The Five and Dime Store

 

 

The following article appeared in the 1963 special edition of The Post Star celebrating Warren County Sesquicentennial.  It appears here as it was presented in that paper.  The Five and Dime stores were at one time quite popular.  Glens Falls had a Woolworth store and a Kresege store practically on top of one another on Glen Street, both stores closing in the 1990s.  The Woolworth store has since become permanent home for the Charles R. Wood Theater.  The Kresege store has been a series of businesses over the years.

 

City’s First Dime Store Was Sensation in 1889

 

        The so-called “dime stores” in Glens Falls today are accepted common-places, but the first ten-cent store, opened in the Long Block in October 1889, by the late Roswell W. Sherman, created nothing short of a sensation.

 

        The late Mrs. Sherman, who assisted her husband in the business, later recalled that in the early days of the store a score of persons could often be seen outside, waiting for the doors to open, and that others would linger in the aisles long after closing hours – not to buy anything, but to remark on the variety of the merchandise and ponder the question as to how it could be sold so cheaply.

 

        And no 9 to 5:30 business hours were observed in those days.  The store opened at 8 every morning and remained open until 9 every night, although it was often 11 before the last customer had exhausted his curiosity, Mrs. Sherman said.

 

         R. W. Sherman was a native of Watertown, the home town of F. W. Woolworth, who he knew well. Before coming to Glens Falls, he and Mrs. Sherman operated a Woolworth store in Tonawanda, Pa, soon after establishing the store here, under the name, “Sherman’s Five and Ten Cent Store,” he purchased the Long Block in Glens St., today the site of the Hertz Jewelry Store, Silverman’s and part of the Cohoes Manufacturing Co. store.  The store continued until 1921, operating successfully to the last, even though a Woolworth store had been established several years earlier.  In 1921 the stock was sold, but Mr. Sherman retained possession of the building for some time after.

 

        Sherman’s Five and Ten was literally a five and ten cent store.  Nothing sold for a higher price.  The store was divided in two sections:  on one side merchandise was on sale for a nickel; on the other side, goods were sold for a dime.  Mr. Sherman was of course familiar to all the children of that day, and Mrs. Sherman remembered their remarking, “There goes the five and ten” when they met him on the street.

 Downtown Glens Falls, probably the late 1950s showing the Woolworth and Kresge Stores.

        The store was largely patronized in the summer by members of the surrounding resort colonies, who annually laid in supplies of dishes and silver and other household needs from the Sherman stocks.  The store attracted trade from a large surrounding area, since it was, of course, the first in this area.

       Mr. Sherman operated a dance hall above the store, and Sherman’s Hall was for years one of the best places of its kind in the community.  Mr. Sherman supervised it carefully, and it was never rented to any but the most respectable groups.  Mrs. Sherman recalls that her husband on several occasions refused double the usual rental from persons of whom he did not approve.

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        Glens Falls later was home to an F. W. Woolworth, an S. S. Kresge Co., a W. T. Grants and probably others that were built on the idea of a 5 & 10 cent store, but no such stores remain today.  Perhaps the closest business we have today is the dollar store; instead of 5 cents or ten cents, everything is a dollar.  Another such business might be Five Below – where the cost of everything is $5 or less.

 

This column was prepared by Stan Cianfarano, Warren County Historian,

for the Warren County Historical Society.

 

Warren County Historical Society // 50 Gurney Lane // Queensbury, NY 12804 // (518) 743-0734

 

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