Only 14 Hours Each Day

Business news from the Skidmore Standard, July 6, 1900:

Notice to Patrons. Skidmore, Mo., July 5, 1900: We, the undersigned, agree to close our respective places of business at 8 o’clock in the evening, except Saturdays, beginning July 9, 1900.
Sewell Bros. & Montgomery.
J. F. Kellogg.
E. T. Duval.
J. M. French & Co.
Manchester & Gill.
J. H. Grigsby.

To Close at Eight O’Clock.

The proprietors of the general stores in Skidmore agreed among themselves, Tuesday, to close their respective places of business promptly at eight o’clock, beginning with next Monday, July 9.

The question had been discussed frequently for some time, but some were afraid the town would lose custom if the plan should be adopted, and no agreement was ever arrived at until Tuesday. The warm weather may have been a potent factor in the argument for closing. But be that as it may, the move is certainly a commendable one and the patrons of these firms both in town and the country should help them to sustain it. Fourteen hours each day is ample time for every one living in the territory of the town to have his or her wants supplied and the merchants ought not be asked to keep their stores open longer.

By closing at eight o’clock, the merchants and their salesmen will have an hour or two for healthful recreation which will better fit them for their duties on the morrow. They will not have that tired feeling and will consequently feel more like giving their customers down weight or at least one hundred cents worth to the dollar.

Another important part of the agreement is that when the store is closed Saturday night, which by the way is not included in the eight o’clock clause, the key will be lost or thrown away until the following Monday morning. People who have been making a practice of asking the merchants to open their stores on Sunday for their accommodation would do well to remember this or they may have to go without sugar for their breakfast coffee, or even the coffee itself.

As with all changes, it took a while for some to adjust to this new schedule, but The Standard stood firm in its approval. From the July 13, 1900 Standard:

Open Only Fourteen Hours to the Day Now.

It is indeed a novel sight to see all the business houses – excepting confectioneries and drug stores – in town darkened before early bed time. It is a new order of things in Skidmore and may cause some little trouble for a time; but in the end people will fall in with the new regime and business will move along nicely in the same old groove.

Monday evening at promptly 8 o’clock the merchants – with the exceptions above mentioned – extinguished their lights and closed their stores. Many people loafed too long and failed to get their mail; and there may have been others too, who forgot to make their purchases before 8 o’clock; but one or two gentle reminders of this nature will prove efficacious and cause them to be more thoughtful in the future.