For over 100 years Thomas Bros. Country Store offered a wide range of merchandise to locals and travelers alike. As of 2017, Thomas Bros. Country Store began the biggest change in its history. Changes and upgrades will include a new museum and retail store on the first floor, with senior living residences on the second and third floors.
Founded in 1909 by brothers, Ner and G.R. Thomas, it quickly became the commercial and entertainment center for Biglerville and the surrounding towns. As a traditional country store, Thomas Bros. was all-encompassing selling anything from sugar and fabric to nails and horse collars. It was the hub for local farmers to sell and transport goods and for townspeople to purchase all household needs. The second and third floors also functioned as community spaces with events ranging from formal banquets to donkey basketball.
Images above (left to right): Ner and Jean Thomas (circa 1960); transporting milk to Hershey Creamery; Marion, Ner, and Jean Thomas (circa 1960)
Celebrate President's Day!
Dwight D. "Ike" Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States and U.S. Army Five-Star General, and his wife, Maime, were among the store's many customers. The Eisenhowers would visit Thomas Bros. when staying at their farm in Gettysburg, a National Park Service Historic Site, approximately 10 miles south of Biglerville.
On one particular occasion, Dwight and Maime’s visit to the store was covered in a New York Times front page article (May 28, 1960). President Eisenhower was most interested in the food department, specifically the Cope's dried corn.
Museum (anticipated opening: 2019)
The Museum will preserve the early- to mid-century historical character of the country store. Still in the planning stages, the primary permanent collections will include housewares, hardware, food and beverage, fashion, and President Eisenhower, along with rotating seasonal/special exhibitions.
Residences (anticipated opening: 2019)
Around the 1930s Thomas Bros. Country Store converted some of its office space to apartment-style housing. In a return to its earlier days, the space is now moving forward with a redesign to include senior living apartments on the second and third floors. Additionally, a small structure behind the main building will also be converted into living space.