WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY (Washington County, Utah)
LOCATION4 North Main Street
Hurricane, Utah 84737
Telephone 271 in the 1941 telephone book (Graff Mercantile Co)
Telephone 2321 in the 1954 telephone book (Graff Mercantile Co)
Telephone MEdford 5-2252 in the 1958 telephone book (Graff Mercantile Co)
Telephone MEdford 5-2252 in the 1961 telephone book (Graff Grocery & Mercantile Co)
Telephone 635-2252 in the 1972 telephone book (Graff I G A Grocery & Dry Goods)
HISTORYIn 1928, Emil J. Graff bought the old Petty Mercantile store in Hurricane. Mr. Graff owned a store in LaVerkin and wanted to expand his business. Later, he also bought stores in Leeds and Springdale. He also went into the land, cattle, turkey, chicken, and egg businesses. The eggs were used as a lead-in item at the stores. Graff amassed a fortune from these ventures.
The store carried hardware (nails, bolts, horseshoes, mower parts, electrical needs, plumbing, etc.), dry goods, furniture, lumber, baled hay and other animal feed, and even caskets. His motto was, "If we don't have it, you don't need it." What couldn't be kept inside was stored in the shed or barn. Graff bought local produce and products. He kept his markups low, thus giving his customers good prices.
Graff's store stayed the same for a long time and became one of the "old fashioned" stores in the area. To keep down the dust, the floors were oiled with floor oil several times a year. Clerks stayed late on Saturday nights to do this most unpleasant job so the floor would be ready to walk on by Monday morning. The counter where cloth was sold was fitted with a meter that measured the cloth. As it was pulled through, the dial went around and around reading the length. In 1950, they started using adding machines; in 1981 they went to electronic calculators, and then in 1996, they finally got scanners on the registers.
During the "depression days", ladies sold their eggs and butter to the store in exchange for script good for future purchases. The script was used the same as money.
In the mid-1970s, the store was filmed in a pivotal scene of "The Electric Horseman".
Mrs. Graff occasionally worked in the store, especially at Christmas time, to select toys and other holiday items.
Mr. Graff did the hiring and then the employees were on their own. The store was a stepping stone for Clifton Wilson, Dell Stout, and Ersel Hall. Devin Ruesch was the manager for a long time.
E.J. Graff died in 1990 at the age of 97. His son, Dr. Shirl R. Graff of Sandy Utah, became the owner of the store at that time.
WCHS-01996 Photo of the Graff Mercantile store
REFERENCESPoster from the Hurricane Pioneer Museum
Another poster from the Hurricane Pioneer Museum