In the 1901 Urbana telephone directory, 22 grocery stores and 6 meat markets were listed. One of the grocery stores listed was George P. Mott’s at 114 Miami Street (Mott Grocery – Miami St.). This store opened in 1900 and closed sometime after 1906.
Mr. Mott then worked for the Strawboard (United Boxboard Co.) until 1915, when he was injured. He then opened a grocery store at 304 Louden St. Another Mott grocery store was opened in 1918 at 839 N. Russell St. across from the North Ward School. Previously, a grocery store was operated at this location by Peter Johnson. After George Mott’s death in 1926, the Russell Street store was owned and operated by his widow Mary S. Mott until her death in 1965. Her son William B. Mott Sr. ran this store from 1932 and became its owner upon his death. During the same period, he opened another store at 309 E. Ward St. next to their home. With his retirement in 1972, both stores closed, ending Mott’s Groceries’ 72 years of service to the community. Before the dominance of groceries by a few department stores, the small grocery store exemplified by Mott’s Groceries was the norm.
The Champaign County Historical Museum is a nonprofit organization that depends on donations and dues to preserve, protect, archive, and display artifacts that tell the story of Champaign County. The free public museum located at 809 E. Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open to the public Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Pictured is Mott’s Groceries on Miami Street.
Pictured is Mott’s Groceries on Russell Street.