Big & Friendly Morgan’s

Morgan's Furniture StoreMorgan’s Furniture Store in downtown Advance at the corner of South Ash Street and West Gabriel Avenue was the sponsor of one of the first local radio commercials I remember hearing. The appliance and furniture was always referred to in a booming radio voice as Big and Friendly Morgan’s.”

Just down the block from the furniture store was Morgan’s Funeral Home. Lloyd Morgan was the first young man from Advance to go away to learn the science of embalming.

Getting the real scoop from Mother

I called Mother and said, “I have some Advance questions: which Morgan owned Morgan’s Furniture and were all the Morgans related?”

Jack Morgan, she said, was the furniture guy. “When I was about 9 years old, I had diphtheria and people were supposed to stay away from me, but Jack was my ‘boyfriend’ and he brought me a bouquet of flowers.” In later life, he was known for his odd dressing habits: his socks were frequently mismatched and his shoes untied.

Lloyd, the undertaker, she said, liked his spirits and would come into the Welch tavern to play the piano and dance. “He was a monkey, for sure.” A small paperback book on the history of the town reported that “Lloyd always drove a good car, but he never took the key out of it. ‘One of my friends might need a car real badly sometime and not have the time to look me up.’

Mother’s brother, Kenneth, my namesake, would go on ambulance calls with Lloyd, she said. “Times were tough back then and not everybody had money, so Lloyd would take chickens or whatever they could spare.”

20 Replies to “Big & Friendly Morgan’s”

  1. That building was torn down a few years ago to build the Bank of Advance Lending Center. Across the street, on the corner, you can barely see Claud Corbin’s Sinclair Service Station, which was later a Purina Feed store, owned by Bernice Moore. The old buildings in the middle of Advance were demolished to make room for Cross Trails Medical Center.
    Not much of the old downtown Advance remains, except for the buildings on the north side of Sturdivant Street.
    The new funeral home is south of town and is still owned by the Morgans.
    Thanks for the insight into hometown history! Your mom is a treasure!!

  2. I love stories about Advance. I remember all the above mentioned folks and my parents and two brothers are buried in Morgan Memorial Park Cemetery. Jack opened the furniture store and his brother Bill continued the undertaking business.

    I can picture Kinder’s Drug Store across the street and the best cherry cokes I have ever tasted.

  3. Didn’t they have a store in Cape Girardeau also ? I remember an ad that said,”Big and friendly Morgan’s ain’t mad at NOBODY !”

  4. Morgan’s had an ad on KFVS Radio that I shall never forget because of it tag: “Shop at big and friendly Morgans of Advance; he ain’t mad at nobody.” This was atrocious English that has stuck in my mind for over 65 years, but I remembered who was featured in the ad.

    Perhaps not so bad after all. Madison Avenue seldom does as well.

    1. Just goes to show how well that ad worked. I remember the English teachers at Central railing about how “Winston Tastes Good Like a Cigarette” was the first slide down the slippery slope of the destruction of the English language.

      Alene Sadler is probably spinning in her grave at what passes for writing on Facebook and Twitter.

  5. Speaking of Advance, I have a question….. When my father was the pastor of the Bell City Methodist Church my older brother dated a beautiful girl from Advance, her name(not sure of spelling) was Jane Ann Reckworth. I remember that she was the Advance candidate for the MISS KFVS Contest while he was dating her. …..Does anyone know how she is? She was always nice to her boyfriend’s little sister 🙂 …..Wow! I hadn’t thought of that in years!!!

    1. That’s going to be out of my date range. I didn’t start shooting non-family pix until about 1963 and left the Cape area in the fall of 1967.

      Sorry. Maybe another reader can help you.

  6. Her sister, Jean Requarth, was in my class 1949. I’m not sure when Jane was born but I do remember her mother would bring her to school at recess so we could ooh and aah over the beautiful baby. We were probably somewhere about 8th grade at that time.

  7. 1949 was the year we graduated – she would have been born several years before. Jean married Bill Rhodes while in school. He owned a gas station and then trucking and was quite successful. She hosted several high school reunions for us and someone always got thrown into the pool. Jane Ann was at one of the parties and she was still as beautiful as when younger.

  8. I remember when my parents bought there first (new) living room furniture from there. A red vinyl couch with matching chairs and end tables. Also remember going to Kinder’s Drug store on a first grade field trip and buying a coke with a dime. Love all the stories !

  9. My mother bought my bedroom furniture at Big and Friendly Morgan’s. It was white “French Provencial” with gold accents. I still remember the thrill of going into the store and choosing that particular furniture. That was nearly 50 years ago. Your father’s furniture in his store and my mother’s generosity made me feel special.

  10. Does anyone know the date of the photograph? Appears to be late 1970s, after the store had closed.
    The furniture store consisted of a large showroom and two connecting warehouses that held large appliances. As a kid, I used to like to open the refrigerators and take in the “new” smell.
    After the store closed, the newspaper office occupied the east side of the building.
    So for several years, a handful of Morgans operated on that side of the street: Advance News editor Babette Morgan, Jack’s daughter; Jack, who owned the Flower Box, and Jack’s nephew (Billy) and brother (Big Bill), who owned Morgan Funeral Home.

    Rhett Morgan (Jack’s youngest son)

    1. I looked at some other frames on that roll and think it might have been 1974. When I blew up the license tags on some cars parked on the street, it looked like they might have said 1973 or 1974.

      My Grandmother, Elsie Welch, died in 1973, and there are photos at the cemetery where her stone has been engraved, so that points to late ’73 or ’74, too.

      Since you are a Morgan, do you know anything about the history of the cemetery? It’s been family lore than my uncle (and namesake) Kenneth Welch was the first internment there. He died May 16, 1935. I’d love to confirm that.

    1. Thanks, Rhett. I’ve been holding off on doing a story on the cemetery until I could check that out, but I’ve never gone down to see if there is any official list of interments.

  11. One image of Morgan’s Furniture Store can bring back the most vivid memories of the Advance I grew up in. I went to Jack’s store once with my sister who was purchasing a sofa for our mother. He lived up to the slogan, Big and Friendly and the furniture was delivered later that afternoon.
    We were both out of high school at the time, I don’t recall it being there until after we left home.
    At any rate, I love the photo – it represents so much of Advance and the families who helped the town
    grow and stay afloat.

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