best December we have had for some years and you may tell our friends that we appreciate it.'"
"SCOTT & McMILLAN: 'I have been in Jerome for nine years,' said J. P. Scott of Scott & McMillan, 'and this is the biggest holiday trade we have ever done. We had prepared for something of a rush, but some of our lines of Christmas goods were sold out three weeks ago and there is practically nothing left. Our furniture business was also much better than we had expected and we haven't a kick in the world.'"
"HIGRADE STUDIO: 'We have been just as busy as we could be all through the month,' said A. S. Houghton of the Higrade studio, 'and the rush isn't over yet. It was the best holiday trade we have had for some years and it shows that the Billion Dollar Copper Camp is absolutely O. K. and is up and coming again.'"
"JEROME MERCANTILE CO.: Val Harris of the Jerome Mercantile company was found gazing more or less gloomily over the wreckage of what had been a big stock. 'I'm just trying to figure out how much new stock I have to buy," he explained. 'They certainly cleaned me out properly --- and I had prepared for a big holiday trade too. It has been the best Christmas we have had in years and what I like best about it is that people bought more sensible presents than is usually the case. I have been wiring in orders for a couple of days and we will be in shape to supply our customers in a day or two. It is simply marvellous, the way the camp has come back and we look for a big and prosperous year in 1924.'"
"JEROME DRUG CO.: Dave Lopez, who is in charge at the Jerome drug store in the absence of Frank Gassoway in Phoenix, said the store had done a wonderful holiday trade, and that it is about cleaned out of holiday goods. 'The trade was far and away beyond what we had expected,' he said, 'and I am sure that I voice Mr. Gassoway's sentiments when I say that we are appreciative of the splendid patronage we enjoyed.'"
"STARR JEWELRY CO.: 'We had the best holiday trade since we began business,' said E. E. Starr. 'We put in the largest stock we had ever carried and we miscalculated at that. I had to wire several times for additional goods and then didn't have enough. The best part of it is that the demand was for goods of high quality. We are more than satisfied and wish to thank our friends for their splendid patronage.'"
"MINER'S GROCERY: 'Our trade this year was much better than that of a year ago,' said A. Kauzlarich of the Miner's Grocery company. 'We haven't a particle of kick coming and we certainly appreciate the business our patrons gave us. Our stock was complete before the holidays began --- and it is in sad need of replenishing now, but we have heavy shipments of new goods coming in every day and will soon be in good shape again with fresh stocks.'"
"HARRY KROTINGER: 'This has been the best Christmas we have had in years,' said Harry Krotinger. 'The December trade was all that we had hoped and more. One of the most pleasing things about it was the demand for clothing of the better class which kept the shop on the jump all through December.'"