GrandPa's

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GrandPa's, Inc.
Type Defunct
Industry Retail (Department & Discount)
Founded 1954, St. Louis, Missouri
Headquarters St. Louis, Missouri
Key people Tom Holley, Jack Holley
Products Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, electronics, and housewares.
Website none

GrandPa's or GrandPa Pidgeon's was a discount store founded in 1954 by Tom and Mildred Pidgeon, spreading across the midwest from its Bridgeton, Missouri (near St. Louis) origins, which remained truly "discount", when most others like Venture, Kmart and Target gradually raised prices in order to finance a more attractive layout and broader range of merchandise. Tom Pidgeon, born in Sebring, Ohio in 1902, was in the low price china business from the early 1930s to the early 1950s. He sold his company, Pidgeon Vitrified China in 1953 when he foresaw the impact plastic was having on the lower end dinnerware market. The first Grandpa Pidgeon's was opened in February 1954 and managed by his son-in-law, John (Jack) Holley, born in 1924 in Galena, Kansas. In 1958 Jack Holley began a separate but related enterprise known as Grandpa's, and opened a store on Collinsville Road between East St. Louis and Collinsville, Illinois. Over the next decade, Holley subsequently opened several other stores in the St. Louis metropolitan area, before buying the company outright from his father-in-law in 1968.

Holley formed the Gramex Corporation in 1970, which also oversaw such companies as Forsyth Computers and Omni Sports, which was forced to close due to increasing competition.

In 1986 Jack Holley retired and turned the company over to his oldest son Tom Holley, who presided over an expansion both within and outside the metro St. Louis area into locations such as Greenville, Illinois and Farmington, Missouri, among other places. By the late 1990s there were thirteen Grandpa's locations.

GrandPa's was sold, in 1999, to Value City[1]. It had approximately $200,000,000 in sales in its final year. It was profitable until its sale, failing to end only 1993 in the black, but was said to be facing a harder struggle near the end.

The company was known for their newspaper distributed advertising circulars that were printed mostly with black ink on a brown paper, in contrast to the glossy full color circulars of competitors.

In October 2008, a former Grandpa's employee started a website as a gathering place for all former GrandPa's, GrandPa Pidgeon's, and Gramex employees. It is a place for them to re-connect with old friends and share stories of your time at GrandPa's. It used to be at: www.grandpasreunion.com, but is no longer in operation.

See also[edit]

  • Deal$, chain of discount stores founded by Tom Holley in St. Louis, later sold
  • Jack Murdock (actor), portrayed Grandpa Pidgeon in television advertisements