Tuesday, February 19, 2013

From the E-Mail Bag #11

I'm still getting lots of comments and emails on old posts from years past. I really appreciate it when someone takes the time to post a comment on an old post, but I feel bad that readers may never see it unless they poke around in the archives. Thus, from time to time I like to feature a few of them in a new post. Keep those comments coming – and thanks!

A reader named Ted left some great comments on my post from last April about Kutza's Pharmacy. He wrote, "Here is some history of that building that may add a bit to your efforts.  A doctor had his offices upstairs of the Kutza Pharmacy. His name was Doctor A. J. Novello, at 1236 Broadway. He was the father of Don Novello, "Father Guido Sarducci" of Saturday Night Live notoriety.
 I also used to buy comics there in the very late fifties and early sixties. I wish I still had them, some of them were the original Spider Man and other Marvel Comics.
Ted had some other interesting tidbits about the area. He noted, "Here is another bit of local history of that vicinity: just to the north across the street and a bit to the west was a small business called Popa's Poultry. This place had live chickens they would slaughter and pluck for you, as well as fresh eggs. I last walked there in the eighties (I live in Cleveland now) and there was only the foundation of Popa's Poultry left. Just to the south on the other side of the alley behind Kutza's behind where the fire station is now (it used to be Joe's Barber Shop; we lived upstairs) there used to be a barn with a horse. This was as recent as 1960-62."

Thanks for sharing, Ted!

My February 2012 posts (here and here) about the Forest City Auto Parts long-necked advertising mascot continues to generate comments. I guess he must have been a memorable guy to a lot of people.

Two former managers of Forest City Auto Parts left comments revealing the name and origin of the bespectacled mascot.

One wrote, "As a former Manager of FCAP in Toledo area, I know exactly how the long neck fellow you refer to came to be. His name is Max, and the idea was pitched to the two original brothers that owned the company– Stan & Arn – from a yellow page add with the caption "stop looking we have what you need."

He added, "The rest is pretty much history.  The ad was very successful, just like the chain of auto parts store were."
Another former manager confirmed his story. "As a former manager of FCAP on Culver Road in Rochester, NY., I also know the story behind "MAX." He pointed out that the other manager was "correct about Stan and Arn and the yellow pages ad."
As Paul Harvey used to say: "Now you know the rest of the story." Thanks, gentlemen!

One post that seems to just keep on going is the one from Feb. 2011 on Ontario department store. It's up to 19 comments and I'm sure if I wait long enough they'll be more. The comments are about stores in other cities in Ohio, but they're interesting just the same.

A gentleman named Howard worked in management at the Ontario stores in Columbus, Ohio from 1971 to 1973. He wrote, "The original ONTARIO store was on the Alum Creek Drive in Columbus, and started by a Jewish gentleman named Fred Silverstein who purchased a trailer load of Sherwin-Williams paint, and sold it at a discounted price. Ontario was one of the first true discount stores in the country. The rest is history! For the most part, I enjoyed working for Ontario, which was a division of Cook United, Inc. located in Cleveland, Ohio. At some point in time, Cook United owned in excess of 100 stores. It could have (and should have) become what Wal*Mart is today. Cook United didn't keep up with its competition. Such a shame!"

Another gentleman worked at the Ontario in Springfield, Ohio. He commented, "My dad was the store manager for the Ontario in Springfield in the late 60's until his death in 1971. I was pretty young then but what I remember most was that they used to have live advertisements in the store. My brother was actually Mr. Peanut (Planters Peanuts) and my sister dressed up as the Little Dutch Boy for Dutch Boy Paints, and they would have to stand at the displays for those products in the store."

Thanks to both of these ex-Ontario employees for sharing their stories about the well-remembered, popular store chain.

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