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History Monday: Ben Franklin Variety Store, 1961

By Mike Watson

Roaming the isles of 'Ben Franklin' was the dream of every child in the yesteryear. How many of you recall the delight of a visit to the bright and shiny variety store with long rows of the best toys to be had, perhaps in all of Columbia?

The Ben Franklin was a Big Deal in Columbia in 1961 as evidenced here by several items from the Adair County News:


  • 5 July 1961--Ben Franklin to Open: J.D. Harper's IGA Super Market closed last week and a Ben Franklin variety store will open in its place. The opening date has not yet been announced.

  • Absolute Auction ad--Friday night, July 14: Complete line of Super Market and Grocery Fixtures of the former IGA Store, located on the Square in Columbia; to make way for Ben Franklin Store. Sold by Wolford & Downey Auction Service for M.C. Loy, owner.

  • 19 July 1961: Extensive remodeling has started on the former IGA store on the Public Square here to make the interior suitable for the Ben Franklin variety store which will be put in... Its opening will be announced later.

  • 20 September 1961: Mr. Gene Murrell, of Columbia, will manage the new Ben Franklin variety store that will have its grand opening tomorrow, Thursday. This store is one of a group of more than 2,400 variety stores that operate under a franchise arrangement with Butler Brothers, national distributors.

    The locally owned and operated store will feature self-service and is located in the building formerly occupied by Harper's IGA Market.


This story was posted on 2020-08-10 06:54:18
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