Our History Old Copy


History timeline

The building was built as a retail store and outlet depot for J.C. Penney.

Late 1940's & 50's
It was the location of a Sprouse Reitz variety store and the iconic red tiles on the front of the building were installed. (verify this) 

1960's - 1976
The store became a Hardware store and operated under Coast to Coast, and then Henderson's Hardware

Ray Amick purchases The Miner's Foundry and operates it as a steel fabrication plant. Ray, his wife Georgia, and their three daughters move from Oakland to Nevada City.

Ray retires from steel fabrication and sells The Miner's Foundry to Osborne & Woods 

September 20, 1976
Ray and Georgia Amick purchased Henderson's Hardware and the building. Their oldest daughter, Susan, became the manager. They continued to sell hardware and toys under the Henderson's Hardware name. 

After the first Christmas it was apparent that toys were in demand in the Grass Valley area, but more space was necessary. Ray had the idea of extending the existing mezzanine. In addition to his expertise in steel fabrication, he was a brilliant engineer who designed and built the
 extension, and relocated the access stairs to its present day configuration. There are some great photos of this project in the slideshow above- it is especially impressive to see the crane he somehow managed to get inside the store to move the huge I beams into place. 

The name was changed from 
Henderson's Hardware to Foothill Hardware and operated as a full line hardware store including paint, pipe fittings, power tools, hand tools, housewares, gifts, toys and fishing tackle, which was run by Georgia, an expert fisherwoman. 

Foothill Mercantile was established.
This is the pivotal year that the Amick family decided to change the business in name and direction because running a hardware store needed a lot more room. The candy counter was installed, and gifts, housewares, and more toys replaced the hardware. 

1988 - present day 
Susan bought the store from her parents and has continued to operate it with the help of her sister Dee. Foothill Mercantile has made some changes over the years- we sell fewer kitchen items, have more toys than ever, switched to  but the heart of it remains the same.