4. Lopez Stores Over Time

In the early 20th century, just about from here, a long pier stretched out into the water, towards the marker you can see in the channel. Steamships, like the Georgia, would deliver passengers and goods to “Lopez” — one of three centers of commerce on the island. Where you're standing there once was a grocery store (see stop #2 "Hutch's Trading Post" for information about the first). The store faced a boardwalk that stretched from here out towards Week’s Point Way.

In those days, most people had an account at the grocery store. You could buy goods and add them to your tab, paying for it all within 60 days. In 1918, John Coffelt, a farmer who moved to Lopez in 1876, bought cornmeal, half a pound of tea, coffee, sugar, yeast, baking powder and thread. People typically bought the items they couldn’t grow or make themselves.

In 1923, the store burned to the ground, full of empty boxes, under somewhat dubious circumstances. The story goes that the owner made away with the insurance money, and then split town. The new store was built by Mr. Frish for the Carr brothers (Emil and Eston), completed in 1924. The store was leased by Meade and Ringler and then purchased by LeRoy Jensen in 1930. Roy renamed it "The Lopez Purity Store." In 1946 Wilson Horne bought the business and called it “Trader Horne,” until Roy bought it back just two or three years later.

In 1959, Bill and Bonnie Carpenter were convinced to buy the store. As Bill later told the story:

“Leroy just started talking to me [...]. We had run out of gas and he wanted to know something about us. When he found out I was in the grocery business in Seattle, he just asked me if I wanted to buy his store.” Bill Sr. ran the store for the first 10 years. Bill Jr. filled in for vacations until he finally took over management.

In 1969 Bill Jr. built a new store across the street - what is now Paper Scissors on the Rock. Even in the 1970s, the Lopez grocery store let people buy their goods on credit. It wasn’t until 1973 that this changed. In an article titled “Cash and Carry” the news was laid bare:

“Bill Carpenter, our friendly Village Market owner and manager, who has long been carrying both residents and week-ender with credit, as well as being their source of ready cash, has written the handwriting on the wall which says, “Now that Lopez has a genuine bank, it’ll just have to be cash, friends.” We have been fortunate to have Bill take care of us all these years, and now we will look forward to getting Bill out from under, and the lowered price of a no credit store.”

Even after the grocery store moved, the old store building remained an important part of the island community. It was a bar called the Port Hole, then the Rub-a-Dub Pub (be sure to check out the photos from when the name was being changed). Later Blossom Natural Foods got its start here, and for a while, The Enchanted Needle, a sewer’s favorite craft store was in this building. Just Heavenly Fudge has been in operation here since 2007.