1217 Washington Street in Commerce Texas is currently the location of The Spot, a sports bar dating back to around 2006. This location was once the location of a store called Duke & Ayers which opened on Saturday, June 5th, 1920 and advertised goods priced between 5 to 50 cents with the motto “Courtesy, Quality and Low Prices.” It was as a pharmacy, however, that this location really thrived. In November 25, 1923, Mr. Marvin Rape bought the former Duke & Ayers store and began a forty year run of pharmacies at the location. Ulysses E. Oliver purchased the location in 1924. When his brother Ramah Oliver joined in 1928, he renamed the store Oliver Bros Drugs. The brothers ran the location through the second World War and beyond, offering curbside service and providing cherry sodas and banana splits at their soda fountain.
In July of 1954, Harry Ward and his son Glen purchased this store and renamed it Ward’s Pharmacy. They continued to operate at this location until the fire of December 1963 and the subsequent rebuilding opened a new building at 1205 Washington Street. Wards moved there in 1964 and continued to operate until 2000, when the new owners, Danny and Laura Imhoff, closed the store. Ward’s was the last independent drugstore operating in Commerce.
The Family Shoe Store moved into this location in 1964. In 1965, a former store manager of J.C. Penny named Mr. Russell and his wife bought the shoe store from Allen Stephenson and renamed it Russell’s Shoe Store. A popular store in downtown Commerce, Russell’s Shoe Store held promotion sales that brought in customers from five different states. In 1982, James A. and Jane Mathews purchased the store and continued operating under the Russell’s Shoe Store name until they sold the property in 1996. In December of 2002, a restaurant named Wing Express opened in the 1217 Washington location. TJ’s Restaurant moved into the location in 2003 and stayed until the business moved locations in 2005. The Spot opened soon after and remains a popular late-night hangout among college students.