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Erie Avenue stores sold variety of goods

June 18, 2012

Photo courtesy of the St. Marys Historical Society collection Pictured is a line of people entering Kantars Department Store for its final sale in 1972. Of the businesses seen here on the south side of Erie Avenue, only Murone's is still in business but at a different location.

Editor's note: This is the eighth part in a series of articles based on a presentation given by area historian and photographer Ray Beimel regarding the history of the Erie Avenue area.

According to local historian Ray Beimel, at one time "you could pretty much buy everything you wanted" on Erie Avenue.
During a recent presentation at the St. Marys Senior Center on the history of the Erie Avenue area, Beimel briefly discussed many of the prominent businesses that once lined the roadway.
One undated photograph showed Berman's store at its original location on the north side of Erie Avenue in the former Exchange Hotel building. Another from 1961 featured businesses such as Murone's Music and Television and Hoy's Radio Service, as well as Berman's after it moved to the south side of the street.
Referring to the photo of Hoy's, Beimel noted that the building was fairly new and had not yet been constructed in the immediate aftermath of World War II.
"In the post-war period that was a hole," Beimel said.
Prior to the store's construction, horseshoe pits were located in that area.
"Horseshoes were a really popular sport in the post-war period. All the World War II vets came back and the Moose had lighted courts down there," Beimel said. "On any given summer night you'd hear the clang of horseshoes [in that area.]"
Beimel also discussed a location that he did not have a photograph of, the Avenue Market.
"I remember that when I was a kid because we only shopped there once a year, and that was at canning time. That was the one place where my mother would get fresh dill for the dill pickles. I don't remember ever buying anything else there, but the smell of fresh dill makes me think of the Avenue Market," Beimel said.

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