April 15, 2008
Hopedale History
No. 106
Billy Draper's Store 

Hopedale in April         

Town Hall stained glass windows  

The Little Red Shop interior, 1953

Letter from General Draper to Statue of Hope sculptor, Waldo Story.    


Billy Draper's store, on Hope Street, across from the Community House, is now a private residence, but years ago it was one of the most active businesses in town. Here is an article by Virginia Cyr, written back when the store had just been purchased by the family of Hopedale's present fire chief, Scott Garland. The version below is a bit shortened. Click here for the complete story, along with a few of my memories of delivering papers from there in the fifties.

"Billy Draper's" Is Landmark 

Hopedale Country Store Renovated 

By Virginia Cyr

HOPEDALE - Anyone living in this town, or those taking up residence here just seem to know where         "Billy Draper's" is. The first place youngsters become aware of is "Billy Draper's" which in reality is officially the Draper News Store. 

   It is and always has been, an important part of life for all ages. Youngsters go to the store in droves, both before and after school to fill little brown paper bags with penny candy. For some reason, though the years, penny candy has always been sought after, and even though the price has risen in some cases to two cents for each piece of candy, the store continues to offer a variety of penny candy, including Tootsie Rolls. 

   Adults have visited the store daily through the years to obtain the daily and Sunday paper. It is the only store in town dealing in newspapers. 

   The store has been purchased by the Garland family of Upton, and Sunday the grand opening of the store which has been undergoing changes at a rapid pace will be held. Those adults visiting the store will be served apple-cider donuts (donuts made with apple cider). Youngsters, accompanied by their parents will receive penny candy and balloons. 

   Arthur Johnson, who is responsible for the early shift operations at the store, will serve as official greeter for the grand opening.  

   In conjunction with the grand opening celebration, a benefit sidewalk sale will by conducted on the lawn at the Community House, directly across the street from Draper News Store.Any non-profit organization wishing to raise money for its group is invited to attend and set up a table, from where its items may be sold.

  The store is a delightful trip back though the years with pickles stored in ceramic crocks, country jams and jellies, antique toys, sewing and artists' supplies, school supplies, roasted peanuts and other similar items displayed. 

   In addition to the newspapers and penny candy, the store has magazines and books. Soda and milk are sold and bulk products range from rabbit pellets to lawn seed, tools and hardware items. The tobacco, candy and newspaper selections have been expanded and include numerous additional brands and types.

   Goals planned for the store are first to continue to expand as a news agency which is the store's primary function and secondly, like the early country store, to become a place which has a little bit of everything. 

   The owners specialize in items produced by local small business persons. Already available is milk in returnable glass bottles supplied by Town Line Dairy, donuts, breads and pies, homemade by Bill Toby of Upton, a former Draper Corp. employee and handcrafter ceramic bells and hanging flowerpots made by potter Lawrence DeJong.

    Walls, ceilings, and windows have been completely replaced and the old wooden floor was sanded down to its original surface. All the shelves and racks were built-in, made out of pine. A pine counter and display windows were added. Everything was hand built for a specific purpose, including the cigarette racks, which were made of wood. 

   The old oak candy case is the one piece of furniture which remains following the store restoration. An old oak-cased gumball machine, which still dispenses a gumball for one-cent has been located by the Garlands and is in operation at the store.  An antique brass scale will eventually be used to weigh out bulk candy. The owners have stated that they wish all their antiques to be functional. 

   The Garlands have employed their nephew, J. Dennis Robinson as store manager. Their sons, Scott and Barry Garland are also employed at the local store.
Milford Daily News, October 3, 1975.

Through much of the twentieth century, there were three unrelated Draper families living in Hopedale. The William Draper who founded the newspaper store was not related to the Draper Corporation Drapers.

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