Monday, July 16, 2012

Pfaff's Grocery Store

JOHN AND HAZEL PFAFF are sorry they must close their 56-year-old store
next week. They recall many young faces which have greeted them as children
stopped to buy candy while going to and coming from nearby schools.
From Lawson's stores to Mom and Pop grocery stores...

I found this article in the August 18, 1967 edition of the Lorain Journal. It's a nice story written by Valerie Cocks about a grocery store run by John and Hazel Pfaff for 56 years at 312 W. 20th Street in Lorain. At the time of the article the Pfaffs were preparing to close it down for good.

Longtime Family Grocery Store Closing Next Week
Staff Writer

Remember when Log Cabin Syrup came in metal containers shaped like cabins and when candy could be bought by the penny?

You can still buy these items until Sept. 1. That is the day that Pfaff's Grocery Store at 312 W. 20th St. will be closed for the last time.

John Pfaff, 79, began his business 56 years ago. He first delivered groceries by bicycle, later by horse and buggy, and finally by automobile. Pfaff and his wife, Hazel, who will be 75 years old next month, both are in excellent health.

SO WHY has he decided to close their store? His eyesight has worsened during recent years, and his wife's hearing has been impaired. They really don't want to retire; they are forced to.

They have no definite plans for their retirement. There will be no party the last night, as there was six years ago when they celebrated their 50th year of business.

Next week their sons, Alvin and Marvin, will join them in the store for a final storewide sale.

PFAFF WORKED for five years at National Tube Co. after high school graduation before he decided in 1911 to go into the grocery store business with his first wife, Neva. She died when Alvin was born in 1923. Pfaff married his present wife in 1924.

Mr. and Mrs. Pfaff recall the days when they bought crackers, cookies, vinegar, sugar, dates and other foods in bulk. Their sons remember separating the dates and wrapping them in small packages. They also used to help prepare piles of cabbage for the homemade sauerkraut their parents made and sold for years.

Reminiscing, Pfaff said he wore out a half dozen panel trucks during the 1930s and 1940s delivering groceries to all parts of Lorain and to some areas outside the city limits. He continued to deliver until about two years ago when he was forced to stop driving. His sons often make Saturday deliveries for him now.

PFAFF SAID from the beginning he has tried to have only the best brands of foods available for his customers. His dedication seems to have paid off because today some of his customers are third generation members of families he served years ago.

For more than 40 years, Mr. and Mrs. Pfaff supplied Hawthorne Junior High School cooking classes with the foods they needed.

At one time, the store had 12 employees, Those days are past. Next week, Pfaff, who believes he is the oldest active grocer in Lorain, and his wife will make their last sales in a neighborhood that has known the family for 56 years.


-Alan D Hopewell said...

From the time I started school until junior high, Pfaff's was a daily stop on my route to Boone Elementary; they sold great candy, really neat toys, and they loved kids.

I remember when they closed-they were giving stuff away, and I wound up with a gynormous roll of twine, along with a bag full of candy.

Jerry A. McCoy said...

Bless folks like this who devote their entire lives to serving the community. Looks like the entire block where their store was located has been wiped off the face of the Earth.