Bio: Rogillio, Geneva (31 Years at Farmer's Store – 1974)


Surnames: Rogillio, Behrens, McCormick, Drummond, Schwarze, Stuart, Jepsen, Berrett, Carter, Leach, Larson, Webb, Paeschel, Kappus, Mauritz

----Source: Tribune/Record/Gleaner (Loyal, Wis.) 22 Aug 1974

When the Farmers Store Company discontinued their store at Greenwood (Clark Co., Wis.) last week, Mrs. Greg Rogillio has many reflections and memories from her 31 years of clerking in that store. The Farmers Store Co. bought the present building from Foster-Northwestern Railroad Company in 1907. Geneva, as she is known to everyone, recalls her childhood memories of the store when, as a child she would accompany her parents from their farm east of Greenwood on their weekly shopping trip. It was in the early 20's that she recalls a horse barn to the south of the present store, that was used as a shelter for about 20 horses. Iron rings out in front were used as hitching posts. She reminisces, they were never in the store very long before she would head for the bathroom, a most fascinating place, because it had an overhead tank of water that flushed when you pulled a chain. This was the highlight of her trip to town.

Another treat was the free bag of candy that was always tossed in when the groceries were paid with egg money. Sometimes the egg money was enough, with money handed back, but other times a few purchased items had to be put back on the Shelves. Mrs. Helen Behrens of Greenwood was cashier at that time, and Geneva remembers Helen stuffing the metal coin box with change and and a receipt and zooming it back on the overhead wires to the clerks. The store at that time had more departments carrying feed and farm seeds, along with complete dry goods, shoes, and groveries. In the southwest corner on a small balcony, Mr. McCormick had a jewelry repair shop. She remembers a Drummond as being manager at that time.

There was also a "railroad spur" to the west of the store, where feed and merchandise came in by rail. Salesmen also rode the trains and would come in with their trunks of wares.

In June of this year Geneva completed her 31st year in the store. She had worked in every department, but for the past 25 years was in dry goods, where she also was the buyer. Two years ago a central buyer took over and did all the buying for the 15 Farmers Stores. During these years, Mrs. Rogillio has worked with 51 fellow employees. Vive have since passed away – Emil Schwarze, Minette Stuart Jepsen, Duane Berrett, Maud Carter, and Ike Leach.

The five managers were, Alf Larson (22 years), Bill Webb, Darrell Paeschel, Arnie Kappus, and Steve Mauritz.

Geneva says she will really miss meeting all of the people – the townspeople and many from the lakes, who came up from the cities to spend the summer. The little children coming to shop for Mom and Dad's birthday and Christmas gifts. One in particular, she recalls, was a little fellow of about four, who insisted on buying his mom a four pack of light bulbs for her birthday, because he remembered hearing her say that the next time she went to town she would have to get some light bulbs. She can still see his little face as he proudly walked out of the store carrying his wrapped up light bulbs with a big bow on top.

The at 4:00 on Christmas Eve there was always that last minute rush of husbands asking frantically for gift suggestions for their wives. She recalls they were sort of desperate, and she could make a sale on almost anything.

The war years brought back re-collections of taking lists for nylon hose – first on the list got the stocking when they came in. The precious bolts of percales were stored under the counter and sold sparingly. To fill up the rows of empty shelves, the clerks used to line up Beacon Blankets, with spaces in between.

Geneva Rogillio feels that many people still share these memories with her and will miss the Famers Store. The 70 years of the store came to a close last week when the building was sold to Don Decker of Greenwood.



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