This article features a photo of Arthur Gayton Pollard, a recent gift to the society, and an excerpt from recent society correspondence with Mr. Sheppard Bartlett, A. G. Pollard’s great grandson.
… He was quite an exciting man – brought up in Plaistow, he went to work in a small store in Lowell, Mass. called Hosfords – started as a clerk, ended up by buying Mr Hosford out and made a success of the store expanding it considerably – it soon became a department store.
As he got wealthier he opened a business that dealt with remnants from all the mills in New England, fabrics and carpeting. He called it The Pollard Exchange, and his market was every major department store in the country – they all came to Lowell to buy. In 1928, the store burned down – (it) was the biggest fire ever in Lowell. He reopened immediately in a downtown mill and built what was considered then as one of the most modern stores in New England. He continued selling fabrics and remnants nationally and locally.
He used to take customers down in the “basement” for special low prices, and soon the idea of having a complete basement operation was conceived – the first basement operation in the country. And who did he train? Mr WT Grant. Mr Grant left and opened his first store in Lynn, Mass, and Mr Pollard gave him $800 worth of Fabrics for his store..as you know Mr. Grant built a fabulous chain of stores, but after he died management failed and the company was liquidated.
Mr Pollard never forgot where he came from and he did many things for Plaistow. The ones I know of: in land for the Pollard School, the famous Pollard pumper in the fire house, the tower at town hall, and the veterans memorial in the square. Mr Pollard was also very strong in Masonry and also the First Baptist Church in Lowell. He was the first President of the Union National Bank.
Mr. Pollard died (June 4, 1930) just after the new store opened in 1929 and the family ran it until about 1970 when it was sold…