Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook June 6, 2014
Caption : The company store that housed the Alpena Garment Company in the mid 1930s. Note the roof of the
company office building on the far right.
The Lobdell Company built a company store in 1917 that over the years would play an important part of Onaway's industrial, social and economic growth.
The first floor in the front of the building was the actual store where the employees could use their coupon books to buy groceries, clothing and notions. In the back part of the store on the first floor was the company cafeteria.
The front part of the store's second sgory was used for a recreation room. The back part housed the Masonic Lodge.
The company store was unoccupied for about a year after the fire in 1926.
The Alpena Garment Company had established a plant on the second story of Gumms Department Store. They started with about 20 machines in 1927 and grew steadily until 1933. It was at this time that the Alpena firm moved into the Lobdell Company store. By 1939 the garment company employed over 100 women. Ub 1939 the workers joined the International Workers Union. the noegotiations with the company for a contract led to a strike.
The strike became bitter and resulted in a lawsuit. The state police were called to Onaway to preserve order. As a result of the strike the company went out of business. Onaway had no payroll at all. To be continued. From the Onaway Outlook, June 6, 2014, page 3.
Retyped by J. Anderson