Bio: Balch Hardware (1936)

Contact: Crystal Wendt

Surnames: Balch, Gangler, Kubat, Tragsdorf

----Sources: Neillsville Press (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 3 Dec. 1936


Owner Announces He will retire From Business

F. O. Balch, who has been in the hardware business in Neillsville for the past 15 years, this week announced his retirement and is selling out his entire stock of goods and all fixture at a sale starting Saturday. An advertisement on Pages 4 and 5 of this issue gives the details of the sale.

The name of Balch has been identified with the merchandising history of this community for the last half century, beginning when F. A. Balch, father of Fred. Opened a store about 1885, in partnership with his son, Rella, in the old north side store, now occupied by Nick Gangler. A short time later they occupied the building where John Kubat’s house on north Hewett Street now stands. A few years later they moved into the building now occupied by the Balch Hardware store.

In the late 90’s the elder Balch withdrew and Rella Balch and Bennie Tragsdorf went into partnership, opening a store where the Schultz Bros. Store is now located. A short time later they built the Big Store.

F. O. Balch, who was on the road as a shoe salesman for years, went to Milwaukee in 1910 where he and Mrs. Balch operated a very successful millinery business until 1920 when they returned to Neillsville, Wis. A year later Mr. Balch bought out the hardware business from Powers & Wing.



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