A symbol from Indianola’s past is what draws people from all generations into the historic building called The Corner Sundry, located on the southwest corner of the downtown square.
The Corner Sundry was built in the 1800s and has been the previous home to many different stores before arriving at its now-popular ice cream and soda parlor.
The building originally was built to house a grocery store for the Indianola public, but soon was turned into a pharmacy/drug store. After the business was sold to a local family man, Bill LaCox in the 1940s, it started the trend that remains popular today in the downtown shop on the corner.
LaCox did not know much about pharmaceuticals, so he made the first step in the transformation by installing a soda fountain. Three generations and much renovation later, the business is still in the family and remains a popular hang-out for the people of Indianola.
Jack and Rhonda Newell are the current owners of Corner Sundry say they are very proud of how the business has progressed and is still functioning.
“We were given the place in late December of 1999 and were extremely excited that it was remaining in the family,” said Rhonda. “It was very helpful that the business was already successful and there was a steady clientele.”
“The name Sundry means miscellaneous, which is why we try to sell hygiene products as a old dime store would,” said Rhonda. Also included in the current decor is a Coca-Cola collection along with antique products that are all displayed in original hand-crafted display cases.
” I really feel the décor of the store has a big influence on why our customers continue coming back,” said Newell. “It has been in Indianola’s past, and for the older customers it is an important part of who they are.”
Although many of the morning customers are the older generation, Newell stresses that all generations are welcome and very often make use of the business. “We have really tried to clean up the atmosphere and although we do allow smoking, we have installed an air system to make it more comfortable for everyone,” said Rhonda.
Simpson students are also important customers at the Sundry. Each week there is an advertisement in The Simpsonian encouraging students to take advantage of the inexpensive treats at the store. Newell is trying a new incentive to attract more students by putting a coupon in the paper for a certain percent off a product.
The Corner Sundry has also been known as a hot spot for politicians. Before the current owners, there used to be a round table held by Tom Brokaw. A few other celebrities that have frequented the Sundry are George Bush, John Norris and Amy Carlson.
The Newell’s have some goals that they would like to accomplish while they own the Sundry.
” We really hope to keep renovating and improving without changing any of the décor so that the future generations will want to take over and keep the business in the family,” said Newell.
Summer months are busier than the winter months but during both seasons the crowd is pretty steady. The hours for the Sundry are Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.