The New Year has brought changes to Caylor’s Corners on Main Street.
Keller Construction is renovating the front half of the building to house the new Community Care of Central Wisconsin offices, scheduled to open April 1.
The back half of the building contains Caylor’s traditional cold weather clothing, footwear and furnishings. Caylor’s will remain open for business throughout the construction, and beyond. The entrance to the store has moved farther south along the west side of the building.
“I want to assure you that nothing you have come to expect from the Caylor name will change, we are just downsizing to enhance the service we provide,” said owner Tim Caylor. “In turning this chapter in the history of the store, I would like to note that this decision did not come lightly, but in today’s economic times it makes sense to focus on what we do best.
“Caylor’s will still be found in the same building, although on a smaller scale,” Tim added. “Don’t be afraid to stop by and check us out while the dust from the construction settles.”
The Caylor family has been in business in Merrill for 74 years. The family moved to Merrill in 1937 and operated a food store for a number of years. The present business has seen many changes since Tim’s father, C. L. “Bud” Caylor started the retail business in 1954 at 409 W. Main St. The salvage store was known for good deals on quality merchandise, friendly humor and credit; something not easily extended in those days. The community responded in kind and many lifelong friendships were made by Bud that continued down through generations.
The growth of the business called for a number of moves to larger facilities. The second location was at 604 W. Main St., across from Trinity School. The next move was to 1219-21 E. Main St. This site was a much larger building and Bud wondered aloud how he would ever fill it. He should not have worried as he continued the expansion of merchandise, completely going away from his original stock of freight merchandise and beginning to fill customers’ needs for clothes, shoes and household items. The lines of merchandise were expanded further by Bud’s philosophy that he paid rent all the way to the ceiling and usually managed to use all of the rented space.
A move into furniture resulted in the expansion across Main Street from the former Kamke Hardware Store. This doubling of floor space allowed more opportunity to serve the Merrill community.
The year 1974 brought the present location of the business. Plautz’s Creamery and Associated Co-op repair shop, located in the 1400 block of East Main Street, were no longer in use and this property was razed for the new structure. The question again arose on how they would be able to fill this building, but more companies with more lines of merchandise were added to the staple of Caylor humor.
Something that also needs to be recognized is the legion of workers who came and went with the store throughout the years. Cecil Hill was the first employee hired by Bud and still checked in up until just before his death. Many others became part of the extended family and their honesty and loyalty helped keep Caylor’s customer base through the years.
Each of the Caylor children were expected to work in the retail business, along with Ma Caylor, before and after Bud’s sudden death in 1962. The Caylor family is now situating themselves for the next generation. As Tim and Donna Caylor head towards retirement, their daughter Mary will eventually take over the day-to-day operation of Caylors Corners.
“Thanks again for being loyal customers and friends,” Tim said, “we look forward to building the next chapter in Merrill’s retail history with you into the next generation. We’ve been in business for 74 years and are looking forward to 75.”