Billy Draper's Store by Ray Andreotti

    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.

    Since the paragraph above was written, Billy Draper's Store has been razed and replaced with a parking lot for
    patrons at Community House functions. Use the link above to see the story of the store from early days up to its

                                                                        "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

      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. Click here
    for a bit about the "other Drapers."

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