75 years ago, Friday, April 7-14, 1937
Fire, which broke out sometime early Thursday morning in the Ben Prince store in Oroville, completely ruined the interior of the store and made an almost total loss of the stock. The exact origin of the fire is unknown except that it started in the basement. A new cold storage locker plant was being installed in the store.
Groceries: Heinz soup, large, 2 cans for $.25; Durkees Salad Dressing, one quart, $.35; Coffee, 3 pound can, 79 cents
Prince’s centre now into 79th year of operation but Ben Sr. and sons are selling out to a new owner.
Ben Prince Sr. founded the business in 1933 in a store front on Oroville’s Main Street and called it “Ben Prince Thrifty Store”. It was a small version of what the store is today, shoes and clothing on one wall and groceries on the other wall. Over the years the business has grown in many stages. Ben built a new building in 1958 on Ironwood Street, one block off Main Street. After his son Jim joined him in the business it was expanded to two buildings. As the business continued to grow, Jim had the vision to build a shopping center on the north end of Oroville on Hwy 97.
The shopping center opened in June of 1978 and offered its customers a full service Supermarket, Department Store and Ace Hardware Store under one roof.The modern facility has undergone two expansions since that time along with the additional merchandise area at Prince’s Warehouse. Jack Hughes had led the team at Prince’s Ace Hardware for 30 years and has been a significant part of its growth and success. His wife Mary joins him in the operation of the Department Store.