Herb Granville, of The Men’s Shop

A week or so ago I was having a conversation with a friend and the subject turned to Little League baseball during our youth.

I remember our team sponsor was a men’s clothing store up in Minneapolis (this, of course, was quite a few years ago). Although we weren’t much good at pitching, hitting or fielding, we were the “sportiest” looking team in our town. Our maroon and gray uniforms were so nice we didn’t want to get them dirty by sliding — on grass or the dirt infield.

Herb Granville was born in Stanhope in 1912 and graduated from school there in 1929. He held a couple of jobs in Stanhope before he married Bonnie Bluebell Knight in August of 1940. The two operated grocery stores in Stanhope and in Boone for several years, finally relocating to Webster City.

In 1957 they bought what became Granville’s Men’s Shop, which they operated for 25 years. The couple were well connected to the community. Indeed, the whole county. Herb was a charter member and president of the Stanhope Lions Club, a past president of the Webster City Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the local noon Kiwanis, along with the Webster City Country Club. He was also very active in several local community theater productions.

Owning a men’s clothing store had busy and slow times throughout the year. While getting a haircut a few days ago, Russ Chelesvig, my new favorite barber, shared a few stories of his time working at Granville’s while he attended high school here. I’ll remember them, but may not share any as my own research revolves around newspapers from the local past. Russ also told me a bit about his father-in-law, Dick Owens; I’ll be writing about him in the very near future.

Meanwhile, there was a time when Herb noticed a couple of younger men, one really a boy, acting a bit suspicious in the store.

When they left, without any purchase, he followed them outside and alerted Chief of Police “Ding” Edwards (from last week’s article). Ding stopped the two at Des Moines and Second and found clothing from The Men’s Shop on the back seat of their car. They had also shoplifted from the Williams Drug store. The incident was reported in the Friday, May 10, 1963, edition of The Daily Freeman-Journal.

There are countless ads from The Men’s Shop in the newspapers sponsoring events and supporting graduates from the high school. I am drawn, in particular, to the ads for clothing and how they changed through the years (prices included). A favorite of mine — for Higgins slacks from about 1970 — reads “Choose your pairs from a vast array of new groovy stripes, startling plaids and compound solids. Up to date styling in traditional, continental and the popular flares.”

Herb retired in 1982, selling the store to another proprietor.

The local community theater group produced a “Herb Granville Roast” performance as a fundraiser in 1983, complete with a turkey dinner and social hour. I’m sure all who attended had a good time.

Herb and Bonnie continued to live in Webster City until 1990, when Herb passed; he had been in failing health for a few years. Bonnie followed him to also reside in Our Neighborhood in 2006.

Our Neighborhood is a column by Michael Eckers focusing on the men and women whose presence populates Graceland Cemetery in Webster City.


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