Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Arthur And Helen Quackenbush - The Quackenbush Store, Eugene, Oregon

"If you can't find it, go to Quackenbush's. They will have it." The statement was true. Anything and everything from jewelry to silver and exquisite china, pots and pans to toys, farm tools and iron stoves to Basque figurines, Viennese glassware, German clocks, Oregon myrtlewood, Indian baskets, wheelbarrows, even buggies. Name it and somewhere in the delightful labyrinth floors, laden counters, packed shelves, and crowded passages, it would be found.

Singing overhead are the antique change carriers; an early period scales serves the customers. An informal office in plain view on the balcony views the store while messages are called back and forth between office and salespeople, adding to the general informality and friendliness of the pioneer establishment. 

The store, a landmark in Eugene, Oregon for almost seventy years, was founded in 1903 by J. W. Quackenbush and his son, Arthur. It was called J. W. Quackenbush & Son. Opened as a hardware store, it soon spread out into all areas of merchandise. 

When Arthur Quackenbush was married in 1922, his wife became a partner in the enterprise and the store grew rapidly as it developed and emphasized its unique characteristics. The couple operated the business together until January 1970, when Arthur Quackenbush died, soon followed by the death of Mrs. Quackenbush in September 1972.

"Trust, not hardsell a customer" was the slogan of the store and the policy built a large clientele in the community. 

In 1971 the store was doomed to demolition by the Urban Renewal Agency. Persuaded by the Lane County Historical Preservation Committee and the Lane County Historical Society, Mrs. Quackenbush rehabilitated the threatened building. With her assistance, the structure with its many distinctive and unique features was "saved." It is presently being operated by a corps. of old-time employees who are maintaining its former charm and friendliness. 

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