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The Dutch Lady on the Road

Hello and welcome to another Bill’s History Corner. Keep those cards and letters coming. This week I was thinking of how I could write about something that would be interesting to everyone. I couldn’t think of any, so I’m writing about a store in Fort Dodge, Iowa. This should make at least one person happy.

Fort Dodge Showroom

A picture I want to show you today is a store’s showroom window. I assume it was on the street level so it would catch the attention of people passing by. The display in the window is two Coppes kitchenet cabinets with the Dutch Lady and a lot of signs.

The cabinet on the left side is a 1922 Model G, and the one on the right is a 1922 Model E. So, we can guess that the time period for this picture was the early 1920s. We know that the “Dutch Lady” found her way into Coppes advertising around 1916, but we still don’t know where she came from or who thought she would be a good addition. This window was a typical showroom window; we have several pictures of showrooms. Making use of existing stores was the main method that Coppes used to sell cabinets during this time period, and if the store had a picture store window, the better the sale.

Try to picture an over-the-road salesmen with a Coppes Kitchenet in the back seat of their car, going door to door. Besides the two cabinets and the “Dutch Lady,” this window had several smaller signs pointing to the better points of a Coppes Dutch Kitchenet. Also, a 42-piece dinner set would have been given to each purchaser of a cabinet. A sign that is difficult to see and read is the “A. D. McQuilkin Co. ” sign in the lower left.

A.D. McQuilkin Co. Store Discovered

When I finally realized this sign was there, I was off and running, hunting the Internet for more information on this store. Among some of the interesting items I found on the Internet is this next picture of the street where the McQuiltin Co. store was located. The building on the right side with the sign painted on it is the McQuilkin store. The sign reads “The big store with the little prices”. Notice the horse and wagons in the street. This is a 1915 picture.

DesMoines Register Newspaper Ad 1923

Another item I found is this newspaper advertisement for the Coppes Co-Operative Sale. This paper is the Des Moines Register from Feb. 11, 1923, and lists 81 stores (including A. D. McQuiltin) that are having a Coppes kitchenet Sale at the same time. This is the first time we have known of a ‘Co-operative” sale. How did that kind of sale work? Normally when an individual store had a Coppes Kitchenet sale, as part of the contract, a Coppes employee who specialized in kitchenet salesmenship was in the store during the 3-4 day sale to help with the cabinet sales. How did that work when there were 81 stores in the same area? Inquiring minds want to know.

4 thoughts on “The Dutch Lady on the Road

  1. I remember in the 1960’s & 1970’s Coppes Showroom windows were full of Kitchens advertising what was available. My Grandpa Ray Metzler worked at Coppes and retired in the late 1950’s or early 60’s. I always loved driving by those lit up windows at night! I miss the “old Nappanee”!

  2. Great memories, Cindy. Time marches on, and now that space is lit up with new small business owners making a new Nappanee successful. We’re proud to be part of the story of this building. thanks for your comment!

  3. When I was back in Nappanee ten years ago and saw how they were transforming the old Coppes building–actually the first time I was ever IN the building–there was a wall with some photographs. I saw my Grandpa and his father in a group employee picture. It was hanging on a wall in the same area of the building where I think my Grandpa worked, which was in the formica department in the later years of the company. It was an incredible feeling like our paths intersecting through time, seeing my Grandpa and Great-Grandpa’s faces looking back at me from that photo 80-90 years later. Thank you for this blog and website!

  4. Cindy, we love your story and are so happy that we could honor your grandfather and make a great memory for you in this way. Blessings! — Coppes Commons management

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