The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

Local News

November 3, 2013

Grocery stores provided jobs, delicacies

(Continued)

Smith said Jones had a full line of groceries.

“He cut meat to order for his customers, and it was fun to see him grind hamburger or cut the exact number of pork chops,” she said.

“When his customers paid their bills on Saturday, he always gave them a sack of candy from the huge variety he carried in a big case near the door,” she recalled. “In our sack, he always included two big Hershey bars — one for me and one for my little sister.

“During the war years, he would sometimes get an item that was scarce, such as canned pineapple or butter,” she said. “He always made sure we got some of anything special.”

Germantown memories

In 1948, Smith’s family moved to Germantown and lived on Norman Street.

“At that time there was a Grab-It-Here store on the northeast corner of Fairchild and Martin streets, just at the entrance to the subway,” she said. “Soon after we moved there, it became a Kroger store.”

According to Smith, Germantown was bustling with a number of businesses: Jones Drugstore, which had a soda fountain and sold about 25 varieties of ice cream; two taverns; and a tiny grocery store north of the firehouse on the east side of Bowman Avenue where a woman named Elsie would sell the “most delicious” cinnamon rolls.

“The C&EI railroad station was still up and operating at that time and was a very busy place,” she recalled. “There was a lunchroom inside the station, and they served very good food.”

Smith said she was fortunate to have “lived in two great neighborhoods when I was growing up.”

“Our old homes are no longer standing, and the neighborhoods are not the same,” she said. “They are just a wonderful memory.”

Carol Roehm is the education reporter. Contact her at 477-5174 or by e-mail at croehm@dancomnews.com

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