scoville, brown & co.

(Information below taken from Wellsville Daily Reporter articles of 12/2/1930 and 6/29/1957; "Wellsville Days of Old" - Frank O'Brien - 2001; "The Rise and Fall of Main Street" - Shirley Engle 2003) Thanks to Jane Pinney for submitting.

The firm of Scoville Brown was organized Jan. 1, 1886.   L.H. Scoville had been the senior member in three preceding firms doing retail and wholesale grocery business, namely: Scoville, Thornton and Brown(1883?), L.H. Scoville and Company, and Brown and Scoville.  Founded in 1886 as a partnership consisting of Luman H. Scoville, Joseph  H. Brown and George C. Rosa and with 3 employees, Scoville Brown and Company established a retail grocery at 42-44 North Main Street, with a warehouse behind the store. Mr. L.H. Scoville, senior member, furnished the entire capital of $20,000 but retired from any participation in the management of the business. This was the first store in Wellsville to sell only groceries. The store quickly found favor with local residents by offering quality products, personal service and home delivery. A wholesale operation was formed, with service to Western New York and Pennsylvania, first by rail and later by truck.

At the time the premises consisted of two narrow stores, with a small warehouse and barn in the rear. Two persons operated the store in one side; the other side was used for display of wholesale items, since most customers from out of town called in Wellsville and hauled their purchases in their own wagons.

This moderate sized retail business and wholesale force included only one traveling salesman. The firm gradually increased its operating force and territory. For many years three or four salesmen were employed and the facilities increased accordingly. The warehouses fronted on the Erie railroad and Fassett Street were built in 1896 and 1900, and the firm had come to enjoy a liberal patronage.

By 1906 Scoville Brown had annual sales of 3/4 of a million dollars and the partnership became a corporation, with stock offered to employees and local residents. In 1906, after the death of Mr. Scoville, Mr. Brown retired from the business and sold his interest to his partner Geo. C. Rosa, who formed a corporation in order that all employees who so desired might own a share in the business. A number of them took advantage of the opportunity, and the remainder of the shares of stock were purchased by interested friends of the enterprise. Mr. Rosa was elected President and General Manager and continued in that capacity till his death in January 1933.

The company continued to grow, adding new warehouses (1896 and 1900), office space and updated retail space. A refrigeration plant (1902) and coffee and peanut roasting equipment (1895) were added. The company developed its own brands, Gold Cross and Hearts Delight, and offered household items to those who saved the coupons in its coffee.

Scoville, Brown & Co. Incorporated - Re-organization Takes Effect January 1st, Officers and Directors for 1907 Elected, A Brief History of the Most Successful Mercantile Business in this Part of the State - (untitled scrapbook from library & Dyke Street Museum) - During the past half dozen years few houses have done a larger business.

After thirty-five years business experience in Wellsville, nearly twenty-one years of the time in the firm of Scoville, Brown & Company, Mr. Brown retired from the business last September. With the retirement of Mr. Brown, Mr. George C. Rosa became sole owner of the business. As joint manager with Mr. Brown for twenty-one years, and as bookkeeper for Scoville, Thurston & Brown for two and a half years, he has been connected with the institution for more than twenty-three years.

It was after careful consideration that announcement was made in the Daily Reporter of September 26th that a corporation would be formed to take over the business on January 1st.

January 1, 1907 - Scoville, Brown & Co. Incorporated - Re-organization Takes Effect January 1st, Officers and Directors for 1907 Elected, A Brief History of the Most Successful Mercantile Business in this Part of the State - (untitled scrapbook from library/museum) - Incorporation papers were filed at Albany on December 19th. Seven directors for the first year were named in this certificate as follows: George C. Rosa, William F. Wilson, Edwin E. Stone, James A. Devore, Louis Slough, John M. Church, Edward B. Rosa.

The latter, many of our readers will know, is a brother of George C. Rosa. His home is in Washington, D.C., and he is one of the board of directors on account of being a liberal subscriber to the capitol stock. All of the other directors are connected with the management of the business, and have been for periods varying from six years to twenty-one years. All are recognized as men of integrity and ability as well as lone experience in the grocery trade.

The first meeting of the board of directors was held on Monday, Dec. 24th. At this meeting officers for 1907 were elected as follows: President, George C. Rosa; Vice-president, William F. Wilson; Secretary, Vivian R. Bruce; Treasurer, Edwin E. Stone. George C. Rosa was elected general manager of the business.

A portion of the preferred stock was offered to friends of the business. Knowing of the remarkable success of the past and believing in the future prosperity of the business, all of the stock was quickly taken, and much more could easily have been placed.

The charter authorizes the capital of $150,000.00 perferred and $50,000.00 common stock. A portion of the perferred stock will be taken up by the employees later, but the corporation will begin business on January 1st with a paidup capital of $135,000.00.

The success of the business did not come by accident. From the first it has been due to the handling of good goods at fair prices, careful attention to all the details of the business, strict integrity and a square deal for every man. There will be no change in the firm name and no change in the firm methods. More than half of the employees (now thirty-three in number) are owners of stock; all the employees will be directly interested in the profits and therefore in the success of the business. It may be fairly presumed that the spirit of co-operation, backed by the (the rest is cut off).

1/12/1911 - For 21 years the store operated the business as Scoville Brown & Co. with George Rosa buying in 4 years ago. And owning over half interest. They employ 40 people at the present time. Since the beginning, the firm's premises and equipment are 1st class and is one of the largest businesses in Western New York.

September 23, 1911 – (Wellsville Days of Old by Frank O’Brien-2001) – The Austin Dam went out last Sat. and about 100 lives were lost and a number of Wellsville people had relatives there who perished such as the Baldwins and Lawlors.

Higgins Bros. had a dry goods store at Austin that was totally destroyed, including goods and records. Brady Bros., who are Wellsville natives, and cousins of the Higgins, lost part of their hardware store.

Through the Business Men’s Assoc., Wellsville gave quick aid to the Austin flood sufferers on Sunday, by means of a carload of provisions and tents from the Fair Assoc., sent through the courtesy of the B&S RR. Several Wellsville people went along to supervise the distribution of the supplies and slept right in the rail car. They included Mr. Haskins and Mr. Rosa, who sent many groceries from his store [Scoville Brown].