‘Top of the Mornin’ to ya, and happy almost St. Patrick’s Day! I’m not at all Irish, but I do get a kick out of this holiday…there’s just something about little green men who are a wee bit ornery and have tabs on a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!
Welcome back to another offering of the Blast. This week’s stroll down King Street takes us across the street from the former American Legion building to the former home of
Crownover’s. This was a popular dry goods store located in what used to be Weekend Warrior several years ago, beside Select Family Restaurant on West King Street.
Being drawn to old stores in general, Crownover’s caught my attention because so many people have mentioned this store as being one where their parents (Mom in particular) shopped for
material and other sewing notions to make clothes, for not only herself, but for her children as well. One friend shared that she remembered going to Crownover’s with her mother to pick out
material for dresses that she would later wear. “My mother made all of my clothes and I remember going to Crownover’s for everything she needed. There was a big table in the center
of the store where the material was laid out and cut precisely to order. I was young; probably 8 or 10 years old, but I remember this store and the old wooden floors.”
The late Jake Crider also shared stories with me about going to town on Friday or Saturday nights with his parents, and Crownover’s was one of the last stores his mother would stop at
before heading back to McClay’s Mill. He said his mother would always stop there to pick up whatever sewing notions and other dry goods she needed.
“We boys were hard on our clothes, Jake said, and there wasn’t always money to buy new ones. But really there wasn’t any need to buy new clothes when you had a mother who could sew like ours did. She made our old clothes look new again with patches, good thread and other items she bought when we went to town.
We very rarely left town without stopping at Crownover’s.”
After doing a bit of research, I learned that H. A. Crownover came to Shippensburg in the early 1920’s from Huntingdon County. He purchased the dry goods stock of Mr. R. Paul Smith’s Dry Goods Store located in the Kell building on the corner of King and Earl Streets, with the address of No. 2 East King Street, in July of 1924.
In August he opened his business under the name of H. A. Crownover’s Dry Goods & Notions. An advertisement in the August 21, 1924 edition of The Chronicle lists a variety of items sold at the store including dress voiles, tissue ginghams,
children’s socks, misses’ gauze union suits and ladies silk hose, among other items.
By Christmastime of the same year, Crownover had expanded his line of merchandise to include ladies neckwear, beads, underarm bags and pocketbooks,gifts for men and much more. I
believe it is safe to assume Mr. Crownover was doing a brisk business and was making quite a name for himself in Shippensburg.
By July of 1928, Crownover’s Store was making headlines and H. A. Crownover was listed in ‘Who’s Who in Shippensburg’ in the July 10, 1928 edition of The News-Chronicle. The article
introduces the ‘Live, Progressive Firms and People who make up the Business Interests of the Shippensburg District’ and Crownover captured the spotlight.
The introduction reads ‘Dollars Talk, Here they Shout’ and the proceeding story goes on to talk about the character and good nature of Mr. Crownover: ‘You never hear of a customer of
Crownover’s Dry Goods Store complain about the merchandise or the cost. The reason why, is because there is nothing to complain about. This store is a value store, higher values at lower prices, the lowest price for standard brands and merchandise, merchandise that you are looking for, a store where both classes and masses are always given a square deal. Everything for every member of the family can be found at Crownover’s. The slogan of this store, established here
for years , is “Crownover Sells It For Less,” and one factor, of many, that has added considerably to the success of Crownover’s is that Mr. Crownover makes it his hobby to greet each customer.
He personally sees to it that his needs are taken care of, and to assist him or her in every way possible. He is a host and meets his guests with true hospitality, and you can find him in the
store from the early hours of the morning until night!”
By 1934 H. A. Crownover was in partnership with L. P. Teal and was set to lease a new store room on the opposite side of the street from Charles Viener, proprietor of Veiner’s Underselling
Store on East King Street. Crownover managed the store in its new location until L.P. Teel’s death in early 1936. Upon Mr. Teel’s death, Mr. and Mrs. H.A. Crownover became sole owners
of the business and on Friday, April 24, 1936 they opened Crownover’s, a dry goods & notions
store in the Veiner Building, with all new stock and an extensive line of items for the entire family.
Crownover’s continued to operate their business at the East King Street location for years before relocating to the West side of King Street. As I have come to realize, many people never
knew (or can remember) of Mr. Crownover’s earlier business success prior to the store location on West King Street; in reality, anyone who could has long since passed on. Stay tuned for Part
2 of Crownover’s Store next week.
As always, if anyone has information, photos or memories they would like to share, please reach out to me by calling the office (717-532-4101) and leave a message, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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