Back in 1897, J. J. Perkins opened his first dry goods store on the Decatur, Texas square. Known as The Red Store, Perkins ‘Shouted the glad tidings’ in the Decatur Wise County Messenger:
The reign of High Prices is over. Decatur again has a store that stands by the people–a store that underbuys all others by buying in Large Quantities and Paying SPOT CASH. A store that will stand by you in time of need. A store that is contented with a small margin. We have made our money in Buying–not in Selling. This store is THE RED STORE–the makers, leaders and protectors of Low Prices. In the RED STORE you have a store that has fought the Credit System from beginning to end. The credit system is the curse of the land. In buying on a credit you are forging your own chains of bondage. Break loose your shackles and join the eager happy throng at THE RED STORE that are buying goods for almost half what they were paying when they bought from the High Priced Credit Merchant.
I wrote previously about the Perkins-Timberlake chain of Northwest Texas in the Olney post. Perkins first store was on the Northwest corner of the Square in the Hollenbeck Building (demolished 1970) and a year later he moved to the West side of the Square. Finally by 1900, he was permanently located in the middle of the North side of the square in the Hatcher Building. In 1934, the store was completed remodeled and modernized with “new hardwood floors, Grand Rapids latest fixtures and a modern lighting system” (Decatur Wise County Messenger, 1934).
Perkins went into partnership with his nephew, Frank P. Timberlake about 1914 and they opened stores in Bowie, Electra, Haskell, Jacksboro, Olney, Seymour, Vernon, and Wichita Falls, Texas and Fredericksburg, Oklahoma throughout the years.
The Wise County Tax Appraisal office building gives the date of construction as 1937.