Residents stroll back in time during 1950s Vintage Business Tour

GTNS photo by Grace King

Sam Riepe, owner of The Vintage Raven, dresses as a 1950s-style department store clerk to honor during Vintage Business Tour on Thursday, May 23. The Vintage Raven was once Hoaglin’s Department Store.
GTNS photo by Grace King Sam Riepe, owner of The Vintage Raven, dresses as a 1950s-style department store clerk to honor during Vintage Business Tour on Thursday, May 23. The Vintage Raven was once Hoaglin’s Department Store.

Residents strolled back in time to 1950s Mt. Pleasant during Main Street’s Vintage Business Tour on Thursday, May 23.

In every storefront downtown, a sign was hung describing what the business was in the 1950s and a little trivia about it, thanks to history procured by Main Street Mt. Pleasant. Some store owners even went all out for the theme, dressing up in a 1950s fashion and serving treats from that time period.

At The Vintage Raven, owner Sam Riepe was dressed in 1590s style with a button-down shirt, a tie, slicked-back hair, and held a cigar in his mouth. He played the part of a department store clerk in honor of what The Vintage Raven once was — Hoaglin’s Department Store.

“The coolest thing was they had two monkeys to draw people into the store,” Riepe said. “An awful lot of people have come in and remember and point at where things used to be.”

Riepe said he likes the history of his store a lot, and the owner of the building, Scott Lowe, even named the apartments above The Vintage Raven Hoaglin’s Lofts as a tribute to the department store.

Big Dog Tattoos was formerly Wings Bakery, which Don Van Amerongen said served the best chocolate brownies he’s ever had. The tattoo parlor served cupcakes in honor of the once very popular bakery that formerly inhabited the tattoo parlor.

Walking to the other side of the square, Van Amerongen remembered going to one of the restaurants after every Friday night football game with the team.

Another block over, Van Amerongen reminisced about when his dad worked for Fankhauser Dairy, which is now West Liberty Foods.

“I’m pretty sure if we look in the old books at home, there’s a picture of him at Fankhauser’s Dairy,” Van Amerongen said.

Van Amerongen also recalled purchasing his school books downtown. His mom would buy him two spelling books — one for school and one for home — because he was so bad at spelling, he said.

“When I heard about (Vintage Business Tour), I thought we should come to town and walk around,” Van Amerongen said. “It’s interesting to think back at some of the stores that were here and what we would do.”

Sandy Hayes moved to Mt. Pleasant in 1967, but she could still recall some of the businesses that were on display during Vintage Business Tour. She still has a necklace she purchased from Martha Brown, which she said was a fancy clothing and jewelers store in town.

Hayes also recalled eating sweets from Wing’s Bakery, the Princess Cafe and The High Hat. “That really packed ‘em in,” she said.

Ellen Spence, with West Liberty Foods, remembers getting ice cream at Fankhauser Dairy when she was around five-years-old.

“Of course when you’re getting ice cream it’s a happy memory,” she said.

Byron Perron, with Sound Advice, recalled visiting the building as a child when it was the Brazleton Hotel.

“I remember a grand staircase that went up into the second floor. As a kid I came in once or twice,” Perron said.

Sound Advice was also once Harlan’s News Stand, the Mt. Pleasant Chamber of Commerce and more.

Marsha Laux, with Simply Thrive, displayed some items she found in the basement from when the building was Walker’s Food Market. She had a lot of various containers and bottles and an electric sign for ice cream.

“I love learning about history and those who have walked before us to make it all possible,” Laux said. “As we uncover these treasures, they tell you a story.”

Mary Garmoe, with Batter & Dough (and more), served vintage 1950s snacks of ambrosia salad, jello, olive cheese twists and Shirley Temples. Although her storefront used to be Decker Furniture, she said that furniture was often used for parties.

“I really couldn’t bring up furniture from the 1950s, so I thought why not have snacks they served at parties?” Garmoe said.

Kathy Hopkins, with Quilter’s Paradise, transformed her storefront into a 1950s Sears and Roebuck Department Store. She hauled in wicker furniture, a red bicycle, a mannequin wearing a poodle skirt, a gumball machine and more.

“I have big windows, and I love antiques,” Hopkins said. “It’s an awesome idea. I’m really excited about the things we found out about who was here and when.”