Fort Collins Dry Goods Stores

I need to add a photo here. 

Fort Collins had two early drug stores that seemed to last over an extensive period of time. Others will be included as well as I come across them. 

The Fair

The Fair store was opened by Jason Wilkins in July 1882. (Fort Collins Courier, July 13, 1882)

“Mr. Jason Wilkins, the Fair man, has moved his extensive stock of goods into the north room of the Reed & Dauth block, on Linden street, when he will be found, hereafter, ready to make his customers happy. ” (Fort Collins Courier, January 7, 1886)

“Mr. Jason Wilkins, of the Fair, has moved his stock into the building next to Silcott Bros’. furniture store on Linden street, where he will be pleased to meet all his old patrons and as many new ones as he can wait on.” (Fort Collins Courier, May 23, 1889)

“Geo. Black is now sole owner and proprietor of the Fair, having recently purchased his partner’s, Jason Wilkins, interest in the stock of goods and good will of the business.” (Fort Collins Courier, May 10, 1894)

Crittenden & Black owned the Fair. (Rocky Mountain Collegian, October 1, 1896)

Miller & Black owned the Fair. (Rocky Mountain Collegian, March 1, 1898)



“Fair” stores appear to have been a trend in the late 1800s. Ernst J. Lehmann opened “the Fair Store” in 1874 in Chicago, Illinois as a discount department store. It was purchased by S. S. Kresge in 1925 (the founder of K-mart). There was a small “chain” of Fair stores in the Chicago area, but there is no indication that Lehmann oversaw any Fair stores outside of Illiniois.

However, there were many “Fair” stores across the U. S. A quick search using found references to “Fair” stores in Aspen, Bessemer, Boulder, Denver, Florence, Fort Morgan, Grand Junction, Greeley, Loveland, Salida, Sterling, Telluride, and Whitehorn. … in addition to the one in Fort Collins.

There doesn’t seem to be anything tying the stores together other than their name and the fact that they advertised discount prices on goods.

It’s possible that the Chicago store led a trend in discount dry goods stores. People may have heard of the store and decided to use the same name for their own, cashing in on the public’s knowledge of the Chicago store as place with a great variety of items at discount prices (not that every store with the name had the same variety or same discounts). 

Bernheim and Mosman