Morrow County Reflections: The Peoples Store, supermarket in the early 1900s

A popular Cardington picture post card from the early 1900s is that of The Peoples Store, founded and built in 1897 by Henry Axthelm and C. F. Heimlich. The men had earlier owned and operated a grocery store for 10 years in a building on the south side of West Main Street.

They constructed the new business, The Peoples Store, on the north side of West Main Street (now the site of Cardington Home and Auto). The men were later joined in the store’s operation by Henry’s brother, Ferd, Charlie Kirkpatrick, Will Ruehrmund and J. O. Miller.

The store was a combination of dry goods and groceries and had two front entrances, with the dry goods on the east side, managed by Heimlich and the groceries on the west side managed by Henry. A swinging screen door inside make it easy to go from one side to the other.

They even brought their products directly to customers’ doors in the village via delivery trucks and to those in the country on a “huckster wagon” five days a week.

The store’s proximity to the railroad made it easy to ship the many turkeys and other poultry to the east for holidays. In an interview with the Morrow County Independent in 1957, Ferd recalled seeing large flocks of turkeys numbering 200-300, driven through the streets of Cardington to the store where they were dressed, packed in barrels and shipped by railroad to Hartford, Connecticut, where they were sold to customers for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The store also shipped live chickens, ducks and geese throughout the year. Likewise, the railroad was depended upon to bring items to the store to be sold. Carloads of sugar and oyster shells were purchased by the store to be sold.

Ferd said salt, beans, oatmeal and other staples were displayed in large barrels and tubs. Fine cut tobacco was displayed in 10-pound balls. A pound of coffee was 10 cents and eggs were eight cents a dozen. All meats in the store were smoked.

The store survived World War I and the Depression, but was sold in the early 1930s and became a more conventional market.

The Peoples Store supermarket would surely have its place in today’s business world.

70 years ago, September, 1947: A report issued by the Ohio Division of vital statistics revealed more babies were born to Morrow County mothers in 1946 than in any year in the county’s 99-year history. A total of 308 babies were born to resident mothers of Morrow County in 1946 as compared with 255 born in 1945.

Nearly 89 percent of the 308 babies born in 1946 were born in hospitals. Male births outnumbered female births in the county in 1946. Due to this 1946 total, the population increased in the county from 15,646 in 1940 to an estimated 16,115 in 1946.

The 321 customers served by the Cardington waterworks system drank water this month from one of the two new wells drilled last spring on the Paul B. Maxwell farm, about a mile north of Cardington.

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By Evelyn Long

The Sentinel

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