People's Supply Company


     The People's Supply Company of Silverhill opened June 1902, built and operated by Theodore A. Johnson, formerly of Paxton, Illinois, where he was also a grocer. (Theodore A. Johnson was not related to Oscar Johnson, Silverhill’s founder.)

People's Supply Company in Silverhill, Alabama - about 1907

     People's Supply was a modern general merchandise store supplying all of the needs for the local Swedish families such as clothing, shoes, hardware, and groceries, which at Christmas time included Lutefisk, pickled herring, anchovies, and other Swedish favorites. The store owner, Mr. Johnson, was much loved by the early Swedish settlers, and remembered for his generosity. Often a customer would return home to would find a bag of candy at the bottom of their groceries as a treat to the children.

People's Supply Company and the Mission Church - about 1907

     In 1928, Theodore A. Johnson sold his place of business to George Merinos of Loxley, with C. Leslie Chandler as manager. Mr. Chandler and his wife, Elsie Chandler, ran the store for many years, eventually buying it from Mr. Merinos after World War II. The Chandler family lived in the store’s upstairs apartment until 1954, when they built a new house on Second Street, about four blocks from the store. During this time, the store was referred to as simply “Chandler’s”. After seventy years of continual service to the area as a general store, competition from larger grocery stores forced People’s Supply to closed in 1972.

    In 1973, the store was purchased by Homer and Florence Gosnell, who sold it a year later to Creighton C. “Peco” Forsman to run the store in its traditional manner. Mr. Forsman sold it in 1976 to Dwight Bowman. In 1980, Richard E. Beall and wife Glenda L. Beall bought the store and continued it as a general store for the next five years.

    After the Chandlers, all of the store’s owners tried running the store as a grocery, general store, but outside competition was just too great. In 1985, People’s Supply Company closed its doors to the public, never to be run again as a general store.

    June 1989, Richard E. Beall and wife Glenda L. Beall sold the property to William R. Bean and wife Sterling Bean. November 1989, People’s Supply Company reopened with Lowell Webb operating Twinkleberry Pottery.

    March 1993, Joseph D. Spalding, M.D. and wife Lou E. Spaulding purchased, renovated, and opened an antique and furniture business in the old People’s Supply Company store. Dr. Spaulding added the building to the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.

     In 2001, United Bank purchased the building from Dr. Spalding. United Bank opened a full service bank in the People’s Supply Company building while preserving its unique character. Many artifacts are on display in and around the bank, reminiscent of its earlier days.

     PDF of Peoples Supply National Registry - 1996