One of the most prominent businessmen of Idaho Falls is Gilbert G. Wright, manager of the Cooperative Wagon & Machine Company and of the Idaho Falls Milling Company. Mr. Wright is a native of Ogden, Utah, and was born September 28, 1867. His father, Gilbert J. Wright, was born in England and came to New York, whence he removed to Ogden, Utah, where he married Miss Annie Odell, also of English birth. He became a successful hardware merchant, and late in life he retired to Idaho Falls, where he and his wife are now living. The family are devoted members of the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Gilbert G. Wright, the eldest of their seven children, attended the public schools of Ogden until he was sixteen years old, and then entered the employ of the Cooperative Wagon & Machine Company, with the important interests of which he has since become prominently identified. After five years’ experience in the establishment of the corporation at Ogden, he was, in 1889, sent to Idaho Falls to open a branch establishment at this place. The company has its headquarters at Salt Lake City, Utah, and there, and through its several branch stores, it does a wholesale business in vehicles, agricultural implements and stoves. Some idea of the magnitude of its transactions may be gained from the fact that it is capitalized at three hundred and fifty thousand dollars.
Mr. Wright started in business at Idaho Falls somewhat modestly. His sales for the first year aggregated thirty-six thousand dollars, which was certainly a good beginning. Not with standing the country has since passed through a long period of severe financial depression, Mr. Wright has pushed this enterprise to the front with great certainty and great rapidity. In 1898 the business of the Idaho Falls branch of the Cooperative Wagon & Machine Company amounted to four hundred and sixty thousand dollars. Some of this great success is due to the rapid settlement and development of the country; but it is all due in a large measure to the wise and energetic policy of Mr. Wright, who has been indefatigable in pushing the enterprise in all departments and extending its operations in all lines and in every direction, and who is regarded as a man of remarkable foresight and talent for handling extensive interests.
The concern at Idaho Falls occupies a stone building with an area ninety by two hundred and twenty-five feet, besides four hundred square feet of yard room, employs twenty-seven men, and ships goods to points within an average limit of one hundred and fifty miles in all directions from its center of operations.
Mr. Wright was also the builder of, and owns a controlling interest in, the large roller-process steam and water power flouring mill at Idaho Falls, which has a capacity of two hundred barrels a day. He is also the owner of considerable farm land and of a great deal of town property, including a large and well appointed residence, one of the finest and most attractive in the city. His character as a business man is one of which many men of more pretensions might be proud, for it comprehends every good quality which makes for the best and highest reputation, and is illumined by successes which are important among the conspicuous successes which have marked the development of Idaho.
In April 1890, Mr. Wright was happily married to Miss Tillie Bailey, a native of Ogden, Utah, and a daughter of Joseph Bailey, a highly respected citizen of that city. They have a son and a daughter, named Gilbert O. and Florence A. Wright.
Closely as is Mr. Wright bound down by the imperative demands of the great and growing interests which by tireless energy he has built up and which with consummate sagacity he is directing to the certain achievement of still greater success, he finds time to discharge the political duties of the patriotic citizen, for he holds that every man should be a practical politician to the extent of doing his part toward securing good laws and their honest administration; and as a Republican he interests himself actively in all affairs of public moment. He was elected county treasurer of Bingham County and served his fellow citizens faithfully in that capacity. He was also for four years a member of the common council of Idaho Falls, and in office and out of office he has, by every means at his command, done all that was possible for him to do to foster and advance the best interests of Idaho Falls, Bingham county, and the state of Idaho.