Smith Store, Blanca Colorado


Smith Store was closed a few years ago. Below is a short article written about it when it was still open. The building is still a landmark in Blanca.

Smith Store, at Main and Broadway Streets in Blanca, still has on old-fashioned aura about it. The antique candy counter has been the delight of generations of youngsters. A hand-cranked National Cash Register is still in use. The register was one of the first produced by the company, according to a former National employee. Plants fill the deep display windows.

The 25 x 50 foot general store, run by Alice and Lonnie Smith, is full of canned, frozen and fresh groceries, animal food, OTC medicine, paper products, coloring books and more.

"We have a lot of travelers who stop to show their kids what a country store is like," Alice Smith said. The most frequent question asked by the children is "How do you shop here without shopping carts?"

Many former residents of Blanca stop by to relive old memories. They appreciate how few changes have been made over the years.

The building has been a landmark since early 1900s. Originally built as a shoe store, it was converted in the 1930's into a general store run by Margaret Vohs and Ida Allen. Alice and Lonnie Smith bought the building, property and inventory in 1971. Since their opening on Memorial Day that year, the store has been an important part of the community.

Alice and Lonnie offer many services to approximately 350 families who live in and near Blanca. For many years, Smith Store had the only pay phone in town. In this rural area, before the introduction of cellular phones, this was the only way many residents could keep in touch with their extended families.

The Store acts as a central communications hub for the community. Town notices are posted on the door. UPS packages for residents in hard-to-find rural areas are often left at Smith Store. Alice sees to it that they reach the customer. Even residents will leave packages or notes for other residents there.

"We like to help people," Alice said indicating why they provide another service. Smith Store, like corner groceries years ago, still extends credit to many customers. "The community has learned how we work," she said. Because they are careful and limit the amount of credit they allow, they have very few problems. But, " If they don’t come in to pay when they say they will, that’s it."

Even with their limited space, Alice and Lonnie have allowed community members to sell their crafts in the store. One display case also houses local crafts.

For 27 years, Smith Store has been a service point for Blanca Telephone Company. Customers can apply for new services, pay their phone bills, and complain about problems. Alice takes the trouble reports and route them to the appropriate person at BTC.

Over the years, Alice has watched many Blanca children at the store. Parents who can’t be home for some reason when school lets out know their children will be safe at Smith Store.

Selling groceries is how they make a living. But service to the community is how Alice and Lonnie Smith make living in Blanca better for all its residents.

The Official Website of the Town of Blanca
Designed and Built by Jean Butler
Jean Butler 2004-2006

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