After the mining boom and population boom of 1885, Bisbee had thirty independent groceries, six clothing stores, and one other large department store.
James Douglas purchased Mary Crossley's General Store in 1886 to become the Copper Queen Store. Douglas created the Copper Queen Store to lower the cost of goods for the community because local merchants were price-gouging Bisbee residents. The Copper Queen Store sold various goods including groceries, textiles, clothing, furniture, pharmaceuticals, and more.
The Phelps Dodge Mercantile was the Copper Queen Store until a 1939 fire burned the original structure down.
The new building was the first commercial project by the contractor, Del Webb, and designed by the Phoenix-based architectural firm Lescher and Mahoney who specialized in Spanish Art-Deco style structures.
A giant warehouse for the store was located where the paid parking lot is today. Miners could buy goods on credit from their mining paychecks.
After the store closed in 1976 a year after mining ended, the building became a vacant community center that hosted various events. Your tour guide attended two high school proms there and even won Prince of the prom his junior year in high school in 1983.
There were four more Phelps Dodge Mercantiles throughout the Bisbee Area until the mid-1970s when mining stopped. One was in Lowell AZ, another in Warren AZ, another called the El Rancho Supermarket in San Jose AZ, and the last was called the Naco Mercantile in Naco AZ.
The Naco Mercantile received a homemade bomb through its roof made by Patrick Murphy during the Naco Bombing of 1929.
Much of the original decor, walls, and flooring remains in the building today. The businesses and entities operating in the old Phelps Dodge Mercantile building include Bisbee's Table, The Bisbee Coffee Company, Calvary Church, Mels Bisbee Bodega, Mercantile on Main, and Bisbee Books & Music.