Squires and Spurlocks: Joined at the hip since 1901


Randy Spurlock and his mother, Dorothy smile as they show us the first Spurlocks Store in Squires, Missouri. The store was opened in 1901 by C.M. Spurlock, Randy's grandfather and Dorothy's father-ini-law.

Randy Spurlock and his mother, Dorothy, smile as they show us the first Spurlocks Store in Squires, Missouri. The store was opened in 1901 by C.M. Spurlock, Randy's grandfather and Dorothy's father-in-law. Randy is wearing his volunteer fireman beeper. More about that later.

Maybe it’s something in the water. Perhaps it’s the clean country air. Could be some fine genetic traits chasing each other in an endless loop. Or none of the above.  Whatever it is, it’s working. Squires, Missouri and Spurlocks Store continue to share success after beginning the partnership in 1901. Though the word “general” is not in the name of the store, Spurlocks is a general store in the truest sense of the word.

This story is a continuation of a rousing start on the Photo of the Week page at Corndancer.com. To get in on the beginning and see some other pictures, click here.

A house on a hill cannot be hid (den?) Spurlocks commands the top the the hill at Country Road JJ and Highway 5. You simply cannot miss it.

A house on a hill cannot be hid (den?) Spurlocks commands the top the the hill at Country Road JJ and Highway 5 in southern Missouri. You simply cannot miss it. You don't want to miss it. Don't even think about not stopping.

The sprawling store’s shelves are stacked like cord wood with food, hardware, clothing, plumbing supplies and a plethora or other merchandise.  A neophyte to the store could probably spend a couple of hours browsing and still miss some of the good stuff.

Think about it though. The nearest larger town is Ava, population 3,000 plus, nine miles away. So if you are to serve your customers well, you have to bite the bullet and pile in the inventory. It’s apparent that the Spurlocks believe in the old adage, ” … you can’t sell off an empty wagon.”

Fred Spurlock, son of C.M. and father of Randy, assumed the mantle of leadership for the store after his service on the battlefields of Europe in World War II. Fred earned four Bronze Stars and a Silver Star as a scout. The scouts move ahead of the infantry, sniff out the bad guys and radio information back. Fred’s unit was in the thick of things in the Battle of the Bulge. No wonder they call those folks “The Greatest Generation.”

In the fifties, Fred Spurlock decided it was time for Squires to have an operational volunteer fire department, so he took the bit in his teeth and led the charge. He and a few others found a fire truck and made a deal. The deal fell through. Undaunted, Fred and friends found another truck. This time they were successful. As time went on, the community continued to support the volunteer fire department with donations, fundraisers and a lot of volunteer sweat. Because of this diligence and dedication, Squires has a fine community center and fire department building. The community center is dedicated to the memory of Fred Spurlock.

Old Glory snaps in a stiff breeze at the Squires Community Center. Residents of the community raised the money and built the center themselves, a concept too often forgotten in this day and time. (Old military guys remember the term "full value wind," this is it).

Old Glory snaps in a stiff breeze at the Squires Community Center. Residents of the community raised the money and built the center themselves, a concept too often forgotten in this day and time. Old military guys, take note. This is a "full-value" wind.

Squires has an official population of 35. The US Post Office, housed as it has been for the last 100 years or so in Spurlocks Store, serves about 250 give or take a few, in the community area. Every fourth of July, the population of Squires spikes. Around 3,000 or so hardy souls show up for the Squires Independence Day celebration. Many of these are repeat attenders.

This small cadre of good folks are showing the rest of of us “how it’s done.”

Thanks for dropping by,

Joe

PS: The coffee at Spurlocks Store is always hot and free.

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13 Responses

  1. Great story and photographs Joe.

    Couldn’t wait to get up this morning to see what you wrote about your backroads excursions this past weekend.

    Glad to see you made it home ok.

  2. Many thanks Bruce. It was a “I got lucky day.”
    Joe

  3. Great photos Joe. We’ll have to do that sometime up at my cabin — I believe you would enjoy that.
    I VERY much enjoyed the weekend, the company, your presence and advice. Am looking forward to another “round”.
    mike

  4. Mike, glad you enjoyed the shots and it was a pleasure to make your acquaintance. And I am a willing participant in the mission to shoot the cabin.
    Joe

  5. My cousin sent me your piece. Fred Spurlock was her uncle. Two of Fred’s sisters married into families of my parents. One married a Kellogg, and one a Robertson. Both had farms about 4 miles north of Squires. The Kellogg farm was on Hwy 5. I can assure you, many relatives of the Spurlocks will view your wedsite and Corn Dancer. Very enjoyable. Thanks for stopping at Squires.

  6. Tommy, thanks for your kind words. It was almost as if fate drove me to Squires. My pickup was low on gas and for some reason, I did not fill it on Friday before I headed to more remote areas. I know now that it probably was “Divine” intervention, since I may or may not have had the gumption to go there on my own volition.
    If any of your kin or friends would like to be added to the weekly distribution list for the photo of the week and weekly grist, let me know.
    Thanks again,
    Joe

  7. Thank you so much for your story! My grandmother was Fred Spurlock’s sister Ethel and when my sister and I were little one of our favorite places to go was the store. I have so many good memories from Squires with my uncles, aunts, and cousins. Places like it are truly the lifeblood of this nation!

  8. Daniel, that’s the way I saw it. Squires MO is America at it’s best. I walked in the store and was made to feel at home right away. Thanks for your observations and visiting our blog.
    Joe

  9. Thanks for stepping into my Grandpa Fred’s store. I’m Randy’s son and I am away at college. I’m sure it would have been nice to have met you…
    It is a great feeling to see the posts of the people who have benefited from our store, seeing and helping the people is why I enjoy the business so much!
    Thanks again,
    John S.

  10. John, I can tell you like I have told others, Spurlock’s Store, your family and Squires are at the top of the pecking order when it comes to community spirit and a good place to live. Thanks for looking. Perhaps we’ll meet sometime.
    Joe

  11. Joe,
    Reading the story and the comments, you’re a celeb! ha ha ..

    Great story, but a tad different from many others you’ve provided … but that’s ok. Instead of the mental journey through pictures and thoughts, this is simply a great story about people and life. To me, the last paragraph at Corndancer says it all.

    Well done!

  12. Frank, finding this story reinforces my belief that, in spite of our own ineptitude, a Higher Power sometimes grabs us by the scruff of the neck and sticks our nose into opportunity. Gives new meaning to nearly running out of gas.
    Thanks,
    Joe

  13. Randy, I have been researching my Spurlock family line and found your site. Descending from Mary Lavina Spurlock (my great-grandmother), daughter of John Milton Spurlock & Nancy Shelton, I have heard stories about Missouri, in particular Ava & Squires. Believe it or not, The Spurlock Store is known to your relatives here in California. Thank you for the photos on Weekly Grist & Corn Dancer.
    Elaine Tavizon, from Temecula, California

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