By Savanah Mandeville
V.B. Hall Antique Warehouse, 201 Main Street in Monett, doesn’t just sell treasures of the past – the building itself is a treasure of Monett history.
V.B. Hall Antique Warehouse owner Rod Anderson hosted a centennial celebration July 20 for the store. The guest of honor was V.B. Hall Jr., whose father was the original owner in 1919.
“Every year on our anniversary, V.B. Hall Jr. comes back, and this year being the centennial anniversary was a big deal because there aren’t many businesses whose name lasts for 100 years,” Anderson said. “The house that V.B. Hall (Sr.) lived in is still on Cleveland Street, and we had a tent, food catered and two days of parties there. It was a nice celebration.”
The store is named for Viga Burns (V.B.) Hall, an important figure in Monett history. V.B. Hall was born in 1892 and raised by a prominent Monett businessman named Francis Marion (F.M.) Hall. In 1919, V.B. followed in his father’s footsteps and founded the V.B. Hall Company, a produce wholesale business at the corner of Front and Fourth streets in Monett. In 1929, V.B. moved the business to a three-story facility near the railroad tracks near South Central Street and Main Street. In 1949, V.B. built a new building on Main Street. This third building is where the antique store is housed today.
In addition to his business ventures, V.B. was civically minded and served as mayor of Monett for a total of 16 years in three different decades. He was friends with high-profile politicians, including Harry S. Truman, and was even asked to run for governor in 1952 but ultimately declined.
After V.B.’s passing in 1974, his son, V.B. Hall Jr., owned the building at 201 Main Street and transformed it into an antique store in 1995.
Anderson has owned the antique store for nearly three years. He has family ties linked to the business stretching back decades. His father, Howard Anderson, and uncle, Kenneth Medlin, worked for the V.B. Hall Company from 1946 until their respective retirements. Bill Medlin, another uncle, bought the business from V.B. in 1971 and owned it for a number of years.
Anderson said he has many fond memories growing up in Monett and visiting his father and uncles at the warehouse. Prior to owning the antique store, Anderson himself spent most of his career as a produce broker. V.B. Hall Jr., who now lives in California, always was and still is a family friend of the Andersons.
V.B. Hall Antique Warehouse boasts 12,000 square feet of antiques from a wide variety of vendors, with merchandise spanning all eras and styles. It is open seven days per week and only closes three times per year: Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter.
Historical references are scattered throughout the store, pointing to its storied past in Monett.
A red truck on the store’s logo, for example, pays homage to Anderson’s father and uncles.
“The ’52 model trailer truck was driven by my dad and was always featured in the advertisements. So I’ve continued to use that. There’s a lot of connection and a lot of sentimentality there,” Anderson said.
The building is full of memorabilia, old photos and historical relics tied to the V.B. Hall legacy, including old fruit crates and potato sacks.
“Anyone who visits the store and walks through can see a lot of history on the walls,” Anderson said. “It’s satisfying to be able to keep the namesake going and keep the history alive.”