Corner Stores
Corner Stores
Posted by: gone2222 (
Date: January 28, 2011 01:45AM

Before 7/11 and White Hen after that, there were corner stores. They were usually in the fronts of ordinary houses.

One I remember going to as a kid was "Ann's". It wasn't really on the corner, but in the middle of the block in what was then a blue house. It was located on 102nd Street, between Francisco and California. I believe it's Chicago; it might be on the Evergreen Park side.

Ann was a big woman who was anchored on a stool behind the counter and watched the kids who came in like a hawk. We bought penny candy and cheap toys there.

My mom also used to send us up there at six or seven years old to buy cigarettes. Yeah, a different world.

A big "7-UP" tent sign used to stand in the front yard.

Two corners stores in Mt. Greenwood have bitten the dust. One just east of Kedzie on 107th Street, and "Tony's", which expired just last year at 107th & Homan.

Are there any left?

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: bwalsh (
Date: January 28, 2011 01:53AM

In the old neighborhoods, they still seem to be alive and well. Bridgeport has some that I can recall.

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: gone2222 (
Date: January 28, 2011 07:36PM

Got to correct myself: "Tony's" was actually "Don's Finer Foods". The sign is still up.

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: Patti (
Date: February 03, 2011 05:07PM

We had Joe's on the corner of 15th and Springfield. And Brickman's I believe was the name on the next block over at 15th and Avers. As kids we would go to the store with a list and Joe would put the charges on our bill which mom paid at the end of the week. We could even buy cigarettes then for 17cent a pack.

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: BullHubbard (
Date: December 22, 2011 04:31PM

In Brighton Park there are 2 remaining corner stores that I am familiar with. The first, at the corner of W. Pershing and S. Sacramento is a store I knew as "John's" (now "Mario's"), where we all went before, during, and after school at Davis Elementary across Sacto. The other, at the corner of S. California and 39th Place is what I knew as "Alex's Grocerland." Both stores still exist but are, of course, under new, Latino management. Amazingly, the little corner bar across from Alex's (now called the Try M Out Lounge) is still there. Back in 2004 or so my brother and I stopped in there for a quick 1 PM beer and were met by a surly bartender who seemed to resent serving us a couple of short draft Old Styles. We were the only customers, and I think we were interrupting his watching of the soaps!

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: Karen (
Date: June 17, 2012 03:19AM

I went to Davis for my freshman year and went to that corner store. Didn't the man/owner always wear a sweatshirt with a tie painted on the front? seem to remember that.

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: GerryHonore (75.106.192.---)
Date: February 20, 2014 07:18AM

Ed's at 56th and Wolcott Had 1 cent pretzels.

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: Mr Downtown (
Date: February 20, 2014 01:09PM

I've been watching for and photographing corner stores for several years now. I'm particularly interested in those that are "hidden" within neighborhoods, rather than those on quarter-section-line arterials that have bus lines. Especially on the North Side, many have been converted to residential units, and a few years ago I helped the Landmarks Commission put out a booklet about best practices for doing that. But in Latino neighborhoods, many corner stores continue to thrive.

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: GerryHonore (75.106.255.---)
Date: February 20, 2014 05:10PM

Used to be one in middle of the block, 53rd and Honore. It was the ground floor of a residential structure.

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: ambrosemario (
Date: February 20, 2014 05:31PM

There was a small corner grocery store on the SE corner of 68th & wood and another just a quarter block west on the north side of 68th. I cannot remember the name of either, but the fact that two stores could survive in such close proximity says something about what a different time that was (50s-60s). Likewise, all the neighborhood taverns that were so close to each other. Some of the older Southside neighborhoods might have 2, 3, even 4 side street taverns within a block of each other.

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: Richard Stachowski (
Date: February 20, 2014 08:08PM

[b]Braskey's 4600 S. Richmond. [/b]

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/2014 08:02PM by Richard Stachowski.

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: davey7 (
Date: February 21, 2014 11:52AM

I believe that there are several studies, even a book (or mention within a book) on the phenomenon - the small corner store in the center of a primarily residential neighborhood. I don't think it's limited to Chicago, but is more noticeable here than in some other places (probably because there were residential income units above the stores -"living above the shop" sort of thing- whereas in smaller cities they may have been one story and more quickly demolished).

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: Wyoming Ed (
Date: February 27, 2014 12:33PM

Corner stores, or Mom & Pop stores, weren't always on a corner either. I can recall several in my old neighborhood (West Elsdon) that were toward the middle of the block.They were usually older frame structures, though some were brick, and the front wall was right at the sidewalk. Quite a contrast to to houses on both sides which were set back.

On the one mile walk to grammar school, my friends and I would pass two of these. We usually stopped to get a treat for our brown bag lunches. A pair of Hostess cupcakes for a dime, I think. This was an especially welcome stop on a sub zero winter morning. Had we detoured our path slightly, we could have easily passed 3 more of these stores.

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: b.a.hoarder (
Date: February 27, 2014 01:56PM

I lived in the Garfield Ridge area and there were no corner (or mid-block) stores beyond Narragansett at 6400 W. For the most part I guess that was the part of the Ridge developed last. Along Archer Ave. there were many shops that I remember fondly, Ronnie's about 7150 W run by a bachelor and his very old mother, JoJo's at Oak Park where they sold the best Italian ice BITD, another place at Neenah that sold Cadillac soda, a little smaller than a quart but cheap at twenty-five cents with a dime back for the deposit! In the summertime we would buy the soda and a loaf of French bread for a quick lunch instead of wasting precious time going home. Attending Kennedy HS in the late '60's there was no closed campus so we might walk to Stan's at Natchez for sandwiches, in fact I never set foot in the Kennedy lunchroom. Stan retired and then his nephew took the store, at least until there was an impropriety with a Thompson machine gun being sold and the nephew went on a vacation courtesy of the Feds. There were other stores but those were the ones that were more kid friendly.

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: WayOutWardell (
Date: February 27, 2014 10:46PM

There's a one-story storefront/apartment at 1437 W. Blackhawk that's slated for demolition. Interesting building and certainly an anomaly on the block.

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: Dunning1 (
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.

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: gman (
Date: March 14, 2014 11:57AM

We had Zfaney's Pharmacy at Kimball and Lawrence. It was a convenience store/pharmacy with a full soda fountain. You could buy phosphates at price points around a dime (I think it was like 7cents, 9cents and 12cents depending on the size). The owner seemed really old to us (we were in elementary school in the late 60's) but was probably in his 50's-60's at the time and we used to drive him crazy. We frequented it until graduation in the early 70's - it was a stop on the way to Flip Side records where we would pick up the WLS Top 40 lists for the week.

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: Richard Stachowski (
Date: March 15, 2014 04:45PM

[b]51st off May street A mid West store.[/b]

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: prusko69 (
Date: May 13, 2014 03:45PM

I grew up on the northwest side of chicago in the 70s, (norwood park, edison park, Oriole park) and there was a corner store on Bryn Mawr ave., east of Canfield, called Midwest. Had the old wooden floors and Bazooka bubble gum was only 1 cent. Later it was raised to 2 cents and that bummed everyone out. there was another store, a little bigger, called Royal Blue, on Foster avenue, between harlem and canfield, used to buy wacky packs there. None of these places are there anymore, a much simpler time back then.

Re: Corner Stores
Posted by: Mikey (
Date: May 13, 2014 08:44PM

Gotta reply to Gman's comment about Zfaney's Pharmacy. It was at the northeast corner of Kimball and Foster, diagonal from the new Albany Park Library. The one at Kimball and Lawrence was an old Rexall called Fischoff's.

Mikey (Albany Parker forever!)

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