Stanton’s Shopping Center
Serving Alvin for 100 Years
The Stanton’s Shopping Center is celebrating its 100th Anniversary with an event on May 14th, 2022, and the Stanton family would like to invite the entire community to celebrate this accomplishment. The Stanton’s have been “Serving Alvin for 100 enjoyable years” through old-fashioned hard work, handshakes, and friendships with many wonderful people along the way. This anniversary is a triumph for the entire Alvin community as they have been together through the ups and downs of these last 100 years.
This event will be located at the store, 219 N Taylor Street, and will be an all-day affair. Guests are encouraged to start coming out around 11:00 am to enjoy The South Street Blue Grass Band, shop Stanton’s Specials, and grab some lunch! At 12:00 pm several local and state representatives will have a recognition ceremony for the Stanton family to honor their many years of service to the Alvin community. The new mural on the side of the building, highlighting the Stanton’s history, will also be on display for attendees to enjoy and take photos with. The event will continue into the evening with a free street dance at Scopel Square with Joe Blake Band at 7:00 pm.
The Stanton history runs deep in Alvin, and continues to this day. It all started when E.J. Stanton and his wife, Leah Ann moved to Alvin, Texas, with their two children, Mildred and George in July 1909 from Fon-du-Lac, Wisconsin. E.J. had been experiencing some health problems and it was thought that moving to a warmer climate would help him. The Stanton family purchased some property north of Alvin and began to work on different endeavors. Like most in the Alvin area, the Stanton’s, suffered an extreme setback financially after the hurricane of 1915, which many thought was more severe than the 1900 storm that destroyed Galveston Island. At the time of the storm in 1915, young George was following the wheat harvest in Oklahoma for extra money for the family. He told the Houston Post in 1955, of his sad return home that summer.
“When I got here the town looked pretty desolate. Mom and dad met me at the train station and they were both crying. Our house had been blown off the foundation blocks, and the barn and outbuildings were completely gone as well. All that was left were some chickens and they were in the house.”
As a result of the storm, George ended up leaving school to fully support the family by doing odd and end jobs, working the wheat harvest in Oklahoma and Kansas. In addition to George working the wheat harvest, he also went back to Wisconsin to work for his uncle. With these earnings coupled with the family buying and selling of cattle, the father and son team were able to purchase the Coward wood yard in 1921, which was located close to the present Alvin city library. They took orders for coal which was used by residents for heating and cooking and had it shipped by rail car then delivered by a wagon pulled by E.J.’s team of horses. In 1922 the Stanton’s purchased property along the rail line in Alvin and built a simple building naming their business “EJ Stanton and Son.” That building is still being used today as the feed store.
“Stanton’s in Alvin is really a ‘Rags to Riches’ story – one that shows what can be done in this great country of ours if a person is willing to work hard and take advantage of the opportunities as they arise in our country” – The Alvin Sun June 4, 1964.
In the beginning, the store sold feed and fuel. The location proved to be a good one, not only to receive goods cheaper by rail, but because it was across the street from the town’s ice house which was frequented by local dairy farmers needing ice to chill their milk. This gave the Stantons an opportunity to visit and sell feed to local dairy farmers. The store started slowly but quickly grew to sell four carloads of feed per day. Groceries were added after young George had purchased a case of All-Bran cereal for himself and found out customers wanted to buy it. The store expanded in 1924, establishing Alvin’s first “cash and carry grocery” in which customers received cheaper pricing if they paid in cash instead of the traditional charge account method of payment. E.J. passed away in 1929, just before another expansion later that year.
The 1929 expansion greatly increased the size of the store and the variety of products offered such as appliances, clothing, fabric, housewares, groceries, hardware, and a fountain area for meals. Slogans such as, “most of the best for less,” “if we don’t have it, you don’t need it,” and “Stanton’s six big stores in one” were always promoted. A commonly asked question is what are the six big stores in one? In the 1955 Houston Post article George Stanton said the six big stores in one are: grocery, feed, hardware, dry goods, drugs and fountain.
Stanton’s has always been known for its quality beef, however, in the early years of Alvin quality beef was unheard of because of the harsh Texas gulf coast climate making it almost impossible for such cattle to survive. However, George was determined to raise quality Hereford cattle in Alvin and sell their beef through his store. To do this he constructed on his farm special feeding pens with shade and concrete floors to keep the cattle out of the rain and mud. A slaughterhouse was built and a big red barn was erected for show cattle and hay storage. George was one of the original directors of the Houston Fat Stock Show and he exhibited the Champion carload of 15 steers at the 1934 show. These steers sold for 15 ½ cents per pound, 4 cents more than the previous champion steers the year before. The ranch exhibited one other time, in the Houston carload of steer’s competition in 1947, and again won Grand Champion Steers proving that quality cattle could be raised on the Texas Gulf Coast. One of Georg’s greatest pleasures was raising quality Hereford cattle with his son, Warren, in Alvin and on his hill country ranch in Johnson City, Texas.
Through the years Alvin and the surrounding area continued to grow and so did Stanton’s with another addition to the store in 1955, increasing the size of all store departments. Warren Stanton came to work at the store in 1957, and the name of the store was changed from “EJ Stanton and Son” to “Stanton’s Shopping Center.” Warren oversaw the last major expansion of the store which happened in 1973 bringing Stanton’s into the modern era of retail sales with modern displays, new cash register systems, and an even larger variety of goods and services.
George Stanton passed away in 1984 after a car accident, but a new generation of Stanton’s Warren’s sons, Allen, Neal, and Paul Stanton entered into the business bringing their own thoughts and ideas to the store. Again all the departments were rejuvenated and remodeled. Faced with stiff competition from large chain stores the grocery department slowly evolved into a one-of-a-kind meat market not only drawing on its history of quality beef, but featuring a vast array of store-made sausages, bacons, boudin, bacon-wrapped stuffed meats, and all kinds of exotic meats. Television advertisements on Houston TV stations have helped in getting the word out that “Stanton’s Meats – you can taste the difference” and that is it worth the drive to get these great-tasting meat products and see this historical store. Wild game processing has also become a large part of the business with many of the Stanton’s unique award-winning flavors being used in the making of customers’ wild game products.
It is through hard work and taking advantage of opportunities as they arise that Stanton’s got started 100 years ago and that continues to be the case 100 years later.
So many reasons to come out and celebrate such an amazing family on May 14th, 2022.