Little did I expect that last week’s column on Burlington Realty celebrating its 60th anniversary and being one of the oldest businesses in Riverside would spark as much conversation as it did. It tells me that people read the column and they found it interesting and set them thinking.
My first response came on the day the paper came out through an e-mail sent by Dave Moravecek of Ivins Funeral Home, who stated the funeral home could lay claim to being the oldest business in town.
He mentioned it had been in a few other locations before its present site on Burlington. Because this subject is turning into a research paper, I have yet to verify any of the information from Moravecek or searched the archives yet.
A conversation then took place with Sarah Lossin Nielsen, who worked at Pringle’s Florists which, until the death of Jack Simpson, was the oldest business in town. It was owned by the Pringles and then by the Simpsons, but in an agreement the florist shop would have to maintain the Pringle name until the Simpsons no longer owned the business. Hence after his death, the family sold to Vacha Florists and it dropped the Pringle name.
Continuing our conversation we brought up Strohecker Insurance on Burlington and Riverside Plumbing as possibilities in the “we’ve been in business here for a long time” category, taking into account that some business, while here for a long period of time, have not always been in the same location and are still family-owned with another generation at the helm.
There was a time when Burlington Street was an active business district where one could shop for a variety of things. We also remembered that children were welcome in the stores but were expected to speak respectfully and use “inside voices” or the proprietor would not hesitate to tell you to behave. Nor would they hesitate to call your mother, because everybody knew who belonged to whom.
So with the help of Sarah we will continue our quest and talk to some of those people who might know some of the facts. Be assured, when I know which truly is the oldest business in Riverside, you will be among the first to know.
Oops! Last week when mentioning employees at Burlington Realty, I was reminded that I omitted Pat Jicha, who has been a longstanding, hard-working member of the Burlington staff. Joining the staff are the “young’uns,” Amy Regan and Andy Daun.