The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on February 2, 1986 · Page 43
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 43

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, February 2, 1986
Page 43
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The Sallna Journal Sunday, February 2,1986 PageS? Centennial spotlight Personal service believed key to Vemoris longevity By KAREN MEIS Staff Writer On Sept. 4,1884, Samuel J. Strickler placed the following advertisement in The Saline County Journal — "The new jewelry store is now open ', and ready for business. We are a very nice stock of watches, clocks and jewelry which we sell very cheap, quality considered. Our '. prices are as low as the lowest, and goods are as good as the best. Come see us at the Opera House Corner." That was almost 102 years ago, and . the start of what is ;now Vernon Jew; elers of Salina, 123 N. Santa Fe. For many years it was' thought Strickler began the business -in 1886, but a recent check of historical records revealed the 1884 birth of the business. Pat Reinbold, manager of Vernon Jewelers, credits the business's lon- • gevity to personal service. "Our personal service keeps the • store going. Every one of its owners '. has had family involvement, and all : of them have been active in the Reinbold community," she said. "It's important to treat (clients) like a friend rather than a customer. People always come back when they're treated right." Reinbold's parents, Richard and Betty Roth, Summerland Key, Fla., are the owners of Vernon Jewelers. Shortly after Strickler opened his jewelry store, his son, Benjamin A., purchased the business and moved to the building still occupied today by Vernon Jewelers. At the time it was called B.A. Strickler Jeweler. Jeannette Langel, Topeka, daughter of Benjamin Strickler and granddaughter of Samuel Strickler, said the store was originally both wholesale and retail. It distributed plated silver throughout Kansas and ground lenses for optical work because no optical companies existed at the time. "They also had watchmaking inspection; railroad engineers, conductors and the like had to have their watches inspected regularly. Everyone who worked on the railroads did," Langel said. Popular-selling items then were silver spoons for graduation mementoes and cups and saucers for birthday gifts, Langel said. The busiest times of the year were Christmas Eve, when "the whole family went to work," and June weddings and graduations. "My father (Benjamin) didn' f shout from the rafters or cause a big hullabaloo; he was conservative, but sincere," Langel said. She cited the example of Benjamin Strickler's annual tradition of ordering vases of fresh-cut red carnations to decorate his store for the holidays. Langel said her father did not believe in "fake" Christmas decorations and refused to decorate his jewelry store with them. Upon Strickler's retirement in 1943, Vernon A. Webster obtained ownership of the business, which then acquired its present name. Webster also owned a jewelry store in Hays from 1936 until his death in 1980, which also is known as Vernon Jewelers. Webster's brother, O.K. Webster, 316 S. Eleventh, said there was a reason why the store was named "Vernon" rather than "Webster." Family members owned two other jewelry stores in Salina at the time — Courlny V«mon J»w»l«r« About 100 years ago, B.A. Strickler first moved into the storefront that today is Vernon Jewelers. Monty Dovll the O.K. Webster Jewelry Store and the Barton Webster Jewelry Store, both on Santa Fe. Therefore, Vernon did not want his store to be "another Webster." Both O.K. Webster and his brother, Barton, 608 S. Phillips, said there was never any competition among the three brothers, despite their each owning a jewelry store located within the same block. "We never considered a joint business; it was just easier for every Golden Anniversary Wholesaler began from tailgate of a station wagon By LAURIE OSWALD Staff Writer ! When George Lamone began sell; ing candy and tobacco in 1936, he carted five brands of cigarettes and 20 kinds of candy in a station wagon to neighborhood grocery stores and gas stations. Today, his son, Mike Lamone, president and owner of the Lamone Candy and Tobacco Co., 639 N. Ohio, sells more than 200 brands of cigarettes, 400 kinds of candy and grocery items to 700 customers in a 90- mile radius. Lamone bought the company from his father in 1978, he said. His father formally established the company in 1957, after he had spent some 20 - years selling items for the G.E. ' Stevens Tobacco Co. Although the wholesale business has become increasingly sophisticated over the years, one of the biggest transitions occurred in 1984, Lamone said. During that year Lamone added grocery items to its list of goods, and began to service convenience stores that offer a wide array of items. Lamone moved the business to a warehouse double the size of the previous facility, and added four more employees to a roster of 18. He also purchased larger trucks. As convenience stores — glorified gas stations which now offer deli food and groceries as well as fuel — have boomed, so has his business burgeoned, Lamone said. "We still service drugstores, restaurants, motels, movie theaters and ballparks — that's been our main business all these years," Lamone said. "But since we've expanded, we are now looking at the convenience store market." Products now stored in their warehouses include candy, tobacco, cigarettes, cigars, paper and plastic 1 AXIOM Monty Dovli Lamone Candy and Tobacco has moved into a new warehouse. products, health and beauty aids, sundries and groceries and restaurant supplies, Lamone said. The company does not sell beer, bread or milk. "We feel there is a real void in this area," Lamone said. "We have the same prices and the same stuff as other companies, but people are more important to us than the products we sell." A long tradition of changes helps Lamone face the challenges of 1986, Lamone said. Although the business is still in the transition stages from offering a few items to offering a .gamut of products, he remembers the past and looks to the future. The company has progressed from simpler days, Lamone said. "In the days when my dad sold tobacco, if a man was out of Skoal, he would stand on the street corner and wait for him to drive by," During World War II when tobacco was rationed, people would ask for their allotment of Camel cigarettes by asking for one Hump or two Humps, Lamone said. Now, Lamone's worries are not rationing but transporting, storing and marketing the new products he sells, Lamone said. However, he is optimistic about 1986, because "we have a year of breaking in behind us. "It was new for everybody, but now that we have that behind us, we can concentrate on servicing people the way we like to," Lamone said. one of us to run his own," O.K. Webster said. "It wouldn't have been profitable any other way." Although their parents were farmers, involvement in the jewelry business was a family tradition. Another brother, Earl, was a jeweler in Florida. An uncle, William Webster, worked for Samuel Strickler in the original store. Vernon Jewelers was purchased by the Roths in 1972, who have retained the Vernon Jewelers name. Reinbold, who "grew up in a jewelry store," said jewelry styles have changed over the years, but the business has its mainstay. "Jewelry styles are just like clothing styles; they make their circles and everything eventually comes back," she said. "Engagement rings and wedding bands are the backbone of the industry, though. They never go out of style. "The future looks very bright. People are becoming more and more interested in service-oriented stores rather than convenience-type stores," she said. "The increased interest definitely keeps the independent jeweler alive; a chain store can't offer the same type of service. "It gets better every year. I love being in the jewelry business and can't think of anything I'd rather be doing." The Best Food Stores in Town Grand Opening Day, Aug. Browing with Salina For Nearly 4 Decades. Serving Salina At These Convenient Locations. •y- SUNSET PLAZA WENDELL SCOTT, STORE MANAGER 511 EAST IRON PHIL BERG, STORE MANAGER SOUTHGATE JOHN DIMIT, STORE MANAGER SOUTHGATE BOB STROBLE, ASST. MANAGER

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