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Sunday, March 9, 2014

A History of Sugarland Industries - Part 3: the Mercantile Store

Now that we've finished the history of Sugarland Industries, I thought we'd look at the subsidiaries that fell under its management.  Recent posts covered the dairy - this week the spotlight is on the Mercantile Store.  

It began operation in 1908 and served as old Sugar Land's 'Walmart.'  Residents bought virtually everything there, excluding dairy products, fresh meat, and produce (fruits & vegetables).  The meat market and Norvik produce store sold from their shops, but they also offered home delivery, as did the dairy.

Here is a short newspaper article published in The Fort Bend Mirror in 1956.  W. H. Dierks gives some interesting details on the Mercantile Store, where he worked.  Here are a couple of photos showing the store's location.
1940 aerial photo showing the location of the old Mercantile Store.

A 1925 ground-view photo of the old Mercantile Store on the left.
A photo of Mercantile Store staff & other retail administrative staff in the Mercantile Store during the 1930s.

The Mercantile Store's grocery counter & staff in the 1930s - W. H. Dierks is one of the men on the left.
A busy day in the Mercantile Store sometime in the late '30s or early '40s - the grocery counter is on the right.
A magnification of the left side of the photo - not the Gene Autry poster.

A magnification of a middle counter - those could be Campbell's Soup cans, but the labels don't look exactly right.

A magnification of the background - the clock says noon and dress patterns are hung on the column.

In January 1952 the Sugar Land Shopping Center opened on the south side of Highway 90A.  The Mercantile Store became the Farm & Home Center, essentially a hardware store and garden center.