Aid Hardware Store
There were many outstanding retail establishments in West Plains, but none lasted longer or drew as much attention as “Aid’s.” Its founder, Charles Theodore Aid, was a tinsmith trained in Pennsylvania who came west seeking his fortune. In St. Louis he heard of boomtowns developing along the new railroads in the Ozarks. First he tried Rogers, Arkansas, but a traveling salesman for Norval-Shapleigh, William Cook, convinced him that West Plains was the place to be. He arrived there right after the railroad and with Cook’s help opened a hardware store. From a tinsmith shop to a hardware store to a department store his business grew through the years as he took advantage of new products and opportunities. His promotional skills and ability to draw huge crowds was extraordinary. In the 1920s Hardware Age Magazine declared Aid Hardware “The Best Small Town Store in Missouri.” The store closed in 1990 after 105 years in business.
Did you know?
- In 1914 Aid Hardware lost over $50,000 in goods alone when a fire broke-out at the phone company on the second floor?
- In the 1920s, Hardware Age Magazine, declared Aid Hardware “The Best Small Town Store in Missouri”?
Funding for the Schoolcraft Journey project on Unlock the Ozarks has been provided by the Missouri Humanities Council.