We learned much information from reading the abstract of this old building. The succession of owners was extremely interesting. If these walls could speak..
Arrow Gift Shop, as it now stands used to be listed as two stores. The land was first purchased in 1869 from the US government. However, the deeds to any buildings did not appear in the abstract until 1918 when Mae B. Morey, widow of Wendell D. Neville, sold the corner building, which we now call "The Big Store", to Gus W and Bertha Rantz. The little store (The Moccasin Area) was sold to C.H. Bowler.
According to old timers, Rantz's Grocery store had the best selection of penny candy. His cash register was a carpenters apron. It pockets served to keep the change separated. Gus and Bertha, like many of the owners, lived in the back of the store.
The upstairs and back of the store has served many purposes besides living quarters through the years. One of the little back rooms facing Main Street was supposedly the first Eagle River Library. Rumor has it that the Upstairs was a dance hall during the Roaring 20's. Who knows who may have visited there as Dillinger and Capone were known to have hideouts in the area. The Upstairs was converted into two apartments after 1940. The back rooms currently hold stock, but the upstairs is still rented out as apartments. In 1937, Rantz sold the store to Fern Scott who operated the store as a grocery store. In 1951, Scott sold the corner store to Bernard and Irene Klimas, who also operated the store as a grocery store.
We have been told that from 1903 to 1946 Bowler's little store housed many different enterprises from a clinic, liquor store, drug store etc. Bowler sold to C. Olmstead, who then sold to Ted and Carol Kunysz in 1959.
In 1959 Klimas' purchased the small store. They rented the buildings to Vic Cerra until Harold and Edith Fischer purchased both buildings in October of 1961. Fischers operated the Arrow Gift Shop, named so because their biggest supplier was Arrow Mfg. Co. The small shop was used for moccasin storage.
The two stores became one after June of 1977 when they were purchased by Jim and Mary Ann McNeil.
Their son-in-law and daughter, John and Katie Hayes bought the business in September of 2001. Arrow Gift Shop has remained locally owned and operated for over 40 years. John and Katie are proud to carry on the tradition of serving visitors and shoppers year round. Many of the items sold in our store reflect the heritage of this area. Thank you for choosing our store.
For all of you travelers who remember dragging your youngsters in and out of our store after store in search of the perfect souvenir, here is a look inside so that you may reminisce.