LIMA — In 1998, nearly 100 years after they went up in the horse-and-buggy days at the end of the 19th century, the Linneman and Dorsey buildings in the 200 block of South Main Street came down.
The buildings had been home to many businesses since they were erected in 1899. Heiniger’s Bargain Store, Empire Furniture and Carpet Co., and Baum and Roth used cars — including Hupmobiles — were among the first of many businesses to occupy the buildings at 210 and 212 S. Main St.
Since 1951, however, there had been only one tenant — Bindel’s Furniture and Appliances. By the time the buildings were demolished in early 1998, they were known collectively as the Bindel building.
When other businesses started moving out of downtown in the 1960s, Lou Bindel, the store’s founder resisted, his children told The Lima News when he died in 2005 at the age of 79. “It wasn’t until Veterans Memorial Civic Center officials came calling so they could expand its parking that he finally gave in and moved the store to Elm Street,” the News wrote March 26, 2005. Bindel’s is now at 3219 W. Elm St.
Although Bindel’s Furniture and Appliances first opened its doors for business in 1948 at 211 S. Main St. — across the street from the building that would become its home three years later — its roots go back a quarter century earlier.
In 1924, Indiana native Milo S. Daniels opened the Maytag Store at 108 E. Spring St. That same year, in the first of many relocations — the store was moved to 217 S. Main St., where, according to ads at the time, consumers could find Utenco Irons and Liberty Vacuum Cleaners in addition to Maytag washing machines. That is, if they could find the Maytag store, which became a frequent mover.
The store was moved to the southeast corner of the Public Square in 1925, then to 212 S. Pierce St. in 1926, before returning to the Public Square the later that same year.
About this time Daniels found himself in financial hot water. In September 1926 he was sued by his store manager. “Ferdinand G. Ziegenbusch sought court aid in the collection of $1,115, which he alleges is due him from Milo S. Daniels, 819 W. Market St., for services as sales manager for the Maytag Store for which he claims he was to receive $65 a week.” Ziegenbusch won a judgment for $1,127 in December 1926.
Daniels eventually returned to Indiana and A.E. Riegel took over the Maytag dealership in 1927, the same year in which it was moved to 219 N. Elizabeth St. and became known as Riegel’s Maytag. Riegel’s Maytag stayed at that location for nearly five years. In 1932, the store was moved to 123 W. Market St., before pulling up stakes and moving the following year to 228 N. Elizabeth St.
By 1937, the Lima City Directory showed Riegel was doing business at 325 N. Main St., while, in November of the same year, an ad in the News touted “the new Maytag store” at 134 W. Spring St. offering Maytag washers and ironers, Monarch electric ranges, Stewart-Warner refrigerators and Howard radios. On Aug. 11, 1942, an ad in the News announced that “Maytag’s new location” was open in “room No. 5, Waldo Alley, just off Main.” On June 2, 1946, a News ad announced that “Lima’s old reliable Maytag store” would be located at 211 S. Main St.
In December 1947, the Maytag Co., which was founded in Newton, Iowa, in 1893, announced that its five millionth washing machine had come off the assembly line. Riegel, owner of the Lima store, “referred to the accomplishment as a ‘classic example’ of the private enterprise system in operation,” the News wrote.
Another classic example of the free enterprise system in operations occurred the following year. “Robert Hoover, Louis E. Bindel and Raymond Kruse announced Saturday the dissolution by mutual agreement of their partnership in the Hoover Appliance Co., N. Main St.,” the News reported Oct. 24, 1948. “Hoover will continue to operate the store while Bindel is the new owner and operator of the Maytag store, 211 S. Main St. The store will carry a complete line of Maytag products and radios, refrigerators and ranges.” Riegel, the former owner, stayed on until about 1954.
Bindel, an Army Air Corps veteran of World War II was born Jan. 26, 1926, in Delphos to Fred and Nora Mox Bindel. On April 22, 1944, he married Mary L. Ditto, who would serve as bookkeeper at Bindel’s Furniture and Appliance. His brother, Irven Bindel, born July 27, 1924, also worked in the store for many years as sales manager and was co-founder of Bindel’s store in Findlay.
“There was no question that Lou Bindel had a strong work ethic, from his days selling vegetables door to door as a child during the Great Depression to lying about his age so he could work at a soda shop, said Linda Miller, Lou Bindel’s daughter,” the News wrote in 2005.
As it had under Daniels and Riegel, the store was soon on the move — but not very far. On Jan. 3, 1951, it moved from 211 to 212 S. Main St., just across the street. It would remain there until the move to West Elm Street.
Bindel began a series of improvements on his store after purchasing the building at 212 S. Main St. in January 1955. “Complete remodeling and expansion of Bindel Appliances, 212 S. Main St., is being completed this week, Lou Bindel, manager of the store, announced today,” the News wrote Dec. 5, 1957. “Bindel said the organization has sold and serviced appliances for the past 10 years but is now dealing in furniture also. The second floor of the building has been taken over to provide room for the furniture department.” Bindel added that “a completely new 50 foot outside front has been completed constructed of glass and aluminum …”
Bindel again expanded the store in 1967. “Offering prestige appliances and furniture, owners Bindel and his wife, Mary, have quadrupled their business over the past 20 years. The store also houses Bindel’s service department,” the News wrote Jan. 15, 1967. A year later, Bindel “acquired an adjacent building and incorporated it into his furniture and appliance outlet. A new front was added, and interior improvements included paneling of several areas and general sales area expansion,” the News reported Feb. 25, 1968.
Reach Greg Hoersten at firstname.lastname@example.org.