Niagara Gazette — We left off at the Como and enjoyed every bite, but backing up a little to 2202 Pine Avenue we begin where Stephen Tavano operated the Avenue Drug Store. His brother Mario operated Brothers Pharmacy at 1102 Niagara St. Stephen and his wife Eleanor lived on 59th Street in LaSalle near Buffalo Avenue.
At 2208 was Sam Cristiano and Christy’s Lunch who shared the building with Everybody’s Market. Before 1956 this was Trabucco’s Electric Contractors and Anthony Trabuco operated the grocery. Louis and Mary lived here and Louis clerked in the grocery. LaVerne Davis sold sporting goods at 2212 Pine.
Next to the Como, at 2230 Pine, Morris Kranitz and John Daverne operated Market Auto Supply. Both lived in Buffalo and perhaps this was a branch of a larger operation there. Harry and Esther Davis were next door at Davis’ Dry Cleaners. At 2240 was James Maroon’s Venetian Blinds — but that’s not all. Jimmy as he was known also sold Kool-Vent Awnings, Challenger Stainless Steel Doors and Dup-Temp Aluminum Storm Windows. He was a well respected businessman on Pine Avenue for many years and his store eventually evolved into a home improvement business. More on Jimmie later.
James Chipolla lived at 2246 Pine, a residential unit. He sold cars at Joe Raymond’s Used Car’s at the corner of 20th and Pine. Melvin Bradley also lived here and was employed as a mechanic at Hutchins Esso Service Station at Pine and Porter Road. The owner was Parel Hutchins, a twin brother of Leason, who owned the Mobil Station and auto parts store at Packard and Military. His son is John Hutchins who currently owns and operates the Rapids Theatre on Main Street.
Crossing the intersection at 23rd Street was the Pet Land store selling birds and fish. June Grishman was the proprietor and she lived upstairs with her husband Curtis who worked at the Vanadium. Mary Franjoine sold children’s wear in her shop at 2303 Pine and her husband Albert had a barber shop further down the street at 2436 Pine. Another grocery operated by Anthony and Rose Valella was next at 2307 Pine.
Across the street at 2315 Pine was the Arco TV & Appliance Store and the residence of Salvatore and Lena Martino. Salvatore managed the HiWay Grocery at 8296 Pine. Next door at 2317 Pine was Sam Muraca Shoes. Sam lived at 1755 Rhode Island Ave. but Louis and Mary resided at the business address. Next to them at 2325 was another Muraca and the Frank Muraca Service Station. Frank and his wife Assunta lived on LaSalle Avenue in the 2400 block.
Across to the even side at 2304 was a popular confectionary store. Cesidio DiGregorio started this business and passed it on to family members who only recently sold it. A long-time family operation it became Mario’s and sold just about everything and anything. This was the place to buy your Lotto ticket as it seems they had a few big winners during their time. It is still known as Mario’s.
During 1956 and the time of my writings, 2316 was The Engel Weather Proof Co. selling awnings and Steve Arnone’s Barber Shop. He and his wife Augustine lived on 25th Street. But back in the 1940s it was Dicenzo & Company, an appliance store. I met Carolyn Spacone who told me about her father who operated this business. During the war years he was not able to purchase new stoves and refrigerators as all the metal was being used for the war effort. He had a waiting list and when the Gazette came out around 3:30 pm he would head to the newsroom to check out the want ads to see who may be selling one of these items. He then would rush to the seller, purchase it and bring it to his shop where Carolyn and her mother Amelia would clean the appliance and it would be delivered to his customer. Everyone accepted the idea that it was used as this was only one of many items that were scarce during these times and even some were rationed, which meant you were only allowed to buy a small amount to make sure everyone got their fair share.
The following is from An Emergency Statement to the People of the United States published by the U.S. War Production Board in the Des Moines Register on April 20, 1942:
The steel industry has been rapidly stepping up its production ... but we need to get production up to the industry’s full capacity of 90,000,000 tons - a total equal to the output of the rest of the world combined. This volume of production cannot be attained or increased unless an additional 6,000,000 tons of scrap iron and steel is obtained promptly. We are faced with the fact that some steel furnaces have been allowed to cool down and that many of them are operating from day to day and hand to mouth, due only to the lack of scrap ... We are collecting every possible pound from the factories, arsenals and shipyards; we are speeding up the flow of material from automobile graveyards; we are tearing up abandoned railroad tracks and bridges, but unless we dig out an additional 6,000,000 tons of steel and great quantities of rubber, copper, brass, zinc and tin, our boys may not get all the fighting weapons they need in time ... Even one old shovel will help make 4 hand grenades.
Stay tuned.Norma Higgs serves with the Niagara Beautification Commission and Niagara Falls Block Club Council.