McGLASSON'S MARKS HALF-CENTURY IN BUSINESS
By Bill Rautenstrauch
In historic downtown La Grande, a historic moment is drawing near.
On July 22, McGlasson's Stationery turns 50.
The company was founded by a Dallas, Oregon, couple who came to La Grande for the health of one of their children.
Those founders, Max and Betty McGlasson, are long gone from the downtown business scene. But current owners Carol and Doug Campbell are proud the McGlasson name lives on.
"At the time we bought it, the most important thing was keeping the store alive as McGlasson's," said Carol, the store's manager.
The McGlassons moved to
La Grande in 1954. One of their four children suffered from asthma, and their doctor had advised them to find a higher, drier climate than the one in Dallas.
They bought Clark's stationery store in the 1100 block of Adams, and operated there for about five years. Then they purchased Shorb's, La Grande's other stationery store, and moved to its location at 1403 Adams.
The McGlassons were in business on Adams Avenue for 28 years. When they retired, they sold the enterprise to Jody Presley.
In turn, Presley sold it still under the McGlasson name to Charlene George. She kept the McGlasson name also. In September 1991 she moved the business to its current location in the Berry Building, 1210 Adams.
The store's product line has long included Hallmark cards and gift items, and the move was made to foster a better business relationship with the national corporation.
"Charlene wanted to be a Hallmark Gold Crown dealer, and the store at 1403 Adams wasn't adequate," Doug Campbell said. "They were required to have a better location and more floor space."
McGlasson's became a Gold Crown store in 1992, and remains so today.
Carol Campbell, formerly Carol Paris, grew up in La Grande and knew the McGlassons well.
"They were my second family," she said.
She also worked in the store when George owned it. In 1999, when George who by then had married Ralph Giuffre decided to sell, buying in seemed the right thing to do.
"McGlasson's was about to become extinct, and we didn't want that to happen. Max and Betty were our neighbors, and we couldn't deal with the fact that the name would go kaput," Carol said.
With her experience, Carol was well suited to manage the enterprise. The move also seemed right for Doug, a retired Eastern Oregon University chemistry professor with an interest in community development.
"It was a good chance for me to keep busy, and be involved with downtown," said Doug, the current president of the La Grande Downtown Development Association.
Today, the business is a three-pronged operation, selling cards and stationery, gift items and office supplies.
It provides full-time work for Carol, and part-time work for nine people, including two college students during the summer months.
In an era of big-box stores, the business lives on because of a commitment to high-quality customer service, Carol said.
"To compete, we know we have to excel at customer service. We have to find what our customers want, and deliver special things big box stores can't," she
Fifty years of McGlasson's Stationery will be officially commemorated July 22 with a celebration that includes door prizes and refreshments.
Betty McGlasson, 92, will be on hand to meet with customers and recall the days when she and her husband did business on Adams Avenue.
Max McGlasson died last year.
The celebration continues through Saturday with sales and promotional events.