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Skagit River Journal

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Noel V. Bourasaw, editor (bullet) 810 Central Ave., Sedro-Woolley, Washington, 98284
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Bus Jungquist Furniture, 829 Metcalf St.,
Sedro-Woolley, closed in March 2008

(Benson store)
      This 1946 postcard shows downtown Sedro-Woolley in the era during and right after World War II. Looking north on Metcalf from State Street, we see Bus Jungquist's building when it was the J.C. Penney's store. To the north is the Cascade Cafe in the place of the present Sedro-Woolley Bakery, and the Safeway Store is in the place of Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop. On the left or west side, Musser's Variety is in the place of Cascade Fabrics in the old Knights of Pythias/Princess Theater building and Pete & Bob's Cafe is in the place of Holland Drugs.

Bus Jungquist passed away in 2009. See his obituary here.

      Update: Metcalf Street and Sedro-Woolley residents were somewhat shocked in January 2008 to discover that Bus Jungquist plans to close his 41-year-old furniture business in March 2008, the same month of his 90th birthday. Those of us who see him often, however, have realized for the past year that he wants to have more time to spend with his wife of nearly 69 years, Berniece Benson Jungquist, a daughter of Skiyou/Utopia pioneers. This will likely be a welcome spot of time off for their son, Craig Jungquist, who has worked at the store since he was a schoolboy. They are all dear friends and I wish them a happy future. But it will still be hard for us to see "out of business" signs in that window as they were in 1983-84 when the J.C. Penney's store closed. There was such relief and good will when Craig and Bus and others carted their stock of furniture across the street from the original location on the west side. They had opened in that location 17 years before, where Grand Rapids Furniture, Curry Fine Furniture and Ferngren's furniture stood since the turn of the 20th Century. Coupled with Glenn Allen Jewelry also closing months ago, and a new business name taking its place on the west side of Metcalf, this second change will likely make many longtime residents sad. In Bus's present building any resident as long in the tooth as the author will recall the fascination as a child to see the sales slips disappear with a whoosh, as they were taken by pneumatic tube up to the mezzanine Penney's office. And we will long remember how Bus showed up at his store with the same focus to almost age 90.

(Benson store)
      This is the original Benson store on Jameson Street. We recently learned from John Stendal that the building was originally moved from Central Street sometime during the Depression years of the 1930s. It was built by the Stendal family and was operated on the corner of State Street, next to their home in the 800 block of Central.

Original history and biography of Bus Jungquist family
      Bus Jungquist Furniture is located in one of the most historic buildings in Sedro-Woolley and the business is owned by a family that descends from pioneers who settled in both western Skagit county and the upriver area. The business is rooted in old-fashioned, personalized service and over the last 36 years it has adapted to every new business challenge to become the rare retailer that actually grows stronger in a downtown location. The Jungquists have become such leaders in the business community that many of their customers are grandchildren of the original shoppers.
      Old timers in Sedro-Woolley probably remember the building best for when it was one of the key stores in the national J.C. Penney's chain. The lots themselves at the northeast corner of State and Metcalf streets are literally located on the boundary between the old towns of Sedro and Woolley. This area was once called "The Bowery" and for the first 33 years of the settlement it was a "no-man's land" because the title was clouded by a dispute over ownership.
      The lots were originally the property of Norman B. Kelley, the man who platted the town of "new Sedro," which was located where the high school stands today. Kelley and his wealthy investor father were from New York City and they bought both commercial and residential property in both towns on speculation. The younger Kelley died in 1894 and it took more than a decade for attorneys to sort out the paperwork from dozens of lots.From the very early days of Woolley these lots were used for picnics and advertising billboards since they stood at the spot where the two towns met. The Bowery building was erected sometime just before the two towns merged in 1898 and it evolved into what was later called the Opera House and the Moose Hall. For the next 25 years the lots stood empty. In 1923, during a business boom, the local Masonic Lodge erected a one-story building with a mezzanine that housed the Ludwick-Wuest hardware and furniture store at ground level, with a huge basement and heating plant below it. The lodge planned to add a second story when they could afford it but the Great Depression six years later scotched that plan permanently.
      The J.C. Penney's store opened further north on Metcalf in 1915 and when the Ludwick-Wuest store failed in 1938, Gus Gilbertson moved his Penney's franchise into the building. Penney's was a downtown fixture for nearly 70 years and many people still remember the amazing pneumatic tube system that whisked paperwork for purchases all over the store.
      Back in 1939, Bus Jungquist married a local girl, Bernice Benson. He had grown up in the Burlington area and worked for many years for the Darigold plant there. When World War II broke out, Bus entered the U.S. Army. During basic training he was assigned to the field artillery, initially learning to operate the truck-drawn 105 Howitzer. Later he trained with the 75 Pack artillery, which utilized mules for transportation in mountain warfare. Rising through the ranks, he became a first sergeant and joined the 155th Howitzer Artillery Battalion and ended up in the mountains of Italy "in time to help the Germans to decide to surrender," Bus notes. He was then ordered to take over a 155 mm Long Tom Artillery outfit, which was drawn by tractor. When the war in Germany ended shortly afterwards, Bus wound up in the Army of occupation in Northern Italy. He was finally shipped home in 1946 and was discharged at Fort Lewis.

(Benson store)
This is same building as Bus Jungquist remodeled it in the early 1950s.

No matter where you're located, these days it's wise to make sure your business is protected with one of the many types of surveillance camera systems. A surveillance camera of some sort can assist in protecting your company from all types of danger. Browse the web for additional information.

      In 1949 Bus bought his father-in-law's grocery store on Jameson street. For the next 18 years he ran the store and sold Met Life insurance. In 1967 he took the opportunity to open a furniture store in the location across Metcalf from the present store, where Bill Ferngren vacated his earlier furniture store. Ferngren's store dated back to the turn of the century when Grand Rapids Furniture opened in that location. That store became Curry's Fine Furnishings, owned by Harvey Curry, who was mayor of the town at one time. Bus recalls with pride how his association with Larry Burke at that point. Burke worked with the business for 30 years until he retired in 1997 and still works part time.
      After the Penney's store closed in 1983, Bus moved his business across the street on Thanksgiving weekend 1984. Bus's son, Craig, remembers that weekend well because snow fell and the move was especially challenging. The Jungquists invested a great deal in adapting the old building into a modern business that now offers the most advanced lines in furniture, televisions and entertainment center items. When you visit, make sure you walk down to the basement, which shows the solid construction of the buildings of the time. And ask to see the safe, which is the oldest one left in town and possibly in the county, dating from the early 1890s.

See the Check Out Sedro-Woolley First page for the history of many historic Sedro-Woolley businesses and buildings.

Story posted on May 1, 2004, updated and moved to this domain May 6, 2009
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(bullet) Oliver-Hammer Clothes Shop at 817 Metcalf Street in downtown Sedro-Woolley, 90 years continually in business.
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