So much has been written about F.J. Cook and his hardware store. His father, J.L. Cook, a Civil War veteran actually began the store (directory listings as early as 1873 for Cook and Loughlin, hardware).
The following article was published in The Fowlerville Review in 1906:
New Hardware Firm~~B.B. Kraus of Detroit, and F.G. Horton of Fowlerville, have purchased the hardware stock of Fred J. Cook and will continue the business under the firm name of Kraus & Horton. Both of these young men are quite well known to the people of this vicinity. Mr. Horton is entirely a Fowlerville product, having been born and reared in this village and the immediate vicinity and is known to all as a young man of the highest character and integrity in whom all have the utmost confidence. Mr. Kraus came to this place when about five years of age and remained here during his school life, his father having spent many years in the employ of Hugh Loughlin as his tinner and clerk. Mr. Kraus worked with his father in the hardware store at Gaylord for about seven years and for the past nine years has had charge of one of the department of one of the large wholesale hardware stores in Detroit, thus having experience inboth the wholesale and retail trade. Both of these young men are full of push ad energy and will no doubt secue their share of the future business. Mr. Kraus will remove his family to this place as soon as a residence can be secure.
Mr. Cook purchased the business 16 years ago and by faithful attention to busines personal energy and liberal advertising, he succeeded in building up one of the finest hardware business in the county and his retirement from the business will be regretted not only by this customers but by the business men generally of the village.
He still owns the lunber business and wil continue that busines for the present, but we understand that he has some interests in the weset that will sooner or later draw him to that country of greater opportunities.
It wasn't long before ad blurbs started showing up in the local news section, such as, Go to Kraus and Horton's and get a granite dish pan, 33c. And then, No. 8 Granite Tea Kettle 55 c at Kraus and Horton.
Also, once F.J. Cook was free of the hardware business and could concentrate more in the lumber area, the following was found in the local paper:
Fred J. Cook left on Monday for St. Louis, Mo., where he will represent the Michigan lumber dealers association at the national convention of lumber dealers. And then, Fred J. Cook left on Tuesday for a trip to the coast where he expects to locate and engage in some kind of manufacturing, probably furniture. He will spend some time looking up the best location and will then decide whether it will be California or Washington. His family will remain here until his location is definitely settled.