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Originality, initiative and enterprise figure in the success of Merrill C. Jenkins, a lead-ing clothier of Now Haven, whose business has been incorporated under the name of Shop of Jenkins. His plans are always well formulated and carefully executed and his rules of life have been such as have brought him continuous advancement. He was born in Jonesport, Maine, September 13, 1869. a son of Samuel James and Lois (Sawyer) Jenkins. The father was born in Prince Edward Island and during his active life engaged in carpentering as a builder. He also conducted a livery business and for many years was a resident of Jonesport, Maine, where he passed away in 1891. His wife was born there and was reared, educated and married in her native city, where her death occurred in 1881.

In their family were six children, of whom Merrill G. Jenkins was the eldest. In his youthful days he attended school in Jonesport, and though he never had opportunity to become a college student, he has through wide reading and study in his leisure hours gained comprehensive knowledge and is today a most efficient business man, practical and purposeful. At the age of thirteen years he began work in a sardine canning factory and discharged his tasks with such promptness and efficiency that ho was taken by his employer to a factory which was being opened up away from his home town. He continued to work at his trade until 1888, when he went to Amesbury, Massachusetts, and secured a clerkship in a men's furnishing goods store. He found that line of business congenial and he applied himself thoroughly to the mastery of every phase of the business. He had spent two years in connection therewith when he was made a buyer. On leaving Amesbury he went to Haverhill, Massachusetts, where he continued in the same line of business for two and one-half years. He next went to Watertown, Now York, where he was buyer for a men's furnishings house for three years. Coming to New Haven in September, 1900, he here secured a position with the Meigs Clothing Company to open a men's furnishing goods department for them. After demonstrating to the stockholders the value of such a department, which he created and profitably conducted for some time, he resigned his position and formed a partnership under the name of Jenkins & Thompson for the conduct of a store dealing exclusively in men's furnishings on Chapel street. They bought out a business which was on the verge of failure and Mr. Jenkins at once undertook the task of developing and enlarging this. Later, however, he withdrew and established what is known as the Shop of Jenkins. This business he has built up to gratifying proportions and it is today one of New Haven's most reliable and successful men's furnishing goods stores, he carries an extensive line of goods, displaying the latest styles combined with thorough workmanship, and his patronage has grown year by year.

On the 30th day of May, 1915, in New Haven, Mr. Jenkins was married to Miss Helen Watts, a daughter of W. W. Watts, of Newburgh, New York. He votes independently but is not remiss in the duties of citizenship and studies those interests which work for general betterment. He is a Mason and a member of the Union League. He belongs to the Second Company of the Governor's Foot Guard. He is a director of the Chamber of Commerce and the president of the New Haven Business Men's Association and he is closely studying conditions having to do with questions of public moment in relation to trade. He watches the signs of the times, draws a sane, logical conclusion and adapts his efforts to prevailing conditions. He has formulated certain plans of conduct and of action which have found verbal expression in some terse sentences and carefully pointed paragraphs, including the following: "To my mind personality is a factor that counts big in business life. Do you like other men, take an interest in them, enjoy meeting them? For if you do, without doubt, other men like to meet you. You have got to see men, have an interchange of offers, converse about what you offer them and hear about what they offer you. Though much of our mutual approach can be made by letters, advertising, etc., yet the personality must sooner or later figure largely. Hence you must go among friends frequently because only they are congenial and minister to your better nature. 'Be of the same mind one towards another,' was the Apostle's command. Avoid moods, insist on an evenness of temper. One single surrender to a bad mood may cost years of disadvantage. Just what it is that draws us to one person, what repels us from another, can never be scientifically stated, but this one thing may be said: 'Cheerful men may not always be prosperous, but they've got a heap better chance than the grouch.' Increase the number of your friends and you increase the value of your assets." That his opinions concerning business and its conditions are regarded as sound is indicated in the feeling which the Kiwanis Club and other organizations entertain for him.

Modern History of New Haven
Eastern New Haven County


Volume II

New York Chicago
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company 

pgs 203 - 204

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pages / text are copyrighted by
Elaine Kidd O'Leary & 
Anne Taylor-Czaplewski
May 2002