Totem Pole Tales-Walker's Saloon - Gambles Store
Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook Apr. 6, 2012

CAPTION:  Walker's Saloon(pictued) was stocked with wet good and cigars.  It later became the Gambles Store
width="600" This picture is of the Walker and Company Sample Room in 1902. Walker and Company was one of the best North of Alpena and was stocked with the choicest of everything in wet goods and cigars. Mr. Walker came to Onaway on June 14, 1900. He was one of the most popular men that ever stood behind a bar in Onaway. This building later became what some readers will recognize as the Gambles Store, which sat between Schell Auto and the old credit union building.
It's mid-50s and Friday night downtown Onaway. On most corners you would see farmers visiting while the Mrs. would be getting a few items that were not grown or made at home on the farm.
The men folks had already been to the Gambles Store and replaced their worn gloves, bought a box of Hiawatha 22 cartridges, or a repair kit for a dishpan or maybe a new pair of felt liners. You could buy a new or used bike, a new axe, a shotgun or a fishing pole, a new pair of bib overalls, a box of rivets, or a splicing kit for the belt on the buzz rig. You could buy pots and pans or a new jackknife. You could get a new inner tube for your tractor tire. Maybe you needed a new box of 15-amp fuses or a new cow bell. Carl had it all in the Gambles Store.
My mom and dad bought my first shotgun from Carl. It was a J.C. Higgins 410. I shot a lot of pats and rabbits with this 410. It was around when I left home and went into the Army, but somehow with six brothers at home the old 410 got worn out.
My wife Pat remembers trips to the Gambles Store with her parents. The thing she remembers most was the shelves that went down the middle of the store, that were just out of reach of the younger set. They held trikes, scooters, and farm toys. Her favorite was the nice display of dolls, especially just before Christmas.
Carl Shaloy Sr. ran the store for Avery Johnson, from Rogers City, who had a store there like the one in Onaway.
One clerk I remember well was Retha LaDree. She was friendly and knew the store well. One of the Aubrey boys traded their Schwinn bike in on a new one and I bought it for eight dollars. It only took me three weeks to pay for it. At that time I was setting pins at Mowery's bowling alley and running errands for Mrs. Thompson and Miss Young. The plan was different in the 50s. The item you were buying stayed at the store until it was paid for. Today you take the item home, no interest, no payments for a year. No wonder our country is such a mess. Oh yes, chances are the item is worn out before the first payment is due.
-Onaway Outlook, April 6, 2012, p.3. Retyped by J. Anderson.

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