The Ah Louis Store
Ah Louis (also known as Wong On) started his store in 1874 as a mercantile and general merchandise store but it was also reportedly the post office, bank, and pharmacy for the SLO “Chinatown” area. In 1886, the original wooden building was replaced by the present brick structure. The exterior also had large iron shutters that still remain on the windows and doors today that were to prevent fire from entering the building and for security. The shelving, drawers, counters and bins that you see when you enter Vintage Etc. today are original to the store complete with hardware. The store still has the original safe that Ah Louis used as well as the original gas lamp (now just for looks) that was in the store. It must have been really dark, if that was the only light source!
Upstairs is divided into small rooms where Ah Louis raised his family of 8 children! The brick store has been in continuous operation since 1886, first by Ah Louis, then by his son Howard. It is still owned by a descendant of the Louis family and we are honored to be able to lease it from the family!
For more information please head over to the Historical Society Museum in the Carnegie Library near the Mission in our beautiful downtown. You won’t regret it, they have so much information and some beautiful pictures of the way things were in San Luis Obispo!
I will try to post a bit more on Ah Louis himself soon, things are crazy busy around here and hopefully I will have some exciting news to share in the next couple of weeks! Stay tuned!