When a coal mining company established a town, it often built a church, a school, a saloon, and a general mercantile. In some cases miners, company employees, and their families could purchase goods only at that location. In Thurber the store began as a small commissary that dealt mainly in perishable items, dry goods, and tools under management of the financially strapped Johnson Coal Mining Company in 1887.
The Texas and Pacific Coal Company (T&P) acquired the land in and around Thurber in 1888 and reopened the store under the management of their newly established subsidiary, the Texas Pacific Mercantile and Manufacturing Company (TPM&M). Eventually the store developed into a large-scale retail complex that boasted a Hardware Department, a Print Shop, a Drug Store, a Grocery Store, a Meat Market, a Dry Goods Department, and a Casket Sales Department.
In order to advertise competitive pricing and establish a loyal customer base who would shop locally, the TPM&M published The Thurber Tiny Journal. It was a small-scale newspaper that contained small tidbits of local news and sporting events, a humor section, and store promotions. The two examples of the Thurber Tiny Journal below are from 1927.