The site that is currently Jackson’s Hardware was for many years Leininger’s Furniture and Hardware. William Jackson was employed by Leininger’s until he made the decision to open his own business in 1914. Rather than borrowing startup capital from a bank, William issued stock certificates in $100 denominations and the sale of stock provided about $10,000 to start the venture.

Over the years, the stock vertificates were repurchased and the business is now entirely family owned. The store opened under the name Ishpeming Furniture and Hardware Company in the building on the northwest corner of Division and Pine Streets, the current location of Globe Printing. In 1945, William bought out the assets of Leininger’s Furniture and Hardware, moving his own business into their building at 212 S Main Street, where it remains to this day.

William also began an interesting sideline to his hardware business. He attended the Worsam School of Embalming and worked part time for Mudge’s Funeral Home on Division and later on Third Street. When the Mudge decided to sell their business, William purchased the building and equipment, establishing the Jackson Funeral Home on the southeast corner of Third and Ridge Streets. It remained in operation until Bjork & Zhulkie bought out the assets in 1969 at the time of William Jackson’s death. Funeral home business was often conducted in what was then an enclosed office at the rear of the hardware store. After making the arrangements, clients would be escorted via the Otis elevator to the third floor casket display room. Out of view of the patrons, an embalming area occupied apart of the floor, serving as a back-up facility to the one at the funeral home.

Clifford Jackson joined his father in both businesses after receiving degrees from NMU and the Michigan College of Mortuary Science and serving in the military during World War II. Clifford’s son John grew up doing odd jobs at the store and took over financial responsibility when the bookkeeper retired at the time he was attending college. After graduating from NMU in 1973, John began full time work in the store and is now the sole proprietor since Clifford’s death in 2003.

Jackson’s has built a reputation for being able to provide or locate obscure items and remains a prominent fixture of downtown Ishpeming.

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