Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Meyer Goldberg Memories

One of the businesses that will probably forever remain synonymous with Lorain is the fondly-remembered Meyer Goldberg chain of grocery stores.

Unlike its competition such as A&P, Meyer Goldberg was just a local chain – but I never noticed the difference when I was a kid. In fact, the store on Oberlin Avenue that we went to was impressive to me, because it was a large standalone store with its own parking lot (which is definitely the preferred trend nowadays for supermarkets).

Meyer Goldberg himself only passed away back on February 1, 2005 at the age of 93. A feature article about his passing on the front page of the Morning Journal written by Scott Patsko had a nice summary of the chain's history, from which I distilled the information that follows.

Meyer Goldberg's parents had already been in the grocery business with their Goldberg Food Stores. He opened his own store back in 1951 on Broadway, and added a second one in 1962 at Oakwood Shopping Center. Later the chain expanded to include more locations, including Oberlin Avenue in Lorain (the one we went to), as well as Elyria, North Ridgeville and Sheffield Township.

Here's a newspaper ad from April 9, 1958 – back when there was just one store in the chain.

Unfortunately, by the end of the 1970's, Goldberg was forced to file for bankruptcy. He ended up filing lawsuits against Pick-N-Pay and Fisher Foods, as he believed they had conspired to put him out of business. (You can read some of the legal documents here and here.) Both companies, along with Stop-N-Shop, were eventually charged with price fixing and forced to make restitution to area customers.

I just remember the Meyer Goldberg store on Oberlin Avenue store as being very spacious, clean and easy to navigate – perfect for grabbing what you need quickly. (Nowadays, some grocery stores are so huge that you can get despondent just trying to find what you're looking for.)

I also remember the red tinted light bulbs that lit up the meat department displays (they certainly made the hamburger look even better), and the great submarine sandwiches that they sold there, with lots of hard salami in them.

Here's what the Oberlin Avenue store looks like now. Remember the old US Postal sub-station on the side?

And here's the South Broadway store. Until recent years, it had been an ALDI store.
It's strange that the two remaining Meyer Goldberg buildings in Lorain both house dollar stores!
Although Meyer Goldberg supermarkets are long gone, Fligner's Market on Broadway continues the legacy of a locally owned and operated grocery store in Lorain.


-Alan D Hopewell said...

When we lived in Campedo,(1971-76), Meyer Goldberg on South Broadway was where we did our shopping. Ghoulardi made a personal appearance there in '64, which I missed due to being in St. Joe's with pneumonia.

Randall Chet said...

Funny - one of my memories was meeting Cleveland pitcher Jim Perry at Meyer Goldberg on Oberlin in 1974. He signed this 10-year-old little leaguer's baseball. Both brothers Gaylord were prematurely gray and I remember thinking he looked so OLD. He was 39.

I also collected stamps - still do and I remember riding my bike there to get the latest commemoratives. Still have them in my collection.

Mike Rumancik said...

When my Mom shopped at Meyer Goldbergs and was very pregnant with me Mr. Gold berg wanted to buy my first pair of shoes which he did. At 60 I will always remember his generosity and skill at marketing.

Anonymous said...

Meyer Goldberg was an obnoxious conniving S O B. He treated suppliers like dirt and was like by no one. He had not one friend in the industry. I know all of this to be true because I was a supplier until I told him to kiss my ass.