compiled by Columbian staff in 1989
The story of Sherman smith was "a Horatio Alger tale with no other equal in Vancouver," an interviewer reported in a 1963 story. The number of grocery stores and other businesses operated by Smith reached a peak in the early 1970s, but the tides turned and in 1974 creditors took possession, forcing sale of the properties.
Smith was born in Oklahoma in 1908 and began his career as a part-time Safeway clerk in Portland. by 1939 he was managing the safeway store at 18th and Main streets in Vancouver, and in 1945 Safeway picked Smith as pricemaker for the entire district.
Smith and his wife, Lillian, opened their own grocery at Fourth Plain Road and Grand Boulevard in 1946. In a 1963 interview, Smith said he had moved 10 houses from the store site and remodeled the building nine times to meet growth needs.
The Store was the start of the Pay 'n' Takit chain. At its peak Smith was reported to control 17 retail outlets.
Smith was a Vancouver City Countil member for about 11 years, and an unsuccessful candidate for state senator in 1960. He also was active in a variety of civic organizations.