History: Spencer Hardware Stores

Contact: Stan
Email: stan@wiclarkcountyhistory.org

Surnames: Neil, Hanson, Varney, Cool, Luepke, Sampson, Hoops, Fredrickson, McIlhattan, Kortbein, Klatt, Shaefer, Martin, Utter, Teleschow

----Source: Spencer Centennial Book, 1874 1974 (Spencer, Marathon County, Wis.) page 76

Hardware store owners in most cases had tin shops in conjunction with their hardware. The Neil Brothers, who were carpenters by trade, advertised their place as the biggest in line above Stevens Point, and also mentioned roofing and guttering as a specialty. They also sold doors, windows, lime, and coal.

D. M. Hanson had a hardware store for a number of years in his building located at the present site of Breeze Inn. The Varney Hardware was located on the north side of West Clark Street and was later operated by George Cool and Charles Luepke and still later by Alfred Sampson who purchased the business from George Cool in 1928. Mr. Sampson remodeled the second story for living quarters, moving his family there in 1929. Upon his return from the army in 1946, Russell Sampson joined his father in partnership. March 1, 1947 fire destroyed much of the upper story and roof and west wall of the store. To add more space for the operation of the business, a new building was erected on the north side of the old building which is now the Kasper Shoe and Sport Shop. At the time of his retirement in 1957, Mr. Sampson disposed of his merchandise and sold the buildings to Jensen Motors.

August Hoops built and operated a hardware store on Clark Street which he later sold to Alfred Fredrickson, and this became the home of our First Gamble Store.

Lowell and Molly McIlhattan were the owners and operators of that first Gamble Store which they sold to Elroy and Eunice Luepke. The Luepkes later moved their business into a new, modern building which they had erected next door to the west. They sold their store the latter part of 1973 to Mr. and Mrs. Duane Kortbein, who now operate the Spencer Gamble Store.

Others who engaged in the hardware business were Len Klatt; Paul Shaefer, and Al Martin who sold both hardware and groceries; E. C. Utter, and Ed Teleschow.



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