Company Store

This front and side view of the McIntyre company store taken about 1950 shows signs posted on the front windows advertising specialties or sales.

As in other similar towns, the company store was owned by the coal company. In the very early days, miners were paid in company scrip which was redeemable only in the company store. Since many mining towns were isolated from larger towns, townspeople depended upon the company store for the purchase of groceries, furniture, mining supplies, and other items. The store usually occupied the largest building in town and was often wood framed and painted white although in some towns the store was made of brick. Railroad tracks were located at the back of the store to enable easy unloading of newly ordered goods. Although there was little competition, McIntyre did have a number of privately owned stores patronized by residents. Residents in many company towns often complained to coal company agents or to union representatives that the prices at the company stores were too high.

Photo: collection of the author.

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