From the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, one of the most vital parts of any textile mill village was a Store, owned and operated by the company. The Company Store was open to the general public, but credit offered by the store to company workers was a vital part of the employee compensation system.
A store was built by the original Randolph Manufacturing Company, across the road and facing the main entrance of the mill, before 1840. Known as “the old red store,” it burned April 18, 1884 and was immediately rebuilt in the popular “Carpenter Gothic” style. The one-story board-and-batten building was painted pink with alternating gray battens. The interior walls were plastered with a tongue-and-groove wooden ceiling. In later years a millinery shop was added on the north side, toward the railroad tracks, and a larger office for the mill was built on the west end.
As part of Hugh Parks Jr.’s post-world war improvements, the Upper and Lower company stores were consolidated into a new brick Franklinville Store Company built on the northeast corner of Rose and Main Streets in 1920. That building included space not only for general merchantile and grocery operations, but featured a butcher shop, “soda shop,” post office and doctor’s office.
The old Lower Store was renovated into the town’s first movie theater, and the Upper Store remodeled into a steam laundry. Around World War II the Lower Store was demolished to build “Mill #3,” and the Upper Store was refitted as a machine shop. It was abandoned about 1960 when a brick machine shop was built beside Mill #3, and finally burned in 1986.