Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Meet Mr. Smith and Mr. Gerhart

Smith (left) and Gerhart circa 1903
Here's a picture of two of the founders of the Lorain business that later became Smith & Gerhart: H. M. Smith (on the left) and J. F. Gerhart (on the right). (Note: different sources alternately have Smith's middle initial as either M. or F.)

The Lorain, Ohio 1903 Souvenir book by George H. Teague includes an entry about the two gentlemen (below).


Five years ago two young men came to Lorain from Elyria and started in business. For over ten years they had been clerking there in the leading dry goods emporiums. They were popular, eminently capable and commanded respect and confidence of all who knew them and their enviable reputations preceded them.  With them they brought the same energy and thrift that had characterized their business apprenticeship, and with these sterling qualities combined with moderate capital the Boston Store was opened.

"Great oaks from little acorns grow," and from a comparatively small beginning exceptional success has followed them, for experience had planted them well. Patronage followed, the trade of the people was appreciated and well taken care of until today after a lapse of only five years the floor space has been increased one-third and the stock carried more than doubled. Thousands of this city's purchasing public know the Boston Store, by which name the firm is designated, but comparatively few know the names of its enterprising proprietors.

The people know that the Boston Store's three distinct departments are stocked with a complete and up-to-date assortment of dry goods, carpets and cloaks. The firm when beginning business decided on a motto that has been rigidly followed: "Keep Stock up – Prices Down," and the result is that the Boston Store has become a household word with bargains as its companion thought. All this credit is due the proprietors, two hustling young gentlemen, H. M. Smith and J. F. Gerhart – Smith & Gerhardt. Our hats are doffed, for the capacity of the store is being taxed to its utmost and more room is again the cry. Keep your eye on the Boston Store, for a magnificent future is not only predicted, but practically assured.

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