D. Grover Brooks was the founder of the business which later incorporated as Brooks Bros., Inc. He was from Upton, Maine, and in his early 20's when he bought out Brown's Hardware Store on Main St. in Bethel. He had just been discharged from the armed services. In the transaction he also acquired other buildings on the lot and these were later joined together to make one large store, fabrication shop, and apartment complex.
The business was named D.G. Brooks and besides hardware, it included a sheet metal and plumbing shop.
Grover married Alice Brooks and the couple lived across Main Street from the store in the early days. Their first son, Dana, was born in 1921 and they moved to the newly finished second floor apartment over the store in 1923. Their second son, Donald, was born in 1928. These two sons are the brothers of Brooks Bros., Inc.
Both Alice and Grover took active roles in the business. It has been said that Grover and Alice equally shared the responsibilities and work of the business. Grover was a licensed plumber and in the 1930's started taking on outside plumbing work.
Being active in the Town of Bethel business community, Grover was awarded the post of President and later Treasurer of the Bethel Savings Bank. Alice, also involved in community activities, was Town Clerk of Bethel for 25 years.
Dana and Don both returned home to the business after serving in the armed forces. Dana, who graduated from Gould Academy and Bryant & Stratton Business College in Boston, served with the U.S. Marine Corps during WWII in the Pacific, and returned home in 1946. Donald, after graduating from Gould Academy and the University of Maine at Orono, served in the U.S. Army and returned to the business in 1952. Dana married Carolyn, and Donald married Eleanor.
In 1954, only a short time before the passing of Grover, the business became incorporated. The event marked the passage of leadership to the brothers, and the acquisition of Bethel Maingas from Warren Bean. This move not only put the company into the propane gas business, but along with it came an oil truck and longtime employee Herbert Lyon. Herbert was the mainstay of the oil business and, as Dana said, "usually works harder for the company than anyone else."
The propane gas business was eventually sold, but the oil business has grown steadily since it was acquired. Many customers today buy housewares, hardware, plumbing needs and heating oil all on the same account.
Third generation family members who ran the business recently are Dana's daughter, Jeri, and son, Jack.
Jeri, graduated from Husson University in Bangor, Maine majoring in Secretarial Science. Following graduation in 1974, she returned to assume the position of Office Manager. Jeri is a Notary Public; a retired member of School Administrative District #44 Board of Directors and Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce; a former Ambulance Attendant and served as a member of the Bethel Board of Appeals and Community Safety & Law Enforcement Committee. She maintains membership in various veteran and civic organizations. Jeri is currently a National spokesperson for the National Meningitis Association and is a Past National Chaplain for the American Legion Auxiliary.
Jack was a math major graduate of Middlebury College, Vermont. He returned to Bethel in 1974 after serving his ROTC commitment and 3+ years in the banking communities of Boston and Portland. He served on several municipal committees, was a member of the volunteer Bethel Fire Department and past trustee of the Bethel Water District and Bethel Lodge #30 AF&AM where he served twice as Master of the Lodge. He was a trustee of the Bethel Historical Society.
September 1, 2013 Brooks Bros., Inc. was sold to Community Energy Company out of Rumford, Maine. Brooks Bros still carries the name Bethel has known for 100+ years.
Summer 2019 - Brooks Bros., Inc. storefront received a face-lift for the first time in over 50 years!
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