Ask Joan: Back to college edition

This week marked my first of two sessions teaching a course through Penn State York’s OLLI program. OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, is a series of courses taught primarily to older adults (retirees, mostly) who want to continue discovering new topics. It’s a neat program at which several of the Daily Record’s editors have presented.

I’m speaking this week and next on “What makes York County special: An A-to-Z look.” So far it’s been incredibly fun, though we only made it up to the letter H! Have to talk faster next week, I guess!

It was interesting to be on a college campus again… haven’t spent too much time on campuses since I graduated from York College in 2002.

What’s inside
1. Was grocery store Food Fair?
2. Why did Ruby Tuesday close?
3. History of Grantley Road businesses

1. What was the grocery store that was located in the York County Shopping Center, maybe late 60’s early 70’s? It was on the side where Red Lobster is now.
– Todd Diehl

My first guess for Todd was, was that Food Fair? They had a few locations in the York area, which I’ve blogged about a couple times, but Jim McClure had written about that one in particular on his York Town Square blog back in this 2008 post.

Todd said, though, “The store I’m thinking of might have been after Food Fair. A friend of mine worked for this chain while she was in school. She graduated in 1972. She couldn’t recall the name except for that it was a chain out of Baltimore. I don’t think it was there very long. I thought maybe you could ask in your column if anyone remembers the name.”

So, maybe there was a name change after Food Fair? Any ideas?

2. Joan, why did the Ruby Tuesdays at York Galleria Mall close?
– Rick

Unfortunately, the store’s closure in 2008 was kind of a non-event, but I was able to find the following from our archives, by business reporter Sean Adkins as part of a larger column:

Hailing from Long Island, N.Y., I’m used to malls with multiple chain restaurants and retailers staffed with workers no older than 21. So, I was a bit surprised when I arrived in York County to find that the York Galleria had only one non fast-food chain restaurant, in the form of Ruby Tuesday. Now, it seems, the mall has lost its sole major restaurant anchor. On April 20, Ruby Tuesday opted not to renew its lease and closed its restaurant at the mall, said Sandi Stablein, a restaurant spokeswoman. “We close a handful of locations across the country each year,” she said. “Most are because of lease expirations.” Efforts to reach a mall official on Friday were unsuccessful. Stablein said she didn’t know how many people worked at the restaurant before it closed, but the company’s West Manchester Township location employs about 100 workers.

So, Rick, now you know what I know, courtesy of Sean!

3. (I know that) York Narrow Fabrics on Grantley Road was sold to York College for dorm rooms. Was this company sold to another or did it go out of business. Also on Grantley Road, Coastal Tank Lines is no longer there. Did it go out of business or was it sold to another?
– Marion Trimmer

This July 2011 photo by Kate Penn shows concrete finishers Jason Wenrich, left, and Kent Colyer working to create a level sidewalk in front of the new York College dorm Northside Commons, off Grantley Road.

Since, as I mentioned above, I’m a York College grad, I’m very interested in all the development that’s gone on around the campus since I left. (You can see the full, current campus map here, and let me tell you it’s greatly expanded in the past 10 years! There’s also a gallery of pictures of the Northside Commons construction here.)

The interesting part of Marion’s question, though, was about the former businesses in the areas near where York College is developing: York Narrow Fabrics and Coastal Tank Lines. For the most part, these businesses exist in our newspaper’s digitized archives as passing mentions in obituaries, listing companies for which people had worked. Coastal Tank Lines, apparently, used to be the nation’s tank truck carrier, back in the 1940s, but very little is found about it in the past 50 years or more!

So I turn to you, readers – any details about the history of York Narrow Fabrics and Coastal Tank Lines; dates when they either went out of business or were perhaps sold and merged, if that’s the case? Would love to know more!

Got any questions? Ask Joan using the form at right. I’ll attempt to answer them in a future “Ask Joan” column on this blog. I get a large volume, but I will feature three each week and answer as many as possible!

About Joan

My name is Joan and I'm a lifelong Yorker. Throughout high school and college, I swore I was getting out of here as soon as possible. Now, a few years later, I can't think of anywhere I'd rather be. I love my town, and I hear every day from readers who love their towns, too. So please, connect with me and let's share what makes life in York County great. I'm here to help you enjoy this place as much as I do!
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8 Responses to Ask Joan: Back to college edition

  1. John Loeper says:

    I am pretty sure that grocery store at the York County Shopping center was a Food Fair. there was another grocery store at the other end of the center. It was either an Acme or an A&P. Food Fair stores later became Pantry Pride .

    • Jim Fahringer says:

      Thank you for enlightening us on this supermarket. Indeed I now remember the grocery store at the southeast corner of the York County Shopping Center where the Red Lobster Restaurant is today was a Food Fair and I think it did become a Pantry Pride. I remember the Acme store well, which stood in the very northwest corner of the York County Shopping Center. It was an Acme store for quite a while. It, too, may have become another supermarket after the Acme store closed or moved. I think there was another brand name supermarket in there after the Acme left but I can’t remember the name. I often remembered going shopping there on a Friday night (it seemed that many families did their grocery shopping on Friday evenings in those days — I guess because our parents just got paid). I would shop with my mom for what seemed like hours. When we would exit, my mom always bought my sisters and me a candy bar or two to make up for the long shopping ordeal. We would then go home and I would watch the Friday Nights Fight (boxing) with my father and enjoy some of the snack food we just bought at the Acme Supermarket.

  2. Fred Adams says:

    The Food Fair grocery stores became Pantry Pride.I remember them well because my dad worked there as the Produce manager.
    They had 2 locations in York and 1 in Columbia.They also owned the JM Fields store. I can remember going to work with him and eating fruit out of the cooler. The store at the York Co. Shopping Center was where the Red Lobster is now. There was an ACME store on the opposite corner, that later became Roger’s Toys, great toy store.

  3. Stephen H. Smith says:

    I agree that the grocery store where the Red Lobster Restaurant is today was a Pantry Pride in 1972. This grocery store began as a Food Fair when the York County Shopping Center opened. I was in Food Fair from a young age because this is where my Mom did her grocery shopping. In 1972 I had just graduated from college, but still frequently shopped at this shopping center. A few of the other 1972 stores in this east side section of the York County Shopping Center included: Shelly Jewelers, Spiegel Catalog Center, Jack Horner Shoes, W. T. Grant, Feller’s clothing store, Riddles’ Appliance, East York Bowling Center, Chalfant’s Barber Shop, and the Embers Restaurant on the lower level next to the circular fountain. I also agree that the grocery store on the west corner of the north side section of the shopping center was originally an Acme Markets, however by 1972 it had become the new and expanded location for Rogers Toys. Rogers Toys was originally in a much smaller store located near the Food Fair. After the move, Rogers Toys was almost like a forerunner of Toys“R”Us, a toy store in a grocery store atmosphere. A few of the other stores in this lower section of the York County Shopping Center included: Joe The Motorists Friend (right next to the Acme), Watson’s Stationery & Gift Shop, Bookland, McCroy’s and a Rea & Derick Drug Store (which included a nice soda fountain) at the corner where the sidewalk extended down to the circular fountain.

    • Jim Fahringer says:

      Thanks for remembering most of the stores in the York County Shopping Center. Before the demise of the original York County Shopping Center there were some other transitions when one store closed and another opened. If my memory serves me correctly there was a Crane’s Menswear Store in the Eastern part of the Shopping Center. At one time there was a J.S. Raub or similar shoe store in the northern part of the shopping center. After the Food Fair and Pantry Pride Supermarkets closed in the southeastern corner of the Shopping Center there was an Italian Restaurant there in the late 1960’s to the 1970’s. I believe it started with an “L” and may have been called “Liborios”. I remember eating there and enjoying that delicious Italian ice cream with a hard outer shell called “Spamoni” (Sp?) on one of my first real dates in 1970. I believe a Menchey’s Music Store also later moved into the Eastern part of the shopping center. It is really fun remembering these wonderful stores in what I believe, was York’s first “Shopping Center”. An interesting side note about the shopping center–Being a night hawk, I used to window shop after dark. I especially liked looking at the men’s clothing and shoes when no one else was around. I would often return the next day and know exactly what pair of shoes I wanted to buy and what clothing I wanted to buy. I remember one night being stopped by a Springettsbury Township policeman while window shopping. He questioned me and wanted to know what I was doing. On another night after picking up my girlfriend around midnight from the York Hospital, we had another interesting incident. After eating at the restaurant called Elby’s Big Boy Restaurant just beyond the northwest corner of the shopping center, we took a walk around the York County Shopping Center. Close to where the McCrory’s Store was, we discovered this beautiful exotic/tropical bird. We were able to corner it in the storefront entrance and take it home and eventually gave it to a bird loving neighbor. I also used to to work at the Mason and Dixon Trucking Lines Company which was located between the York County Shopping Center and the New Eastern Market along Memory Lane. I loaded and unloaded freight from tractor trailers and was able to pay my college tuition.

  4. Mike Teixeira says:

    At the Red Lobster location was a food store. We shopped there for quite a while when my wife and I moved to York County March 1979. It was a Warehouse Food Market. Later, I moved to South Queen street

  5. Stephen H. Smith says:

    Even though the sign York Narrow Fabrics still remains under the distinct green tile roof, the building is now the site of Kinsley Engineering Center on the York College campus. When I worked for York International (by far, the largest business along Grantley Road), I took many lunchtime walks. I remember walking by York Narrow Fabrics and hearing the distinct sound of the looms from within the building. The sign still includes a faded “York Tape 1927.” Many years ago I happened upon a description of the company in a 1957 publication by the York Chamber of Commerce. I was amazed to learn that in addition to an assortment of woven cotton tapes and bindings . . . “York Narrow Fabrics produces all of the Government’s “Red Tape” – a narrow linen finished tape dyed red used by various Governmental agencies. In 1955, over 500 miles worth of Government red tape was employed to bind legal documents by our Federal Government.”

  6. Betsy Baird says:

    I just remembered a major business on Grantley Rd: Weaver’s Meat Market, where, the pizza place now stands (if it is still that). They had some of the best
    meat you could find. They and Sechrist’s Colonial Food Market on S. George St. If you were looking for a really good cut of fresh meat, you headed to one
    on those two stores. Plus they had foods of other good quality. People from
    Wyndham Hills and Farquhar Estates frequented both places.

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