August 6, 1909
Canaan Drug Stores Grand Opening
The new drug store which E.M. Allen has been engaged in fitting up for several weeks past, was formally opened to the public last Thursday, and it is in every way an establishment creditable to the place and of which both the owner and our citizens can be proud. The entire front of the old blacksmith shop has been taken out and replaced by large windows of plate glass either side of the door Upon entering the store the first thing on the left is the soda fountain of the most approved construction, which stands upon floor, a single column rising in the center from which the soda faucets project, the top being surmounted by a lily in the center of which is concealed an electric light bulb. Entirely around the large room instead of counters are silent salesmen with plate glass tops in which are attractively displayed a great variety of articles carried in stock. Against the walls entirely around three sides of the room are elaborately finished cabinets with shelves for goods, many of them with glass fronts. These together with all the woodwork of the fittings in the front store are of solid mahogany beautifully finished. The room is brilliantly lighted by six powerful electric lights in the ceiling and two in each of the large front windows, while at the top a large plate glass mirror behind the soda fountain are three electric lights behind ground glass shades, the whole combining to give the store a brilliant, and attractive appearance at night.
The goods are most attractively displayed, the first beyond the soda fountain being the confectionery department, in which can be found some of the choicest goods. At the rear beyond this are cigars, while back of them is the tobacco cabinet of approved construction with an arrangement which supplies moisture constantly, thus keeping it from getting dry. At the right of the cigars the next floor cabinet contains a most elaborate assortment of perfumes. At the right of the main entrance fronting the window is the silver ware cabinet with glass shelves, and containing a beautiful display. The next on the side contains a nice stock of watches and jewelry, and further on are combs, brushes, and fancy articles attractively displayed. The base of all the cabinets is of beautiful Tennessee marble, and the room has a steel ceiling finished in artistic tints and hard wood floor.
In the rear of the main store and opening from it by an arched doorway is another room still larger lighted by six electric lamps from the ceiling, in which is the stock of cutlery, baseball goods, phonographs and records, paints and brushes, window glass, wall papers, etc. Opening from this on the east side is Mr. Allens private office in which is the lavatory and beyond a store room and room for the reception of freight. Under the stairway, which has an independent entrance from the street at the northeast comer of the front store is a prescription department. which is fitted with every modern convenience. The whole store has been arranged not only for convenience, but for an attractive display of goods.
The formal opening which was arranged for Thursday brought a large crowd to this place, and remained one of the days of the old Canaan fair. Nevers 2d Regiment orchestra was stationed in the rear, and gave a good concert program both afternoon and evening, and at both,concerts the store was packed with people, at times so thickly that it was almost impossible to make ones way through the jam. Outside the walks were lined with people, while upon the lawn of F.B. Smarts residence, and seated upon the curbing was a crowd of from one hundred to two hundred people during most of the afterpoon. Between the numbers of the concert program in the afternoon Mr. C.W. Perry representing the E.E. Patch company manufacturing chemists, who is a graduate of the Emerson school of Oratory, gave several readings which were most cordially received. In response to an encore after one of them he walked over to Mr. E.M. Allen and in behalf of the employees of the presented him with a solid silver shaving mug and brush. It is gold lined and inscribed with the names of the donors and the date. Mr. Perrys, remarks were extremely felicitous and took Mr. Allen completely by surprise. He was somewhat dazed for a few minutes by the unexpectedness of the affair, but before Mr. Perry had ceased speaking he rose equal to the occasion and responded most happily.
Upon entering every visitor was presented with a ticket which entitled them to a souvenir upon registering their names, and about 700 people availed themselves of the privilege. As a large number did not register it is a safe estimate that more than a thousand people were present during the afternoon and evening. Not only were the adjoining towns well represented, but the New England states as well as people from., all parts of . the country.. The occasion was unlike, anything ever seen here before, and was a deserved tribute to Mr. Allen's business enterprise.
Mr. Allen came here when in his teens and entered the employ of the late John B. Coburn. Twenty-one years ago when Mr. Coburn desired to go to a larger place Mr. Allen bought.the business, which one man could look after comfortably. Later as it increased he employed his brother, Mr. R.E. Allen, a portion: of the time. Mr. Allen has always believed in publicity, and week in and week out has had an announcement of something to -interest the public. Not only this, whatever he advertised he carried out, and as his business increased new lines were added, until today he has the largest and most varied stock of goods to be found in any one store outside of the cities. He now employs three men besides himself, and with this force there are few idle moments for any of them from seven in the morning until ten or later every evening.
During the opening day it is estimated that more than a thousand sales were made at the sodan and ice cream counters, while the cash register showed that over three hundred sales were made. The crowd in front of the soda fountain was three and four deep waiting to be supplied, and the quality of the good things served was equal to that furnished anywhere.
At ten oclock the company went to Milton Hall for the ball, the place being filled to its capacity fully seventy-five couples being ready to dance, besides many spectators. The orchestra furnished music for n excellent dance order, the only draw back being the crowded condition of the hall. From start to finish the affair was a success and must have come up to the expectations of every one. Everything was most happily carried out, and nothing occurred to mar in the least the pleasure of the occasion.
What added to the interest of the affair was the fact that not only the drug store but several other places in the vicinity were lighted by electricity. This was accomplished through the efforts of Mr. George Pushee of Nashua, who has had the work in charge, and everything went without a hitch. Although the water is unusually low in the river the lights were kept on until midnight, the water in the mill pond being lowered about six inches during the time.
The event was a sort of red letter occasion in the history of the town and Mr. Allens enterprise and public spirit received many favorable comments. It is the wish of all that this may be the beginning of a new era of still greater prosperity for him.