Morrison True Value celebrates 50 years

Don and Jackie Jevne are shown in front of Morrison True Value, 104 S. Genesee St., Morrison.

MORRISON — A little over 50 years ago, Don Jevne was in his first year as a music teacher in Scales Mound.

Deciding it was not for him, he decided to join his father, James, in his brand-new venture of owning and operating a hardware store in Morrison.

And as they say, the rest is history – one that has lasted 50 years and will be celebrated with an open house at Morrison True Value on June 6.

It all begin in the early 1970s when James and his wife, Emily, were residing in Villa Park, a suburb of Chicago. James had worked for Spiegel’s for years; when he retired at the age of 55, he began looking for his next line of work.

“He retired and decided he wanted a hardware store so he started looking around Illinois for a hardware store and low behold, Morrison, Illinois,” Don’s wife, Jackie, said during an interview with Shaw Local.

James and Emily purchased it on June 11, 1974, from previous owner Morry Myers at a time when there were other hardware stores and two lumber stores in town, Don said.

Don, who had graduated with a music teaching degree from Southern Illinois University and wanted to be a junior high band teacher, instead was teaching vocal music and band to all grade levels in Scales Mound and didn’t want to continue teaching.

So, James asked Don to come to Morrison and help him set up the store, Jackie said.

“They came into here with a music degree and an accountant and said, ‘Ahhh, let’s do hardware. It can’t be hard’,” Jackie said.

Don, at the age of 23, served as the merchandiser and the buyer, figuring out whatever was needed to make the business successful. Don and his dad continued working together for 15 years, until James died in 1989.

Today, Don continues to run Morrison True Value, which he moved from Main Street in 2012 and into the former Spahn and Rose/Blackhawk Lumber building at 104 S. Genesee St.

Don has seen a lot of changes in the hardware business over the years. The store on Main Street, which in 1979 expanded into the building to the west, had a basement full of toys for sale, and sold lawnmowers, lawn furniture, housewares and guns alongside paint and traditional hardware items. The Jevnes would go to market to select the merchandise they would sell in the store.

The move in 2012 to the former lumber business building put the store in a modernized building that is more accessible for shoppers.

Jackie, who herself ran two clothing stores in downtown Morrison, said the community has been supportive of the business, pointing out that her husband has run the only remaining Morrison hardware store for several years.

The open house will be Thursday, June 6, with cake and refreshments, games, gift certificates giveaways, and a Morrison Chamber of Commerce ceremony at noon.

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Charlene Bielema

Charlene Bielema

Charlene Bielema is the editor of Sauk Valley Media.