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From the desk of Alison Gibson, Director
We are always looking for interesting advertisement memorabilia from Ripley and we’ve had this coffee bag in our collection for some time. We briefly talked about Sullivan’s about 6 years ago because it was in the building next to the Bodmer Hotel—unfortunately, when the Bodmer collapsed, so did the ‘Sullivan’ building connected to it. Sullivan’s Quality Store opened on August 1, 1931. On the grand opening, it was reported that over 2,700 people came in and purchased something! While we’ve only ever seen the ‘Yellow Label’ coffee bags, apparently they also sold green, red and white labels as well—all different prices. Yellow was the second highest priced at 35 cents for 2 pounds. 10 pounds of navy beans was a mere 39 cents. Sullivan’s did some creative marketing, such as around Thanksgiving, for every 25 cents spent, you received a ticket for a chance for a Thanksgiving turkey, or 10 pounds of sugar given away three times on a Saturday night. They sold packages of Chipso—think potato chips? Nah, —it was a box of flake soap clothing detergent made by Proctor & Gamble in the 1930s-1940s.. We guess everyone knew this, so didn’t have to waste space in the ad to say soap.
They also had some interesting hours—during a sale in February 1932, they posted they were open until 10:30 pm on Friday and 12:00 on Saturday—even delivered late in the evening. Not sure when Mr. & Mrs. Sullivan closed the store, but the advertisements ceased in 1933, and only one mention of Sullivan’s Food Store in 1934.
We thought Ripley looked pretty good this past Saturday with Day in the Garden and Juneteenth events happening.