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BEECHER, Mrs. Gertrude Chambers
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
Presented by Nancy Rayburn
III, page 365, 1923.
BEECHER, Mrs. GERTRUDE CHAMBERS. One of the most thoroughly successful of Florida business
women is Mrs. GERTRUDE CHAMBERS BEECHER, who has been responsible for developing St. Petersburg's
famous store known as "The Store of Individual Shops", the largest establishment of its kind
handling exclusively goods for women and children. Its individual departments comprise sport,
infants, art needlework and yarns, gifts and juvenile departments. There is a sales force of
twelve besides the active participation of both herself and her husband, WILLIAM O. BEECHER.
The store has 5,200 square feet of floor space, and the stock and sales quarters are located
on both the first floor and the mezzanine floor.
Mrs. BEECHER was born at Placentia, Newfoundland, a daughter of C. D. and ANN (BAILEY) CHAMBERS.
Her grandfather was a native of Scotland and visited Newfoundland while on a pleasure trip in
one of his sailing vessels. He became interested in the fisheries and thereafter spent his
summers there, returning to Scotland in the winter. Mrs. BEECHER's grandfather and also her
father were large land owners in Newfoundland, and were financially interested in the shipping,
fishing, mercantile and practically every other important business of the community.
Mrs. BEECHER was educated in private schools in Newfoundland and Canada and later attended
Huntsingers College, Hartford, Connecticut. In 1907 she became the bride of Dr. W. O. BEECHER,
of Waterbury, Connecticut. A few years later Dr. BEECHER's health failed, and for his benefit
they came to Florida. Up to that time Mrs. BEECHER had had no business experience. On coming
to Florida she determined to exercise her talents and gifts to a useful end and provide
independently for her little family. Dr. and Mrs. BEECHER came to St. Petersburg seven years
ago. Two years later she opened her first modest establishment in the old Phiel Building.
Success followed her efforts from the start, and recently she moved her store into its new
location in the Sumner Building. Practically every winter visitor of St. Petersburg is an
appreciative patron of the Beecher shop.
Dr. BEECHER was the son of WALES O. and JANE ELEANOR BEECHER and descended from the old
Connecticut family from which also came HENRY WARD BEECHER and HARRIET BEECHER STOWE. The
two children of Dr. and Mrs. BEECHER are: CAROLYN FIELDS and JOHN CHAMBERS BEECHER.
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