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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Racket Store a Thayer institution

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Thayer icon, the Racket Store, one door south of the former Thayer News Office, was a favorite place for women to shop for material, sewing goods, shoes and practical items for the kitchen and home.

It was also a favorite place for farm women to spend time while their husbands attended to business on Wednesday sale day and on the traditional Saturday shopping day.

Ethel Adams, affectionately known as "Miss Ethel" was the long time proprietor of the Racket Store up until it closed in 1962.

Ethel, sometime around 1915, had gone to work for the store owner, Mr. J. J. Ferniman, and after a few years bought the business.

Miss Ethel was assisted by her sister Bessie Franke for many years, as well as many other ladies through the years.

The Racket Store took up the east, or lower half, of the first floor of the old Joseph Cockman building.

The Thayer News occupied the other half of the first floor of that building. Roland Williams, publisher of the newspaper, purchased the building sometime around the mid 1930s. (The Masonic Order, as well as others, used the upstairs for meeting space).

Toward the back of the store in the center, sat a big square cast iron stove with several well-worn, round-back wooden chairs, a favorite gathering place for the rural ladies who frequented the store.

A small powder room was in the back beside the back door which led to the alley and an outhouse, the only one in town publicly available to women in that day. The farm women, in many instances, used their egg and cream money to purchase cloth from the bolts stacked on shelves on the right side of the store.

With sewing articles of all kinds, the Racket Store was a favorite haunt for girls of all ages and sometimes us boys went there to get kite string, among other things.

Wal-Mart and the Dollar Stores can't match Miss Ethel's Racket Store. When she stocked something, it stayed right there, unless someone bought it.

In the 1950s she still had those dainty women's high topped lace up dress shoes.

Mention the "Racket Store" to your grandmother and see what she says.

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