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When CVS was a clothing and shoe store

In 1898 the south side of CVS was a clothing and shoe store


The Main Street building housing today's CVS Pharmacy served the community as a retail business for nearly 125 years. Originally the building housed two businesses, one on the north side and the other on the south.

It wasn’t always a pharmacy. In its infant years one of the businesses on the south side was Wise Clothing and Shoe Co., featured here.


The store partners were brothers Julius and Ave Wise, who also owned a clothing store in Ottawa. The photograph showing the Wise brothers includes their children, absent of the children’s mothers.


Wise Clothing housed the south side of today’s CVS. Later the business was home of Steiner and Huser men’s clothing store. That eventually grew into Balmer’s whose owners, Harold and Annie Balmer, expanded the business and took over the north side of the building, which today includes the entire CVS layout. Bev Simon of Bluffton is a daughter of Harold and Annie.


Balmer’s was a women’s clothing store. It eventually became Ullman’s and Ulhman’s became Greg’s Pharmacy, which eventually became Clark’s Pharmacy and is now CVS.


Gone today is the attractive archway to the store’s entrance. In 1969 Main Street businesses had a major transformation as overhangs were added during a modern streetscape project.


The Wise photo includes the following: Julius Wise is on the left and Abe is on the right. Lined up before them are their sons, Robert, Donald, Herbert, Harold and Jerome. Donald, Herbert and Jerome were sons of Julius.


Photo overlay showing the Wise Clothing and Shoe Store.

Julius Wise is on the left and Abe is on the right. Lined up before them are Julius' sons, Robert, Donald, Herbert, Harold and Jerome.


Wise ad from 1898 Bluffton News



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