The pictures above ^ Hoffman Building circa 2012 – Hoffman constructed his building & store in 1917; The Commercial Hotel ^ occupied the land previously – fire destroyed the hotel in 1914
OSCAR HOFFMAN’s STORE . . . history, circa 1957 . . .
as published in the Ashland Centennial publication, * entitled: THE FIRST 100 YEARS ASHLAND, NEBRASKA: 1857 – 1957
“ June 19 (1957) was the 73rd anniversary of the OSCAR HOFFMAN’S STORE in Ashland. Oscar Hoffman, father of Oscar Harvey Hoffman, opened his first little store when 16 years of age in East Ashland on June 19, 1884. Because of this the store was called George Hoffman’s Co. as his father had to sign all business papers for him. In 1888 he moved to North 14th Street where the Ashland Hatchery and Chambers Hardware have been located. His brother, John Hoffman, became a partner and the business was known as “Hoffman Brothers” until 1908 when Oscar bought out John Hoffman’s interest in the business. It then became known as the Oscar Hoffman, General Merchandise. In 1917 he built the large two-story brick building on the (SE) corner of 14th and Silver Street, the location of the business at the present time. In 1927 he joined the Independent Grocers Alliance, a newly organized wholesale house. He operated the business successfully until illness just before his death March 25, 1939, after serving the Ashland community for 54 ½ years. When the business celebrated its 50th anniversary, Ashland business men presented him with an electric clock with a gold lettered plaque beneath, telling of 50 years of service and friendship. Oscar Harvey Hoffman grew up in the business, helping his father in the store form the time he was 10 years old until his father’s death on March 25, 1939, when he assumed responsibility as owner of the business property and manager of the business in which his mother had interest until her death March 15, 1951. The store name became Oscar Hoffman’s Store in memory of Harvey’s father.
In 1944 the grocery department, including meats and vegetables, were put on a cash and carry basis. The general merchandise line of stock was continued until July 6, 1946, when dry goods, notions and shoe departments were bought by Mr. and Mrs. Norman Ruberg, and they continued in the same location until 1951, when they moved. (editors note – “RUBERGS” moved to the Butler Bldg. – in 2013 known as Breadeaux Pizza) Oscar Harvey Hoffman has made many improvements and added many modern fixtures to the business to keep the grocery, meat and produce departments of this supermarket the finest shopping center between Omaha and Lincoln. In 1954 a new front and large I. G. A. sign were added. In 1955 these store fixtures were added: 26-ft. fruit and vegetable case; 20-ft frozen food case; 16-ft ice cream case; 11-ft self-service meat case; 100 feet of new shelving; and two new check stands. The store was completely remodeled with wider aisles, and shelves at an angle, to give the customers ease and more shopping space for carts. Oscar Harvey Hoffman has been assisted at various times in the store by his wife, Gretchen Hoffman; his son, George Hoffman, until his death in June 1941; his son, Harold Hoffman and his only sister Mrs. Hattie Johnson. The support of many friends has helped it to carry on in the past and will help it to carry on in the future years. In the “good old days”, a town the size of Ashland supported three large grocery stores at once:
Scott & Co. 1874 to 1945 71 years in business
Balder Store 1882 to 1952 70 years in business
Hoffman Store 1884 to 1957 73 years in business
Although these three stores were competitors in business, they were co-operative for 61 years to serve their friends and the community. “
( * excerpts above from page 92)
NOTE: The First100 Years * Ashland Nebraska * 1857 – 1957 is out of print;
The Ashland Historical Society has acquired the rights of this publication and will be making it’s copyrighted © edition – AHS available for sale soon; in CD/DVD form
your memories of the Hoffman auditorium ? ? ?, which occupied the entire second floor of the building.
AshlandHistoricalSociety@gmail.com and news@AshlandGazette.com