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Grocery Stores of My Youth

Betty Garner

Emmitsburg was the hub of the area but its commerce was not restricted to the corporate limits. For example GROCERY STORES: there were: 

In the surrounding countryside were : 

  • Roddy Store (at St Anthony's - the building is no longer there. ) The John M Roddy family lived above the store. 
  • Seiss or at times referred to as Shaffer's Store (located on St. Anthony Road which at that time was US 15 below Kelbaugh Road.) 
  • Saylor's Store (located at Motter's Station.)

All these Stores existed at the same time and afforded a nice living for the families. 

The way you shopped then was to take your list to the store and give it to the Clerk at the counter who would gather the items, tally the total and pack your groceries into a box or bags. You paid cash or if you had an account at the store you charged it and paid when ever!

Back then you could even call in your order and have it filled and delivered to your home. You didn't even have to go to the store for milk or bread as both milk and bread companies had home routes. Even for a while Mr. Bob Gillelan, who had one of several Butcher Shops in Emmitsburg, sent a truck around driven by Joe Eyler selling Meat from door to door. I think it was to particular customers. He called regularly to our house. When Mr. Eyler arrived he would lower the tail gate of his truck, pull up his scales and cut us the piece of meat Mother wanted, wrap it in white paper, collect his money, rearrange his truck and move on.

Speaking of Butcher Shops - beside Bob Gillelan's the other two main Butcher shops were Dory Bollinger's and Roy Bollinger's. They all thrived, and we liked to patronize each.

When Harner's Store closed it was sold to ACME which brought in our first "Super Market". Merchandise was arranged in isles on shelves. You gathered your own groceries and took them thru the check out where they were tallied, packed, you paid and were on your way. ACME did not deliver. Though most of the personnel were local it just wasn't the same.

When Boyles Store opened it was semi-super market style but it was the friendly local atmosphere where friends and neighbors did their dealing. I think Boyles also offered charging to some customers and I believe they also delivered. They had an extensive meat department and even offered freezer space to customers.

After Frailey's Store closed, Joe Welty opened his Grocery store. Laurence Orndorff opened his store after Rowe's store closed, each in the former locations. I don't remember when they closed. There may also have been other stores of which I am not familiar. However I do know that my Grandfather, Edward J. Fitzgerald operated a store at Motter's Station just after the turn of the century.

Remember, these are remembrances and they are subject to "Senior Incidents" so those who know may want to set the story straight. It would be nice to hear from some who worked in these stores and embellish what it was really like in those days.

Have your own memories of Emmitsburg grocery store's?  
If so, send them to us at history@emmitsburg.net

Read Don Rodgers Reflections of Emmitsburg Grocery Stores of Old

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