Wednesday, February 13, 2013

G.C. Murphy

G.C. Murphy by William 74
G.C. Murphy, a photo by William 74 on Flickr.
G.C. Murphy was a chain of five-and-dimes, founded in 1906 in McKeesburg, PA by George Clinton Murphy, and within three years had expanded to a dozen area locations. As the company expanded through the 1920's they became popular, particularly because of their locations in small and medium sized towns. Often, these towns were under-served for retail locations, and the well designed Murphy's stores, complete with lunch counters, would be a frequent and popular destination.

G.C. Murphy began to experiment with other types of store, eventually opening Murphy's Mart stores in suburban shopping centers to compete with Woolworth's and KMart type stores. These proved popular as well, and the company had grown to over 500 stores by the 1970's. In 1985, the company was purchased by Ames, which rebranded many older G.C. Murphy and Murphy's Mart stores, but a large number remained with the original names. McCrory's purchased the chain in the late 80's, but by the mid 90's had declared bankruptcy and closed many of their locations. By 2001, it was all over.

This G.C. Murphy tile entryway is in a former location in Streator, Illinois, just the sort of medium-sized town these kinds of stores flourished in.

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