Hundreds gather to celebrate Tompkins’ centennial

“Exceptional” was the only word service manager Tom Jackson could find to describe the turnout at Tompkins’ 100th anniversary celebrations last week.
Although the anniversary was held over three days, Jackson said Saturday was the big day, when about 600 people from across Rainy River District and even parts of the United States came out to help mark the hardware store’s 100 years of business in Emo.
“We were represented from Morson to Atikokan,” Jackson noted. “We served approximately 220 people for breakfast. We had 325 [barbecued beef on a bun] for lunch and we used them all.”
“We very much appreciated [the turnout],” agreed store manager Tom Mosbeck. “It was a good time.”
Tables were set up in the service bay area of the store so people could enjoy their free breakfast of pancake and sausages.
In the boat showroom, a replica of the original Tompkins’ store was set up complete with an old-fashioned inventory display, plus the original cash register and adding machine used by Ed Tompkins himself.
Combine that with helium-filled balloons, staff members dressed in turn-of-the-century garb, and a whole slew of people hanging around the store all day and it’s clear why Tompkins was the place to be.
“It’s certainly a pleasure to see that many people,” said Mosbeck.
“It was plenty busy,” agreed Jackson. “One hundred years is quite a feat and they wanted to be a part of it.”
Tompkins handed out about 50 door prizes to customers at the end of the three-day event. The grand prize of a boat, motor, and trailer package went to Loretta Lougheed of Emo.
Jill Kellar of Devlin took the runner-up prize of two return-fare tickets anywhere Northwest Airlines flies in North America (donated by International Travel in International Falls) while Sandra Thorstad of Ray, Mn. won the barbecue package.
“We’re trying to show our appreciation to our customers,” Jackson said. “There were people here who dealt with all five generations of the Tompkins family.”
Jackson said the only way things could have gone better is if they knew the weather was going to be as good as it was on Saturday so they could have planned more events outside.
“Now we’re ready to start on the next 100 years,” he remarked.