Shopping at Schafer's
I.E.Gilbert and Sons Becomes Schafer's
In 1898 Oramil McHenry built a new department store building at the northeast corner of 10th and I Streets for I.E. Gilbert and Sons, a company that had begun as a grocery store when Modesto was first founded in 1870. On May 17, 1900, McHenry and his future brother-in-law, George P. Schafer, created a partnership and bought out the company, renaming it The G.P. Schafer Company.
Schafer's was a one-stop shop for Modesto's citizenry. As Tinkham says, "The store has six departments, one being devoted to dry goods and shoes; another to gents' clothing and furnishings; a third to groceries; a fourth to a groceteria; a fifth to household goods, such as kitchen hardware; and a sixth to a bakery. Its mottoes are: 'Everything for Everybody,' 'Quality Good, Prices Fair,' and the good housewife has come to look forward to the newspaper announcements of Schafer's as to the most logical solution in her vexatious problems of housekeeping."
G.P. Schafer Background
Schafer served as a councilman in the first board of trustees of Modesto under the new charter adopted in 1910. He was also very involved in the local Democratic Party, even serving as an alternate to the Democratic National Convention in St. Louis in 1916. He and Oramil McHenry were married to sisters, Shafer to Matilda Conneau in 1893 and McHenry to Myrtie Conneau in 1902.
Schafer also was in charge of the McHenry estate when Oramil died in 1906 and later was instrumental in the funding and building of the First Presbyterian Church on 14th and I Streets in 1911.
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