Waller County Texas Historical Commission / Society

Waller County Texas History, offered by the Waller County, TX Historical Commission/Society

Waller County Buildings and Areas

God's Mercy Store, Waller, TX

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God's Mercy Store, Waller, TX
Hand Painted by Joe Musil, 2015 The little town of Waller Texas, located between Brenham and Houston on Highway 290, was named for the early Texas statesman, Edwin Waller. However, tiny Waller has an often overlooked claim to fame that is unique from any place else in the country or perhaps even the whole world. Believe It or Not ... A general store in Waller, Texas, "Where purchasers pay any price they please" was the curiosity of the day, January 29, 1935, in the famous Ripley's "Believe It or Not!" illustrated strip which appeared daily in most newspapers across the country. This was a general store that conducted business in downtown Waller for 50 years, from 1915 to 1965, appropriately named "God's Mercy Store". Unfortunately, instead of receiving a historical marker, restoration, and a much deserved place in Texas History, it received the wrecking ball in 1977 and subsequent obscurity! "God's Mercy Store", once located just south of the Waller train depot, on the "Old Houston Highway" (Washington Avenue) between Alliance and Penick streets, featured one-stop shopping ... grocery store, soda fountain, barber shop, hardware store, feed store and gas station all in one building! It was a stone's throw for railroad passengers from the depot. So? What was so unusual about "God's Mercy Store"? Although different versions of the story may still be told, basically, when a customer checked out with their purchases ... the prices listed and totaled on the receipt were strictly the wholesale costs paid by the store with no markup. When times were bad ... it was alright for you to pay only the cost. When times were good ... you paid cost and then some at your discretion ... in return for God's mercy and to keep the store operating. Incredible as it may sound, this was the order of business from the day it opened in 1915 until the day it closed its doors forever in 1965. It was just as simple as that ... when you were in a tight spot financially ... you were shown God's Mercy in not having to pay more than necessary for life's necessities. When times were good ... you repaid God for his mercy during the times of need. This was quite different from the usual system that maintains tabs and continues to increase your burden with harsh interest for what you could not pay in times of need. The Purvis family was truly sincere in their dedication to God and helping other people. They worked hard to keep the store operating and were never wealthy. Their lifestyle was a testimonial to anyone who may have questioned their unusual business practices. When the building and property were sold in the 1970's, and the original deed was read ... the owners were listed as "Almighty God and our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ" ... believe it or not. Joe Musil
Posted on July 10, 2015 Full Size| Slideshow