A lot has changed since Norris Gerhart opened Mr. G's Liquor Store Sept. 15, 1979. Gerhart and Steve Hammerly bought Debrock's Liquor Store which was located at 505 South Oak Street, California, the current location of Darrell and Co. Hairstyling. A year later he bought Hammerly's partnership and two years later moved to the present location at 306 West Buchanan Street, California. For 15 years Gerhart rented the building from George and Opal Schwab before purchasing it and then adding on to it.
"In the beginning I probably sold 10 different packages of beer," Gerhart said, "Today there are 100 different packages of beer in my coolers. My cigarette rack was four foot and now I have 16 feet of tobacco. Back then I did not have the walk-in or glass door coolers but had the old reach in coolers I had to do all the labor on. When I started I did not know what a credit card was and barely saw any $100 bills. Getting one $100 bill a week was pretty uncommon. People wrote what was called counter checks. It was a check that had a bank name on it. They did not even have account numbers on the checks at the time. The business has changed. Today over 50 percent of my business is done with plastic cards. My first inventory was about $6,000 and now it is over $200,000."
For more of this story check out the May 2 issue of the California Democrat.