A big news item lately has been the closing of many Sears stores, thus marking a long history of sales of merchandise, including a little of everything at one time, even tombstones and kit homes which could be shipped to the buyer by railroad. The Lexington community has had a number of businesses with a long history; one of these was Lindsay's Store which was featured in this Daily Pantagraph article in June of 1946:
"If a modern housewife were to examine the sales records of the Lindsay store in the 1870's, she might think shopping in those days was a very simple task, considering the limited number of items that were available. Principal items listed in the sales journal in those years were coffee, tea, spices, yard goods and sugar. Twenty years later, work shirts and velvet ribbons were also on the sales list.
By way of contrast with the present prices, one customer purchased six pounds of butter in 1894 for a cost of 58 cents for the whole lot, and a barrel of salt for $1.25. Toward the close of the century, there was a brisk trade in lamp flues and coal oil, which sold for 35 cents a gallon. Eggs were then selling for 10 cents a dozen and a bucket of salt fish retailed for 29 cents. About the same time, overalls first appeared in the records and oxford tie shoes were listed for $1.25 a pair.
In 1859, the store was opened by William Lindsay, the first of four successive generations to bear that name. A native of Scotland, the founder of the business was also a carpentar who built many houses in Lexington. His son-in-law, Richard Grier, was a partner before he went to the Civil War. After the war, he went into business in Bloomington, and his place in the business was taken by Mr. Lindsay's sons, first John L. and later William Jr., the father of the present proprietor.
In 1885, G. J. Smith, a brother-in-law of WillIam Lindsay, Jr., became a partner, and the two men ran the store until 1927 when both died. The business has since been operated by William C. Lindsay, who began working there after World War I. His son, the fourth William Lindsay, is now in the Navy, but a son-in-law, John Brown, is now working in the store.
The business opened in a small building 26 feet wide on the corner which part of the present site. A two- story brick building was erected in 1924, and another addition was then opened in 1936. Twelve years ago, when the store was 75 years old, nearly 50 persons claimed the cakes which William C. Lindsay had offered to those who had been trading with the family store for 50 years or more. During those early days too, it was customary for men making purchases in the store, to fill their pipes from a box of tobacco regularly kept on the counter for their use." These are reflections of 'back in the day, as they say....
The business survived more than a century, but much like others with more nationwide roots, it ran its course and other businesses now stand in its footprint, mostly offices. The lengthy committment to our community was a major part of this town's history. I cannot count the number of times as a young person that I was sent to Lindsay's for an important item that 'saved the day' on a project or in one of Mom's recipes. In my memory, Lindsay's Superway will always still be there on Lexington's Main Street.