Re: Corner Stores
Date: February 28, 2014 12:38PM
My grandfather owned a small mid block store at 316 S. Loomis, between Jackson and Van Buren, from 1923 until his retirement in 1953. He had originally started as a fruit and vegetable peddler in the area, and the store was a big step up. Over the years he expanded into a delicatessen, sandwich shop, and tap room in addition to the store. After his retirement, he moved next door to us, and for years would not buy a television set. Rather than watch TV, we would sit with Papou and he would regale us with stories of what happened in the old store, the local characters, attempted hold ups, etc. The building was eventually torn down in the 1960's to build Whitney Young High School, and I honestly cannot ever remember seeing the building. I was able, however, to pretty much reconstruct the old store just from my grandfather's stories. A few years ago, going through some papers from my parents after their deaths, I found a picture of the old store, and surprisingly, it was pretty much just as I had imagined it. It's interesting for me to see how much of a community center the old store was, and since it was located in a once nice neighborhood where industry moved in and the remaining houses were converted into rooming houses. I still remember the story of the local shoplifter who stole a box of Creamettes macaroni, and came back later asking my grandmother how to cook them, and of the toolmaker who worked for V. Mueller surgical instruments, and would go on booze benders, and how they had to take him in the back room and throw him in a tub and scrub him. He left some tools with my grandfather as security for a loan back in the 1940's and disappeared, never to be found again.