This building was first known as the Bunnell building, built in the early-to-mid 1870s serving as a confectionery, ice cream and variety shop during most of its years. By 1877, Leslie Bunnell sold his business of dispensing fine French chocolates, nuts, tobacco and cigars to Franklin P. Bunnell. Within the next few years, F.P. Bunnell added variety merchandise to his assortment and called his store F P. Bunnell's Variety Store. Originally the building had been one storefront, but by the 1890s the building s divided into two storefronts. The left half catering to confections and ice cream, the right half focusing on the variety business.
Confectionery and Ice Cream Shop
Clark Jones took over the left storefront from F.P. Bunnell in 1904 and managed the ice cream business. As with Mr. Bunnell, the ice cream was made on site by Mr. Jones, and during the winter months soups were sold instead of ice cream. About 1918, Robert and George "Sparky" Mitchell took over the confection business and continued until a fire destroyed part of the building in February 1928. The shop was repaired and in June 1928, Fred and Ethel Buehler opened The Rainbow Confectionery. Mr. Buehler specialized in making horehound cough drops and supplied them locally to Branigan's Pharmacy as a medicinal product. His handmade candies are the items
for which he was best known: stick candy, hard candy, clear toys and candy canes at Christmas time. One year Mr. Buehler made over fifty thousand candy canes to be delivered to local churches and to be sold wholesale. While Mr. Buehler was in charge of the production of the confectioneries, Mrs. Buehler managed the soda fountain. After over thirty years of operation, The Rainbow Confectionery closed in September 1961, signaling the decline of an era in which ice cream shops and soda fountains were numerous on Main Street.
After the building was divided in the late 1800s, F.P. Bunnell continued to run his variety store in the right storefront. Later, his son George became a partner with him and the business was called F.P. Bunnell and Son. They sold a wide variety of merchandise including men's furnishings, ladies' accessories and grocery items. In 1927, George Bunnell became partners with Andrew Brugler and the shop was named Bunnell and Brugler. They expanded their selection to include the sale and repair of appliances. After over sixty-five years of having the Bunnell family name associated with a variety store on Main Street, the business was sold to J.D. and Mabel Jacobus in 1945 and renamed the Jacobus Variety Store. In 1960 the shop was sold to Milton and Gertrude "Trudy" Readett, and they continued to supply the townspeople with variety merchandise. The closing of their shop in 1970 marked the end of a variety business which had continued for over ninety years on Main Street.