G.C. Murphy Co.® Foundation

The Spirit of Service ... since 1952


The G.C. Murphy Co.® book

Five-and-ten stores were immensely popular during the middle fifty years of the twentieth century, selling cheap, dependable goods to people from all walks of life. Now the product of a bygone era, these stores were revolutionary in their time, but few today appreciate how important they were in creating our present-day consumer culture. "For the Love of Murphy's" (Penn State University Press) is a caring but honest look at one of the best-known chains of five-and-tens, the G. C. Murphy Co.® , headquartered in McKeesport, Pennsylvania.

Though not the largest chain, nor the first, Murphy’s is remembered today as a commercial trailblazer, a corporation run with honesty and integrity, and, at its peak, a retailer whose more than 500 stores managed to outsell those of the giant F. W. Woolworth Company by a factor of three to one.

Making extensive use of both the company archives and anecdotes from former employees and customers, McKeesport native Togyer recreates with outstanding detail the world in which the G. C. Murphy Co.® emerged; its survival and growth during the Great Depression; its response to a strained economy during World War II; its fight against rapidly expanding competitors such as K-Mart; its struggle and recovery in the 1970s; and its unsuccessful battle to stave off Wall Street raiders in the 1980s.

Though modern-day shoppers may not know the Murphy name, they know the legacy it left behind. From its adventurous selling tactics to its strict code of corporate ethics, the G. C. Murphy Co.® should be remembered not as a dusty relic, but as a pioneer in the American business world.

'Highly recommended'

"For the Love of Murphy’s is an excellent account of the history of a great five-and-ten. Jason Togyer has truly captured the ‘behind-the-counter’ view of an innovative retail organization.

"I highly recommend For the Love of Murphy’s to anyone who has had the experience of working in a five-and-ten retail store.

"Students of marketing management and merchandising, young entrepreneurs, and small-business owners will also gain immensely from the wealth of information in this book.”

Larry R. Pollock
Chancellor Emeritus
Penn State New Kensington

'Detailed account of the industry'

"Beyond the sentimentality conveyed in its dozens of photographs and personal narratives, the book presents a detailed account of the five-and-dime industry.

"Togyer explains how such businesses survived the Great Depression and ... two world wars. He also notes (how) Murphy’s responded to the civil-rights movement.”

Jessica Dailey, Pittsburgh City Paper