Remember when there were no vacant stores in our area? I write not just about Carson’s and Toys R Us, but all those little stores that meant so much to the community, where people could get a variety of items. Here are some, which many of you may not know about or remember, that have come and gone.

We had a dime store in Riverside where everything was not a dime but reasonably priced. It was located on Burlington along with lots of other small businesses, including a women’s hat shop and a ladies boutique.

The boutique carried lovely clothes, but only one of each design so the ladies would not find themselves showing up at an event with the same item on. Unfortunately the owner retired, and I was always sorry she did not sell the business, because it was doing well. 

I loved the bakery where The Chew Chew is now located. At 3 a.m. there was a baker in the back of the store baking those delicious sweet rolls for the early morning crowd.  

There was always a grocery store of some kind. The electric store, as we called it, sold appliances. It then became a gift shop and now it is Riverside Bank. 

Macramé is back, so maybe we will have another macramé store in town. Yes, there was one and I can’t tell you how many family members received plant hangars half-hitched with love. They also carried jewelry and other items that today may be referred to as BoHo style.

The Art Stop, which sold framed art and also would frame art for you, left Riverside for LaGrange and now is closed due to retirement. The Arcade Building housed Uncle Frankie’s Donuts, which replaced the Tobacco Store, a popular spot with commuters.

On Quincy Street there was a furrier, at a time when it was fashionable to wear fur. It was also nice to have the shoemaker in town and a hardware store. 

How many trips to Bednarz Ace Hardware on East Burlington did people make on the weekend? It was convenient and they knew their stock — that included the knowledgeable Mrs. Bednarz and her mother, Jennie Doman, who always had a quip. Both ladies were always very dressed as if they were going somewhere special. I also miss the drug stores — two downtown and one on Harlem Avenue.

My point is we need to search out some of those homespun businesses and fill those vacant store fronts and not just with more service oriented businesses. I mean no offense to anyone, but I like to shop locally. 

We have choices for good eating, Riverside Foods, unique shops such as Higgins Glass and Aunt Diana’s, but let’s get more. Wouldn’t it be nice if people from the city could hop on the Burlington and come to Riverside to spend the day?

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