By: Barbara Woolbright Carruth
W. B. Clearman or Clearman’s Store has been in business for over 100 years. Sonny Clearman, son of W. B. Clearman runs the business and it looks much the same today, as in the picture. Picture is courtesy of Sonny Clearman.
Taken from The Lamar Democrat February 3, 1937. “Vernon’s Oldest Business House Established 1899. In the fall of 1899, a young man who appeared to be just a boy came to Vernon and placed a small stock of merchandise in one side of Dr. G. C. Burns’ Drug Store. This building was located on part of the vacant lot between the Yellow Front Store and Pool Room.
Business was prosperous from the beginning and in the spring of 1900 larger quarters being greatly in demand, a small frame building was purchased from Sherrill Brothers. Business was begun on a larger scale and in a few years a larger building was in demand again.
In the year of 1909, the present building was erected on the site of the old frame building and is one of the largest business houses in the town containing about 8000 square feet floor space. Mr. Clearman during these 38 years has had quite a unique experience. Starting with a capital of less than $100.00 in 1899 and rising to an annual volume of $100,000 during the booming days when business was at its best.
He has had many “ups” and “downs” in business but has never been “out”! Mr. Clearman says “ These years of success have been due to the patronage of our loyal friends as customers. We feel with our 38 years of business experience we are now in position to serve our customers more efficiently. Your business whether large or small is always appreciated.”
Some other businesses in Vernon in 1937 when this article was written were: Wimpy’s Place, selling sandwiches and cold drinks, Bomar Dees proprietor; City Service Station selling Standard Oil Products, Atlas tires and tubes, Sam McDaniel; Thomas S. Lollar had a store which he said “sells everything”; The Bank of Vernon established in 1911; E. R. Harris Lumber Company, Vernon Beauty Parlor and Yellow Front Store, O. P. Dailey Jr. Manager.
I visited with Sonny Clearman last November collecting pictures for the Lamar County Images of America book. I felt like I had gone back in time in his store. I know his father would be proud to know that Sonny has kept the store and so many of the fixtures that were Mr. Clearman’s. I know that Vernon and Lamar County have reaped benefits from Mr. Clearman choosing to start a business there 102 years ago and Sonny Clearman choosing to remain in the business.
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