or GrandPa Pidgeon's
was a discount store founded in 1954 by Tom and Mildred Pidgeon, spreading across the midwest from its Bridgeton, Missouri
(near St. Louis
) origins, which remained truly "discount", when most others like Venture
gradually raised prices in order to finance a more attractive layout and broader range of merchandise. Tom Pidgeon, born in Sebring, Ohio
, was in the low price china business from the early 1930s to the early 1950s. He sold his company, Pidgeon Vitrified China in 1953 when he foresaw the impact plastic was having on the lower end dinnerware market. The first Grandpa Pidgeon's was opened in February 1954 and managed by his son-in-law, John (Jack) Holley, born in 1924 in Galena, Kansas
.In 1958 Jack Holley began a separate but related enterprise known as Grandpa's, and opened a store on Collinsville Road between East St. Louis and Collinsville, Illinois. Over the next decade, Holley subsequently opened several other stores in the St. Louis metropolitan area, before buying the company outright from his father-in-law in 1968.
Holley formed the Gramex Corporation
in 1970, which also oversaw such companies as Forsyth Computers
and Omni Sports
, which was forced to close due to increasing competition.
In 1986 Jack Holley retired and turned the company over to his oldest son Tom Holley, who presided over an expansion both within and outside the metro St. Louis area into locations such as Greenville, Illinois
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