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The Village of Pollock will be observing their 150 Sesquicentennial in July of 2023. One of the main stores in Pollock was the Rodgers Store. On June 30, 1996 Virgil and Bernadean Rodgers celebrated 50 years of operating that store with an open house.
This is the article that was placed in The Milan Standard on June 27, 1996.
Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Rodgers of Pollock will be honored with an open house on Sunday, June 30, 2 to 4 p.m. to recognize them for 50 years of opoerating Rodgers Store in Pollock. The open house is being held at the Pollock Community Building.
Virgil said when he purchased the business it was a pharmacy and gave the following account if its start in the business.
He said he had worked 3 years in a CCC camp and then spent 54 months in the U.S. Army and after his discharge he went to work at the American Can Factory in Chicago, IL. making cream cans.
He said he and Bernard Sinclair had come home to Pollock for the July 4th holiday in 1946.
While there, Henry Briggs, who owned the pharmacy and drug store, told him he should buy the store so he could work closer to his parents, who were getting older and were living in Pollock. He said he had been gone for several years, and while his parents were only in their 50s, at that time he thought “that was old”.
Apparently, he thought that was pretty good advice and on July 6, 1946, he purchaased the store from Mr. Briggs, who also hapened to be his future wife’s uncle. He said he married Bernadean about six months after he purchased the store, and they have operated it together since.
Mr. Biggs had purchased the store from Everett Morlan, and both had operated it as a Register Pharmacy.
He said there were three doctors in Pollock – Dr. Roberts, Dr. Judd and Dr. Little – and the day he purchased the business, the doctors came to the store and asked if they could get him a pharmacy permit and help him fill prescriptions.
Virgil said he got the permit and operated the business as a pharmacy until all the doctors left, possibly 10 to 12 years.
He said when he purchased the business in 1946, Polock was a thriving town with 27 businesses. He said produce was the main business in town and there were 3 grocery stores at the time.
He said Pollock had a stock yards that shipped out livestock, and shipped in wild horses from the west and sold them in the area. He said Earl Copfer was the main shipper.
He said horse and buggy and wagons were common in Pollock and there were 4 hitch racks still in use when he bought the store.
Pollock had an opera house for shows, etc.; 5 garages and gas stations, 3 grocery stores, 2 rural mail routes, depot, post office, hardware store, central telephone, body shop, barber shop, bank, blacksmith, feed mill and clothing store.
He said five stores bought poultry, eggs, cream and etc.
Virgil said his drug store served malts, shakes, sundaes, ice cream in cones or dishes, and everything was 5 cents, such as ice cream, candy, pop, gum, chips, cake, cigars. Cigarettes were 10 cents and 15 cents per pack. He said things have sure changed in 50 years.
Virgil said his dad, Herbert Rodgers, was a barber in Pollock for 60 years, who charged 50 cents for a hair cut and 25 cents for a shave 40 to 50 years ago.
Virgil said after he purchased the store, Tol Holliday told him he had made a bad decision. He said the competition in Pollock was tough, and gave him 6 months before he had to move out of the store.
Virgil said they added groceries at the sotre when other grocery stores went out of business in the late 1950’s, and one in the early 1960’s. He said they had to close out the pharmacy when the doctors moved out of town, which was also about that time.
He said when transportation improved was about the time that businesses started closing out. He said many people would bring in produce and cream, but farmers quit raising chickens and started selling their milk instead of making cream.
He said the produce houses started closing down with Henderson at Laclede being about the last one to operate a route in Pollock, and this also led to the demise of businesses in small town.
He said he and Bernadean have enjoyed their business and the many friends the have had over the 50 years and wanted to thank them all.
He said they would continue to operate the store in the future and they would look forward to greet friends there.