In every commercial center, there are certain representative mercantile establishments that stand out conspicuously from the rest, and are conducted on such a high plane of business integrity and guided by such sound liberal policy, that their mere existence imparts character and tone to the entire commercial fabric. A distinctive example of this class is the mammoth hardware and machinery establishment of L. S. Gunby. The history of this enterprise is an interesting one, and cannot fail to prove so to our readers. Mr. Gunby is a native of Wicomico county, Maryland. In 1868, while yet a mere lad, he came to Salisbury and accepted a clerkship. In the short space of five years he had shown such a natural aptitude for merchandizing and, though scarcely more than a boy, had become so successful that he was prepared to begin business on his own account. Accordingly, in April, 1873, the present business was inaugurated. From a small beginning his trade grew apace, increasing from year to year until 1887, when the demands of business required a larger building. It was during this year his present handsome and commodious store was erected. In the succeeding years the sales had assumed such proportions that several additional buildings were found necessary to meet the requirements of trade. This establishment is divided into three departments, namely; sales, manufacturing and repairing. The main store is metropolitan in appearance, the front being stone and glass, and is one of the most conspicuous buildings in Salisbury. It is four stories, and one hundred and sixty-five by thirty-six feet in dimensions. It is filled with a large and varied stock of cutlery, carriage-makers', builders' and house-furnishing hardware, stoves, ranges, drive-well material, well supplies, in fact, everything in the hardware line is carried in stock. The annex consists of three buildings, one forty by sixty feet, and two others thirty by sixty feet, (these two being located at the N. Y. P. & N. station for convenience of receiving and shipping) where may be found on exhibition, agricultural implements and machines of all kinds, embracing, in part, the Merritt Company's veneer machines, South Bend wood split pulleys, McCormick's binders and mowers, etc. He is manufacturers' agent for stationary and traction engines, boilers, saw-mills and Lambert's gasoline engines, of which he carries a full line in stock. The building used for manufacturing is tow story, and is fifty-eight by one hundred feet, with an annex thirty by forty-five feet; also, a foundry building adjacent. These machine shops are fully equipped to do all kinds of work, having the best tools and appliances and the latest improved machinery, the same being operated by a force of skilled machinists and workmen. This department manufactures mill fixtures and makes a specialty of saw mills and saw drills. These saw mill outfits are made to order and carried in stock, also in fact, this firm is prepared to contract for the completions of a plant of this character from the foundation sill to the turning on of the steam. They will furnish estimates and will contract for work any where on the Peninsula, Virginia, or North Carolina. A specialty is made of all kinds of repairing, which is promptly done, and in the most substantial and workmanlike manner. All repair work, as well as work of new manufacture, is under the supervision of a competent superintendent. Mr. Gunby sells largely to country merchants, contractors and builders, the scope of the trade extending throughout this and adjacent states, the annual sales showing a large and increasing volume of business. the firm is an influential factor in the commercial life of this city, and great have been the practical benefits accruing to the community from its extensive business interests and operations. In commercial circles, Mr. L. W. Gunby occupies a position of commanding prominence. He is director of the Farmers' Merchants' Bank, also, of Salisbury Permanent Building and Loan Association, and a member of the Board of Trade. While the extent of his business interests are such as to require his first and best thought and energies, his public spirited zeal, activity and enterprise impels him to take a leading part of any movement that has for its object the prosperity of Salisbury and the Eastern Shore.
September 1997, Web Page Author George E. Richardson,III