Tonawanda News

Opinion

May 18, 2013

TUCKER: Small stores win for customer service

Tonawanda News — A couple of weeks ago, some of the history of the Gratwick area of North Tonawanda was outlined by a gentleman who called himself “Dennis from Gratwick.” The column brought in a number of other memories and then, a letter from Ruth Maerten who said although she’s retired in Florida, still has recollections of Gratwick since she believes she’s much older than Dennis.

Here’s her letter: “At the corner of Stenzil aned Payne was Koenig’s for many years before it became Mellenthines. At the corner of Washington and Oliver, Joe Kohler had a fruit and vegetable stand and on the same side of the street on the other corner, Doc Smoyer.

“At Allen and Oliver was an A&P Store. Across the street was a barber shop and Kraft Dry Cleaners, then Musall’s Meat Market and Harvey Grobe grocery store.

“Long before Krinke’s was Joe LaBarbara and before him, Steve’s, with the best homemade ice cream. At Felton and Oliver, Ben Schultz had a grocery store and next to him was a shoe repair.

“Gratwick Hose Co. and Gratwick Lumber were on Felton Street. Next to the Blue Danube was Strassburg Hardware. Mr. Allard had a newspaper stand at the corner of Jackson.

“Thompson Bowling Alley and Smith Drug Store were on Oliver between Felton and Fredericka and above Smith’s was McKnight, the dentist. One corner of Fredericka was Schroeder’s Service Station with Meister’s Service Station across the street. At one time there were 49 bars on Oliver Street, places to stop for a beer or a good fish fry.”

Thanks for the memories, Ruth.

•••

Because the rechargeable battery in my cordless grass trimmer is too difficult to change, I decided to buy a lightweight electric trimmer. Stops at a large local hardware store and a “big box” store found no customer service people to ask, much less help in my quest. So on the way home, on the off-chance that a trimmer could be found, I stopped at Valu Home Center. A gentleman was working on a project near the door and quickly asked if he could help.

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