When I was a kid I remember going to the grocery store and getting trading stamps. After collecting enough stamps you could redeem them for products like dishes and silverware. The most common stamps were the S&H Green Stamps. The company was started by Thomas A. Sperry and Shelley Byron Hutchinson. It was a young Shelly Hutchinson who came up with the idea for the trading stamps. He was working at his family’s shoe business in Battle Creek when he used the stamps to promote their shoes to local businesses. A few years later he met Sperry and they became partners relying on Sperry’s financial backing and business connections. Hutchin’s built this mansion in 1902 in Ypsilanti and after he and his wife divorced the house was sold at auction by the bank to pay the unpaid mortgage. It is now used as commercial property for a few different businesses.
The S&H Green Stamps continued on for several decades. The program had its greatest popularity during the mid-1960s, but a series of recessions during the 1970s slowed the use of green stamps and the company was sold in 1981.
The posts I share on my website are a short version of the story. If you want to read more about some of the locations around Michigan check out the Lost In Michigan books available on Amazon HERE
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