Godfrey Willis immigrated from England in 1872 by way of Philadelphia, and together with Harry Scott opened G.C. Willis Department Store seen here on the right. Lasting over 84 years the building would eventually lose its historic appearance and become J.C. Penney Department Store. Willis and Company was notable for its S&H Green Stamp store. This program allowed buyers of goods to collect stamps for every dollar spent and redeemed for merchandise at select stores.
In the 1980’s the News-Gazette under owner and publisher Marajen Stevick-Chinigo contracted with Gerhard Rettberg Associates to renovate the building to it’s current appearance. The facade and cornice were removed and the building stripped to it’s original steel structure. The current cladding is Italian red granite and the interior was designed by Mrs. Stevick-Chinigo.