Chamber Chatter - February 24, 2022

by Debbe Ridley

With Valentine’s Day celebration last week, and the other notable February holiday of Presidents Day just this week, seems a lot of circled days are fit into this short month. Taking a look over at, it came as a surprise to learn that many across the newly formed United States celebrated “Washington’s Birthday” during his lifetime in the 17th century. It became official in 1885 when Chester Arthur signed the bill that made it a federal holiday. While many states celebrate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday concurrently with Washington’s, it is not a federally designated holiday.

The federal holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February is not officially called Presidents Day. Instead, it is Washington’s Birthday. There was an effort in 1968 to officially name it Presidents’ Day, but the suggestion died in Committee. There’s a big HOWEVER though! Many states choose to call their own celebrations on this day “Presidents Day.” That certainly translates in “retailese” better than George Washington’s Birthday Sales!

With no such title as President-for-Life, all of our past presidents must have had other occupations during their lifetimes. At we learn that Grover Cleveland was the only president in history to hold the job of a hangman. He was once the sheriff of Erie County, New York, and twice had to spring the traps at a hanging. Andrew Johnson is the only tailor ever to be president. As president, he would typically stop by a tailor shop to say hello. He would only wear the suits that he made himself.

Abraham Lincoln is the only U.S. president who was also a licensed bartender. He was co-owner of Berry and Lincoln, a saloon in Springfield, Illinois. He was also the only president to receive a patent (#6469).

Herbert Hoover was an orphan whose first job was picking bugs off potato plants, for which he was paid a dollar per hundred bugs. He also was a mine worker. By the way, in his spare time, he was also honored in the wrestling hall of fame.

While in office Ronald Reagan’s addiction to jelly beans was well know, and he certainly didn’t mind doing his part for the economy by sharing. He placed a standing order of 720 bags to month to be delivered to the White House and various federal buildings.

From a Chamber of Commerce perspective, one thing many people connect with Presidents Day is retail sales. Back at we find out in the 1980’s retailers began to use this holiday as a time to clear out their old stock in preparation for spring and summer merchandise.

Retail sales and presidents go hand in hand more than one might think. For instance, George Washington, was not only the “father of our country,” but was also a successful business man. Whiskey was one of his most important business ventures at Mount Vernon. At peak production in 1799, the distillery used five stills and a boiler and produced eleven thousand gallons of whiskey. With sales of $7,500 that year, it was perhaps the country’s largest distillery.

Speaking of Washington’s income, surprisingly, we found out at that as president Washington earned well more than subsequent presidents. His salary was 2% of the total U.S. budget in 1789. Wow!

Now, moving on to Chamber events! The annual Marlow Chamber of Commerce Banquet has been scheduled for Monday, April 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the First Baptist Church LIFE Center. Awards are presented that evening based on events in 2021. A committee is appointed to select the Citizen of the Year, the Community Improvement Award and the Free Enterprise Award. That Committee would like your input. Please return your suggestions to the office, 223 W. Main, or to You may make more than one suggestion in each category if you have more than one worthy candidate in mind.

Thanks for taking the time to participate in the business of the Marlow Chamber of Commerce!