In last week’s column I invited you to take a short trip north on Highway 52 and encouraged you to visit the spectacular Fillmore County History Center in beautiful Fountain, Minn. Hopefully, many of you took the time to visit the awesome museum and enjoyed seeing the painting done by Aaron L. Sleyster – “The Dam Over The Root River,” which was located on the Root River in Preston decades ago.
Perhaps while you were in Fountain you may have also stopped for some shopping or at least some browsing, at the famous southeastern Minnesota furniture store known as Drury’s!
Did you know that the hugely successful store has been in operation since 1925? That is a very long time for one business to be in existence and it is still going strong!
The history of Drury’s is a rich one indeed. Please visit their website and you will learn some interesting things about it and you will also see 11 wonderful, historic pictures! Some are old family pictures and several give a look back into the very earliest days of the operation. It is a tantalizing story of how it all began!
Reuben C. Drury, one of eight children (my dad, Jim Drury’s brother), was a very ambitious man! When he was just 20 years old he was sent by his boss, H. P. Ferdinandt of Preston, to Fountain, Minn., to open a new furniture store. Reuben did just that, the two formed a partnership, and thus began selling in earnest!
The ambitious young man did not let any grass grow under his feet, and seeing the bright future that obviously lay before him, promptly bought out his partner! Reuben wasted no time changing the name of the store to R. C. Drury Furniture.
The rest is history and I’d say there are not many people in this region who have not heard of this beautiful and highly successful store!
The following is a news release letter that Reuben’s son, David Drury, shared. Written on March 5, 1925, Reuben sent it out to all of his prospective customers:
F O U N T A I N
F U R N I T U R E
C O M P A N Y
March 5, 1925
A new furniture store will be opened in Fountain on March 7th, whose aim and ambition will be to serve the people of this vicinity in such a manner as to merit their constant patronage. QUALITY, VALUE and SERVICE will be the watch words and the foundation on which this business will be built.
It was with these three words in mind that the opening stock of furniture, rugs, pianos, etc., was selected and you are cordially invited to stop in at your earliest opportunity and see the many beautiful things that are being offered. The furniture was selected from the offerings of this country’s foremost manufacturers, as was also the rugs of which there is a variety of beautiful patterns to select from. One item that is worthy of particular mention is the SANDURA RUG, a felt base rug of unusual merit. While this rug costs no more than the ordinary kind, the quality is far better, it being absolutely waterproof in construction and a great deal heavier. The designs are of the very newest and are most artistic.
In connection with this store will also be operated a first class Undertaking and Funeral service, including Embalming, Conducting and Motor Hearse. Polite, courteous service, such as is desired in time of bereavement, will be rendered at all times.
FREE! As a means of becoming acquainted and as a souvenir, an 18 x 36 inch, Sanolin Mat will be given absolutely free – to everyone returning this letter.
Assuring you that it will give us great pleasure to have you stop in and look over our lines and trusting that you may have this opportunity real soon, we remain,
Yours very truly,
FOUNTAIN FURNITURE COMPANY,
Per R. C. DRURY.”
The rest is history and for sure, Reuben C. Drury built a phenomenally, successful business in the heart of southeastern Minnesota!
Two pictures accompany today’s column, both items are antiques I found at household auctions years ago. The “H. P. Ferdinandt,” flour sifter is missing its handle but in spite of that flaw it reflects the rich history and forerunner of Drury’s store.
The other item is a keeper. Some of you may even remember when these were handed out by Drury’s, when Reuben first opened his new store. It was in the condition shown in this picture when I bought it at the auction, but the rough shape it appears to be in does not hinder its usefulness and I still utilize it almost daily. The strong steel handle holds the dust pan in place thus one does not even have to bend over to pick up whatever falls in, just a super tool! The two digit phone number – “40,” clarifies that it is a very old item!
I love how “back in the day” those old advertising items made use of every inch of space on the object so as to mention everything their business rendered! Printed on the dustpan are the following lines:
R. C. DRURY FURNITURE
FUNERAL AND AMBULANCE
PHONE 40 FOUNTAIN, MINN.
This Will Save Your Back
We Will Save You Money
Next week there will be more coming your way about the family of the man, Reuben C. Drury, who built the best furniture store in the region, Drury’s, in beautiful Fountain, Minn!