Skagit River Journal
(Howard Stumpranch) Howard Royal and his family's Birdsview Stump Ranch
of History & Folklore
(bullet) This page originated in our Free Pages (bullet) Covering from British Columbia to Puget Sound. Washington counties covered: Skagit, Whatcom, Island, San Juan, Snohomish.

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(bullet) Site founded Sept. 1, 2000. Passed 5 million page views, 2011; passed 800 stories in 2012 — Mailing: (bullet) Noel V. Bourasaw, editor (bullet) 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284 where Mortimer Cook started a town & named it Bug
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Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop, 821 Metcalf St.,
Sedro-Woolley, WA 98284, celebrating
90 years of continuous business, in 2011

      Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop was located from 1958-2010 in the historic 1915 building of Livermore Ford, the original auto dealer in town. This photo was taken soon after the dealership opened. The building has changed a lot since then. In 2010, the store moved one building south to the former location of Greer Drummond's Valley Hardware.

(Pinky Robinson)
Pinky Robinson
      In October 2011, Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop, the oldest clothing store in Skagit County, staged its annual anniversary sale, this time to celebrate 90 years of continuous business, in three locations on this block at different times, just a short walk between. Visitors to Sedro-Woolley often wonder why Oliver-Hammer seems to be as strong in retail as ever. But those who shop there year in and year out are not confused about it at all. The store was built on old-fashioned personalized service and that has not changed in nearly nine decades. Owners Dyrk Meyers and Greer and Dave Drummond continue the retail formula cooked up by the master of them all — Pinky Robinson. Dyrk worked at Oliver-Hammer in high school. And Greer and his late wife, Edna, worked for the original store, along with Robinson, starting before World War II.
      The store began in 1921 as a partnership between Joe Oliver, an Italian tailor who had fitted for years everyone from loggers to businessman in their Sunday suits, and George Hammer, the son of Emerson Hammer, the state senator and partner in the old Union Mercantile store. George Hammer wanted to make it on his own and Oliver erected the shop building that was between the current Courier-Times building and the Video Depot on Metcalf. It was a solid partnership with Oliver running the back and Hammer greeting customers in the front, always remembering their names and what they liked.
      By the World War II years, Hammer was the sole owner of the business. After the lean years of the 1930 Depression era, Joe Oliver moved to Pasadena, California, in 1939 and bought a liquor store. Hammer lost his long-time clerk, Ford Cook, who became a partner with Eddie Adams in the new saloon that evolved into the present Old Timers. Hammer hired two ace salesmen from the J.C. Penney store at the south end of the 800 block of Metcalf, Pinky Robinson and Greer Drummond. Pinky was the son of North Carolina Tarheels. His father, Joe, was originally a blacksmith at the old Cokedale Mines after moving his young family, including the related Stiles branch, to Skagit County in 1917. Greer's father, David Drummond, was a longtime logger who died when Greer was eight years old. When both Robinson and Drummond went away to The War in 1942-43, Greer's wife, Edna, took his place with George Hammer.
      The two veterans returned to the store after their enlistment ended and helped Hammer rebuild the business after wartime shortages. Ten years later they were eager to go into business on their own and George Hammer wanted to retire. The Safeway store management decided in 1958 to move from 817 Metcalf Street and build their own new store on the north side of Ferry Street where old hotels such as the Keystone, Pioneer and Forest House once stood. A. Bingham of the old Bingham Bank made them an offer on the old Safeway building that they could not refuse. That fromer Livermore Ford building needed a lot of sprucing up but in 1958, Robinson and Drummond re-opened in the new location and they never looked back. Greer eventually decided to open his own hardware store across the street.
      Robinson helped develop a new market: besides outfitting his fellow Tarheels and other hard-working loggers with suspenders, boots and tin pants, he developed a mail-order business that expanded the Oliver-Hammer business considerably over the next decade. By the 1960s he had hundreds of customers who ordered by mail or made annual pilgrimages to be outfitted on Metcalf street. He spent the next 30 years building a rock-solid business built on his own style of remembering each customer, their families and their sizes.
      Dyrk Meyers started working part time for Robinson in 1965, while still in high school at Sedro-Woolley High, through 1970 when he was drafted during the Vietnam conflict. When he returned from the U.S. Army service, he attended Central Washington State College for three years and then returned to retail, working for the Oliver-Hammer partners at Hartney's, their Stanwood clothing store. A decade ago, just before Pinky's death, he leapt at the chance to purchase part ownership in Oliver-Hammer. He had big shoes to fill but soon he proved that Robinson's business model was still valid in the 21st century. Since the Drummonds closed their Valley Hardware business and Oliver-Hammer reopened into that building in 2010, Greer's son, David Drummond, has become a managing partner with Meyers. Greer turned 95 in 2011.
      Although the clothing for both men and women has changed over the years, Oliver-Hammer's success is still predicated on greeting the customer, sizing them up and encouraging repeat business. The new century has brought solid success and customers still flock to the store for their annual outfitting and city slickers drive many miles just to sort through the suspenders with the Oliver-Hammer logo. And this is the source for Sedro-Woolley mementoes. Dyrk and his staff, including long-timers like Greg Platt, want your patronage on a long-term basis. That is why customers return again and again to buy their boots, hunters clothing, hats, and loggers gear. Let them know what you are looking for and they will supply it. See this page for the story and photo of the original home of Oliver-Hammer, four doors north on Metcalf Street. Also see: the story of the Hammer, Green and Parker families who made such an impact on Sedro-Woolley and Lincoln, Kansas . . . profile of George Hammer . . . and Downtown Sedro-Woolley's Hammer Heritage Square and park and its historical significance.

Phone us and we will help you find
just what you are looking for
or email us at: We have followed up on such orders from as far away as Holland.


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