It's sometimes strange where my mind wanders, and when. This morning I was trying to remember the stores in the tiny town where I grew up: Mineral Ridge, Ohio.
All of the stores were on Main Street, and there were very few. People said that at one time, in the late 1800's, the Ridge was larger than Youngstown, the next nearest large city. I haven't researched to know the truth of that. It was hard to imagine
The Ridge's stores I remember, from north to south:
Isaly's Dairy. This was a little ice cream store where we could buy a cone for either 5¢ or 7¢ (and later 10¢). The nickle cone was pointed with one scoop. The more expensive cone had two scoops and a flat bottom. The shop had tables and chairs and sold sandwiches and I think it was a favorite after-school hang-out for the high schoolers. Isaly's also sold penny candy, a favorite for the younger crowd.
DeNino's Beauty Shop. Isaly's was a duplex with the restaurant on one side and the beauty shop on the other. I don't remember the beauty shop being there for very long.
Mineral Ridge School (grades 1-12) was on the opposite side of the street just a little south of Isaly's.
Grampa's Barber Shop. This was the highlight of another post.
Beazel's Grocery Store was on the same side of the street as the school. It was a small store with perhaps 4 or 5 aisles and a tiny parking lost that held perhaps 8 or 10 cars. Beazel's had a great meat department. Some winters my parents would buy a side of beef and have it cut, sliced, and ground. We would wrap it in freezer paper at home and store it to eat for a year. The butchers at the store wore hats, and when I was little they would sometimes give me an end of bologna. Once when I was 3 or 4 I was at another store with my parents when they began speaking to a man I didn't know. They told me who he was but I refused to believe them. The man they said he was always wore a hat and was at the butcher counter at Beazel's. My brother, Bob, worked at Beazel's when he was in high school. They hired teens to bag and carry out groceries. Later my brother graduated to the butcher department.
Tony's Shoe Store. Tony sold a smallish selection of shoes. Perhaps my father bought his work boots there. My mom believed that children should have hard-soled shoes but occasional summers we would go to Tony's and she would buy either Keds or sandals for me. Tony also repaired shoes. They never felt quite the same afterward until we wore the comfort back into them.
Mounier's Drug Store. Mounier's wouldn't have stayed in business with our family if they had sold only prescription drugs. We were rarely sick. Fortunately for them they sold all the other things that one could buy in a drug store of the time period. They just had a small stock and fewer varieties. Occasionally my dad would go out for an evening walk and bring home a bag filled with candy bars - from the drug store. What a treat for members of a near-candyless home.
Mullee's Hardware Store. This store was about the size of Beazel's except perhaps a little deeper. I remember there was a sales counter in the center of the store and the items for sale were around the edges. I occasionally went along with my dad when he needed to purchase something to make a repair.
The Post Office. Mail was delivered both morning and evening, but there was no home delivery. Everyone went to the post office to collect their mail from mailboxes with combination locks and little windows on the front. We often went twice a day. If my dad was out and about in the car, he'd stop; otherwise, when I was old enough, I walked to collect the mail.
And that was the extent of our shopping options in the Ridge. I guess we could buy almost everything we needed except clothes. For clothes we went to Niles or Youngstown, and sometimes Warren, where there were more and larger stores.
If anyone from the Ridge reads this post and remembers other stores I haven't mentioned or has particular memories of the stores above, please leave a comment or contact me using the contact tab on the left side of this blog.
If you lived in a small town, do you have memories of the stores where you and your family shopped? What was the population of your small town?
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