In 1846, one year after New Braunfels was founded, a mercantile company owned by James Ferguson and Henry Hessler opened on the corner of Castell and San Antonio streets. By 1858, both men had died and Ernst Scherff, an employee, purchased the business from Ferguson's widow. The name changed to Ernst Scherff Mercantile. Six years later, Scherff moved the business to the center of town on the corner of Main Plaza and Seguin Street. Scherff, as sole owner, grew his business into one of the most successful in the region. In 1887, Scherff leased the business to his nephew, George Knoke from Germany, and George Eiband, an employee. The business became known as Knoke & Eiband.
In the late 1890s, Ernst (E.A.) Eiband (George's brother) and Emil Fischer, both employees, leased the business. In 1910, a weeklong grand opening celebration for the enlarged Eiband & Fischer, Inc. took place and was attended by crowds from surrounding areas. The mercantile continued successfully selling groceries, piece goods, clothing,
china, crystal, farm machinery, feed and seed to local citizens, farmers and ranchers. Like their predecessors, they also served as cotton buyers and short-term bankers. The
property was bought by Eiband & Fischer in 1929. On March 2, 1947, the store was consumed by fire. The annex across the courtyard was untouched and
served as the store for twelve years after the fire. The burned out shell of the basement served as the home of Wurstfest from 1963-1966. Since 1975, the New Braunfels Utilities has used the annex building for offices. This site reminds us of the successful businesses that once thrived and laid the foundation for today's downtown New Braunfels.