Artifact of the Month
Ryan's Department Store Sale Sign
Donated by Max Ryan
A cornerstone in the Springdale business community for 72 years, Ryan's Department Store on Emma Avenue closed its doors in September 2013. Troy and Marie Ryan came to Springdale from the Cassville, Missouri, area in 1941 when Troy took a job as manager of Rowland's clothing store, also on Emma Avenue.
In 1966 Troy and Marie bought Rowland's and renamed it Ryan's. In a 1984 Springdale News article, Marie Ryan recalled a time when "a pair of jeans was a pair of jeans. There were no slim or regular or husky sizes. When we came, there was one kind of ladies' jeans with a zipper on the side. We kept them stocked under a table because almost nobody—except those women who had to wear them for factory work—wore them."
The Ryans' sons, Max and Bob, grew up working in the store and kept it running after Troy and Marie retired in 1984. Reflecting on the future of downtown Springdale as he turned the store over to his sons, Troy Ryan said, "Truth is, anybody who works hard can do well, no matter where they are. That may mean, and it usually does mean, putting in more than an eight-hour day. You get paid in proportion to what you put into your business. It isn't easy—no job is if you really put yourself into it."
Over the years, Ryan's built a solid reputation for offering quality goods—clothing, shoes, and household linens—at reasonable prices. By the way, the sale sign seen above for chicken-feather pillows was made by Troy Ryan. His hand-printed signs were common throughout the store, and remind us of a time when small family-owned businesses were the backbone of a community.