Castleton Store Has Interesting History
June 29, 2008
Excerpt from Our Castleton and Brown Ancestors
Compiled by Arthur Robert and Ellen D. Castleton – 1980
Copied from the scrapbook of Frank M. Castleton
(Now owned by his daughter, Louise Nielson)
From the Intermountain Retailer – Date unknown
“The combined efforts of an entire family over a period of time has resulted in one of the most interesting stories of the retail trade yet uncovered.
When James J. Castleton was taken ill, Mrs. Castleton and her sons set up a small store at the corner of Second Avenue and L Street in Salt Lake City. Here Mrs. Castleton, besides carrying a small stock of food supplies, sold many items of dry goods and notions, to which the women of the community were readily attracted. A.R. Castleton, although quite young, was a real assistance to his mother.
The mother did very well as a manager and the business grew rapidly. Will Castleton resigned his position with the S.P. Teasdel Company, on of the pioneer merchandising houses in Salt Lake, to help take care of the growing business at the store.
In 1891, Frank Castleton, the present manager, left his work to fulfill a fission in England. Before he left; however, plans had already been made to construct a new building to house the continually growing Castleton store. In 1891 and 1892 the building was made a reality and the scope of trade greatly enlarged.
The institution was known as the Mrs. F.S. Castleton Co. until 1893 when it was reorganized under the name of Castleton Bros. W.J. Castleton became a member of the company at this time and acted as manager. In this same year, Frank M. Castleton came back to Salt Lake and instead of returning to his former position with the Teasdel Company became associated with his brothers at the Second Avenue institution.
Other kinds of merchandise were added to the stock soon after the name of the company was changed. A full line of dry goods was carried under the special direction of Frank, the newest member of the company. Hay, grain, flour, drugs, toys, notions, as well as a full line of vegetables, fruits and groceries were part of the stock. Fresh meats, however, were never carried. In the days of the late 1890’s, such individuals as the distributor and jobber were unknown in the retail trade. Hay grain, flour, potatoes, as well as groceries, were purchased by the Castletons in carload lots. It was a common practice for the customer to buy up a sufficient supply of four, potatoes, etc., to carry him through the entire winter. To be able to supply this demand, large stocks had to be kept constantly on hand, because a great deal of purchasing was done directly from New York and Chicago.
A very prosperous business was experienced by the new organization of brothers. The company was conducted as a corporation with the mother, Mrs. Castleton, as the chief stockholder, and until her death in 1922, she was a dominant factor in the direction of the store’s affairs.
An interesting angle in the history of the Castleton store is the number of young men who received their first grocery training as delivery boys and later made their own success in the grocery business. Some of these are David A. Affleck, who started when he was so small he could hardly carry the sacks of flour that fell his part to deliver; Bert Olson, a long prominent in grocery association work; the Cardwell brothers, who now have their own store; and Bud Spencer, operator of the Eighth Avenue Grocery.
In 1022 when Mr. Castleton died, the brothers who were interested in the company met to settle its affairs. At this time Frank M. Castleton bought out his brothers and with his son, Frank B., returned to operate the store as the Castleton Bro. Company. Present manager states that although it was a very difficult time, due to the depression following the world war, the store held its own due to the many friends they had made in earlier years.
When the red and white system was advanced, Mr. Castleton was the third to sign. In regards to the value of the organization he states, “I feel that the red and white system has meant the salvation of our goods trade from his store.
Here we have told of a pioneer company founded and nurtured by Mrs. Castleton and carried on by her sons; a company whose progressive management has held it consistently in the van of Utah retail industry; a company whose polices have been carried on by a number of the young men who were trained as assistants; a company now going ahead due to the consistent efforts of Frank M. Castleton with the assistance of his son, Frank B., who is secretary and treasurer of the company.