Friday, September 9, 2016

Ontario Store Merges with Cook – Sept. 1964

One of the neat things about doing this blog is the opportunity to examine the various statistics that are generated and made available to me through I can tell where my blog traffic comes from (mainly Google and Facebook); the countries my audience lives in (the United States, followed by Russia, then Germany, the Ukraine, etc.); and most importantly, what individual posts are the most read.

One of my posts on Cedar Point 1966 is still the most read (with more than 3700 visits to date), and the one on Avon Lake’s Close Quarters Pub was second with more than 2,000 hits. But the post entitled “Remember Ontario Dept. Store?” is almost always in the top five or six, and it alone probably has the most comments of any post I’ve ever done (31 so far).

I’ve wondered why my single post on Ontario Discount Stores is so popular. I think it’s because there really isn’t any other place on the whole internet where so many of Ontarios’s ex-employees and customers (as well as those of Uncle Bill’s) have congregated and shared reminisces and memories.

Anyway, that interest in the store is why I’m posting the article below, which appeared on the front page of the Journal on September 22, 1964. Ontario had just been purchased by Cook Coffee.

The article, written by Jack LaVriha, also provides a capsule history of the chain. I had no idea that the chain had its beginning in Lorain in April 1958 at 1922 Broadway before moving to its well-remembered location on what was then State Route 254 (North Ridge Road).

Ontario Merges With Cook Firm
Ontario Discount Stores, with 12 corporations in Ohio and Missouri, have been purchased by Cook Coffee Co. Cleveland, in an exchange-of-stock transaction estimated at more than $5 million, it was learned today.

Cook Coffee owns Pick-N-Pay Super Markets and Uncle Bill’s Discount Stores in numerous cities and the giant Whitehall Discount City in Columbus.

Pick-N-Pay has area stores at 2418 W. 21st St., O’Neil - Sheffield Center and Ridgeview Shopping Center.

The consummation of the deal reportedly took place yesterday between Cook Coffee and Walter Nacey of Elyria, principal stockholder of Ontario stores, effective by mid-October.

The Ontario stores reportedly will not lose their identity as the result of the transaction and will continue to operate under the same name with no change in personnel.

A minor stockholder of Ontario stores was Ernest Ostreicher, owner of the former Striker’s Jewelry store in Central Lorain.

Ontario stores had its beginning in Lorain at 1922 Broadway in April, 1958. This store was moved to its present building on SR 254, west of Elyria Ave. in October, 1959.

Nacey then expanded his operations to Columbus, Springfield, Dayton, Toledo, Cincinnati, and Hamilton and St. Louis, Mo.

The Lorain, Columbus and Springfield operations represented the parent stores with the others being subsidiaries, according to a reliable source.

In addition to hard goods, the Columbus and Dayton stores also featured discount foods.

A new 20,000 square-foot addition costing an estimated $500,000 for building, land acquisition and fixtures, was erected at the Ontario Store on SR 254 late in 1962.

I just checked my blog stats. The new most-read post of all time is the one about the American flag painted on the cliff overlooking State Route 2. Just in the last few days, it moved into the number one position with more than 24,000 views!


Anonymous said...

I just saw last evening how the flag piece was recently posted on a "Lorain County" Facebook page, so that helped it.

Would love to see a photo of the old Ontario store, from the side entrance parking lot. Sat in the car there many times looking over at that drive-in theater.

-Alan D Hopewell said...

I never knew that Ontario started off on Broadway.

Rick Kurish said...

Your mention of the American flag painted on the cliff at the end of this blog, brought back some memories. The "cliff" is actually the face of an old quarry pit. Route 2/ I-90 through Amherst slices right through the old Worthington sandstone quarry that was operated on that site in the 19th century. I remember that at the time the flag was painted for the 1976 bicentennial, I was working with a lady who was a number of years older than me who grew up in the area of the old quarry. She told me when she was a child she and her friends would "skinny dip" in the old quarry pits in the area. She believed that the flag may have been painted on one of the faces of her "old swimming hole".