Friday, January 20, 2012

The 530 Shop Makes the New York Times

Here's a link to an article about Lorain that appeared in both the print and online version of the New York Times in early January. The article is entitled, "A Dimly Flickering Light in a Darkened Downtown," and it is a look at The 530 Shop against the backdrop of Lorain's depressed economy. It's extremely well-written (although painful to read) and it includes several quotes by Art Oehlke, owner of the 530 Shop.

Several people have emailed me this link in the past few weeks, so I thought I would share it with those of you who might have missed it.

I hadn't been in the store since last summer, so I stopped in this past weekend to browse and ask Mr. Oehlke how he and his store ended up in the New York Times. After good-naturedly kidding me about not having been there in a while, he explained to me that the writer (Sabrina Tavernise) had been in the area for some event and stopped in at his store. She had asked him why the downtown seemed like a ghost town, and after he told her about Lorain, she must have seen the rich story potential.

One of my recent purchases at The 530 Shop
I learned from the article that Mr. Oehlke's grandfather constructed the building that houses The 530 Shop.

At the library a few days ago, I decided to see how many different businesses had been at the 530 Broadway address. The 1926 city directory listed Horn Brothers Meats as the tenant. From 1929 through about 1937, Henry Oehlke had a clothing store there.

Richman Brothers operated a store there from 1940 through at least 1942. Jumping ahead to the next available book (1947), I found Clear Sylk (a hosiery store) as the tenant until about the mid-1950's. After that, Betty Gay (a women's clothing store) was at that location until the store space went vacant around the early 1960's.

And beginning around the mid-1960's, The 530 Shop has called the storefront home.

It's fun stopping in there every once in a while. I've found some great local maps, as well as some fun knick-knacks. Mr. Oehlke always has some great vintage music blaring to put you in the mood to shop for antiques, as well as to evoke memories of the heyday of Downtown Lorain.

So be sure to stop in and buy something! The 530 Shop is open seven days a week.


ge13031 said...

It is a darn shame that Lorain doesn't realize what they have Downtown. It's a shame that very few people see the potential downtown even as they watch others rebuild and reinvent their Downtowns and bring them back from the dead. I don't know what is missing, I have watched as millions have been thrown into the area with little or nothing accomplished. Maybe someday someone will let me into the secret ??????


Dan Brady said...

I think that certain components have to exist to initiate the revival: several affordable mainstream restaurants (people will spend money on food even in a recession); plenty of parking that is nearby, safe & secure; a police presence; and businesses that fulfill both general and specialty needs. People come downtown to the Palace, and will even walk a short distance through snow to see the movie, but after the movie they split because aside from a few bars, there's nowhere to go within walking distance.

Imagine if there was a place downtown like Toft's in Sandusky--it'd be a gold mine. Maybe a sit-down parlour version of K-Cream or Terry's Dairy?

For me, the challenge for the new administration in Lorain is to work to help encourage & bring small family businesses downtown, and to help start some up with govt loans/grants: a 24 hour diner, a shoe repair shop, a health food store, an ice cream parlour, etc. And then those businesses have to ADVERTISE and run PROMOTIONS so we know they're there!

ge13031 said...

Downtown Lorain has the potential to be another Crocker Park working, safe and reliable neighborhoods. Centrally located to a wonderful waterfront as well as transportation facilities. Unfortunately Downtown Lorain has acres wasted on worthless parking space ....a rather unproductive use of property. The rest of the country is getting away from vast parking lots and building walkable sustainable communities, what say Lorain joins them ?????

ge13031 said...

As you said Dan;

Anonymous said...

Dan, BRHS had a NY Times reporter on Wed & a NY Times photograper on Thurs. wanting to know how the old Lorain was. I am not sure this will help our image.
Did you receive the question about Howards Haburgers on Broadway near 5th St.?

-Alan D Hopewell said...

One good comfort-food restaurant could help turn it around, nothin' fancy, just solid, blue-collar fare, such as Lorain has been noted for.

ge13031 said...

And there are three of them within a stones throw of each other at Leavitt Rd.

Otis said...

Otis Says, Downtown Lorain was Doomed the day the 10th District Congressperson refused to give his approval and support for the Cleveland to Lorain Rapid Transit Line. I wrote him in the 90's Begging him for his support. He did not have the curtesy to answer my letters. Now he wants to be our Congressperson fot the new 116 mile Clev. to Toledo District. Sorry Mr Congressnan, I have a real good memory. Hope the rest of the voters do also.