In the 1800’s and early 1900’s there was considerable manufacturing as well as farming throughout the area. Records tell us many stores were in operation.
In the bustling mill town of Stephentown Flats (Garfield) was one of the earliest stores. It was owned by Henry Platt and later by his son Henry Platt, Jr. The store failed in 1829 and there was an auction. Horace S. Wheeler and Charles H. Vary also had stores, selling dry goods, hardware and farming implements It is believed that the Vary Store was in operation between 1881 and 1921.
In the eastern part of town, Jonathan J. Sweet and Randall A. Brown were partners. When the former died, the other storekeeper continued selling for 40 years (1850-1890). This building also housed the post office.
In North Stephentown (1778) a pioneer store was established by Joseph Westcott. A second store, the Lawrence Van Valkenburg store, was owned by Erastus Brown for many years. the Cranstons, John H. and Henry R., followed as keepers of this store. Later, Henry T. Douglas became owner. He was followed by his son-in-law, William Asa Gile.
In Stephentown Depot, the Village, Henry Carpenter had both a small farm and a store (1870). He sold dry goods, groceries, coal and hardware. Later, William I. Cranston, who was in the livery business, operated this store. The Herman N. Brimmer general store was reported as having a telephone. Walter B. Goold and William S. Cranston sold drugs and medicines as well as general merchandise and hardware.
Records show that Spencer C. Brown built a store in 1871. The business was passed on to his son Frederick, Sr.
Around 1850, Horatio D. Coleman had a store in Little Mechanicville, now Stephentown Center.
There were at least two more stores in West Stephentown. Isaiah B. Coleman had a store, maintained a post office and served as Pastor of the Free Will Baptist Church. Daniel B. Griffin sold general merchandise from his store.
Today these stores are gone, replaced by other stores, small businesses and residences.
Sykes Store has had two locations and over 70 years of operation. The store was started by Walter C. Sykes and his wife Carrie Bateman Sykes. They are gone now, but the store is still running, under the capable leadership of Walt and Carrie’s son Paul and his wife.
There have been many businesses in Stephentown, including: H. Brainard – which sold sheet metal products, furnaces, roofings, spouting, roof painting, general repair work
Calvin H. Atwater – dealer in all kinds of building material, builders hardware, plumbing and mason supplies
E.R. Potter – dealer in lumber, coal, feed, lime and cement (in operation in early 1900’s)
W.H. Atwater – seller of pine, hemlock, spruce, chestnut, and hard wood lumber, lath and four foot wood. He had a steam saw and planing mill
Bateman Motors – which sold cars
William A. Lapp – repairer and builder of all kinds of wagons and sleighs