What Did It Cost In 1969?

© Jerry F. Couch

The July 30, 1969 edtion of the Clinch Valley Times was packed with ads from local businesses.  This flurry of advertising was the result of a town-wide sales promotion sponsored by the St. Paul Chamber of Commerce.  Most local business owners were members of this group which held monthly lunch meetings at the St. Paul Hotel.

Click on each individual ad shown below to see a larger image.  Also, if you were employed at one of these stores, or have a special memory, please share with us in the “comment” section provided.  

In those halcyon days, the Castlewood-Dante-St. Paul community was doing well thanks to a balanced economy.  By that, I mean an economy in which there were businesses engaged in the manufacture of goods sold outside this area.  Examples include Clinchfield Coal Corporation, Rockwell Manufacturing, St. Paul Coca-Cola Bottling Company, St. Paul Builiders, and several others.  These businesses brought money into the area which was then spent locally.

Take a look at the prices featured in these ads.  But before you wish for a return to “the good old days,” here’s a reality check.  The minimum wage in 1969 was $1.60 per hour.  Even at these advertised prices, those hard-earned dollars still disappeared rapidly.

To view this situation in perspective, lets look at 1969 income figures vs. today.  The average American worker earned $5,893.76 per year in 1969, which translates to $40,467.65 in 2018 dollars when adjusted for inflation.  Locally, that figure was probably less – in some cases, much less.  Today, our local income level still lags behind that of other regions.

Inflation remains an economic reality in 2018.  It is expected to increase by 2.87% (if not more) during the next year.  Unless your annual income keeps pace with inflation, you’ll probably have 2.87% less buying power next year.

So, if you see a good sale like the one in 1969…take advantage of it.  

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