“T.L. Jones Mercantile” – 1914          BrewBakers Coffee House & Gifts – 2016

T.L. (Tucker Lon) Jones came to Arnold on March 13, 1912, to manage a general merchandise store that Duckett and Maddox (Custer Hotel site)  had rented to Omar Helton and Thomas Roberts.  Wanting his store to be ready when the trains came, Jones took two wagons loaded with merchandise (pulled by four horses each) from Callaway to Arnold early in the morning.  It took him until late at night to make the 23 mile trip.

Perhaps the first store that sat on this site was Charlie Long’s tiny drug store.  In 1914, Helton and Roberts began building the brick store for T.L. Jones, and completed it that same year.  Jones moved across the street to his new store.  The new store featured such large plate glass windows that it was called the “Daylight Store” when it opened in 1914.   He bought out his partners in 1925 and became the sole owner of “T. L. Jones Mercantile Co.”.  Tucker gave away small crockery containers as premiums with his store lettering on them.  (These are now highly prized by collectors.)

The “Big Fire” in December of 1927 not only destroyed the Duckett Maddox building across the street, but it also did hundreds of dollars of damage to stores on the west side of the street including the huge windows of the T.L. Jones store.

After Jones quit selling clothing in 1928, he carried only grocery stock.  Also, at that time, he divided his store into two places of business.   In the 1940’s, Jones along with three other older businesses, closed their stores.  Jones died in 1944 and his wife died in 1955.

The Brummetts kept the Jones’ Grocery store open until  1942. Clarence Cunningham, who had recently moved his Gamble store to the south space of the T.L. Jones building, took out the partition enabling him to use the entire building.  Clarence had come from Fullerton, NE in 1937 and bought out Robert Jackson’s Gamble store that was located where the Olin TV building was (now Missy Kramer’s Accounting Office).  Jackson had purchased the Gamble store from Orvill Burton, who was the first to open Gambles in the Needham Building in 1935.

Son Wayne Cunningham and partner Robert May bought out Clarence’s interest in 1957. ~During their ownership, a 1950s Sentinel advertised Rayon dresses for $3.98.  The Gamble Store had remained in the Cunningham family for 44 years when they sold it in 1981.

Roger Bombeck became the new owner of “Bombeck’s Hardware” opening in 1982.  Terry and Dena Mills bought the store from Bombecks October 16, 1996 for $15,000, renaming it “Mills Hardware”.

Mills sold it to Julie and Connelley Barton on December 31, 1997.  Bartons’ “Antique Mini Mall” became “Oasis Coffee Roasting Co.” when they added that business to their store.  In 2002, Kim Beshaler’s “Farmhouse Antiques” business moved into Barton’s store.  Bartons still owned the building and managed the “Oasis Coffee Roasting Co.” from 2004 to October 2009.  Beshaler kept the coffee business in her store after Bartons left.  Kim Beshaler closed the “Farmhouse Antiques” store and auctioned the contents of her business in September of 2016.

In October of 2016, Jodi Carlson became the new owner of this historic building after much searching, contemplation, and consideration.  Jodi’s original hope was to use it for her “Flour Girls L.L.C” business that had been established in 2010.   However, the focus soon changed from a ‘baking kitchen’ to a full coffee barista and gift shop putting the ‘baking kitchen’ idea on the back burner.

The 102 year old building needed a lot of renovation.  The entire building was gutted and cleaned to its “bones.”  Other renovations included a new roof, repairing the main floor, painstakingly repairing and painting the original tin ceiling, repairing and replacing some “bones”, and refinishing the loft area.  The 1900’s original skylight mechanism was unsalvageable so a new dome skylight was installed.  Jodi was so thankful for all the family and friends who helped make her dream come true.  In 2018, “BrewBakers Coffee House & Gifts” opened its doors for business.

(Written and prepared by Berni Crow 5/22/2020)