Friday, March 18, 2016

A Successful Businessman

     F. E. Goldsberry was a very successful businessman in Athens.  This picture of his hardware store was taken from the Centennial Atlas of Athens County, published in 1905.  Here is the accompanying article in the Atlas:

     As the article states, he was a hard-working young man, who began working at the age of 16, working as a store clerk and driving a huckster (peddler) wagon through Meigs and Athens County.
     At the age of 22 (when he found out that Mary Ashworth was pregnant) F. E.  left town to work on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad, working as a news butcher.  A news butcher walked up and down the aisles of the train, selling newspapers and other small items.  He must have managed the money he made very well, because within six years of returning from out west, he purchased the store and inventory from George Ullom.  Ullom is who he had worked for before venturing out west.

The route of the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad

     F.. E. seemed to have a knack for marketing and promotion.  An 1896 ad in the Athens Messenger and Herald touts the fact that he sells on a cash-only basis.  He also had a promotion of giving a meal ticket to any customer buying $3.00 or more of hardware:

     An article similar to the story in the Atlas, with more detail, appeared the next year on the front page of the Athens Messenger:

     I was amused by the ad for White Lead Paint.  Have any of you struggled as I have in removing that old lead paint safely?

     F. E. must have sold the store in 1911, and then had to take ownership back, which was front page ad-worthy!

     It was also front-page news when F.E. sold the store in 1945.  According to the article about F. E.'s retirement, posted earlier, his store had been in business longer (50 years)  than any other business on Court Street.

     F. E. was also Secretary of Athens County Savings and Loan.

     It's sad that he was so successful and let his first-born son, Clarence, struggle his whole life.His other children had a much easier life, probably best-known was Dr. Blaine Goldsberry.

     F. E. Goldsberry died in 1950 at the age of 83 and was buried in the West Union Street Cemetery.


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