After 71 years, Pine River business says farewell
After 71 years of business, the descendants of Walt and Jeannette Silbaugh are saying a bittersweet farewell to business ownership.
The Silbaugh's daughter Jackie Wetrosky and her husband John decided nine years ago that it was time to sell their building. The doors are finally closing Aug. 17 after the clearance of the store products and fixtures is complete to make room for River Fitness.
The Wetrosky's have been winding down for some time. Nine years ago they sold their stock of clothing and closed Silbaugh's Department store, though they kept the doors open, selling cellular telephones and used furniture while waiting for a buyer. Four years ago they switched out the furniture for a consignment craft store called Plaid Duck Art Mall.
The store had gone through several changes even before then. When Walt and Jeannette purchased it it was called G&G (Gilchrist and Geary). It was also located in the basement of the building most recently used as a Masonic Lodge. There they sold army/navy surplus and furniture. They relocated to the building that now houses G&S in 1951 before Walt built a new building on the current lot. They moved there in 1959 and the business was renamed Silbaugh's Department Store, which sold clothing, shoes and fabric. They bought Hill Hardware next door and expanded into it in 1972. It remained that way until 1978 when John and Jackie bought it and added some gift items to better compete with big box stores. They ran Silbaugh's until nine years ago when they decided it was time to move on.