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More Memories Of Grocery And Provisions Markets From Days Gone By In Easton

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It was nice and heartening that the column I wrote – the one titled, that was published on Easton Patch last Thursday – stirred a happy foment of nostalgia and commentary about those days gone by. 

And, here, let me explain a bit.   When one of my “Muscato’s Musings” columns posts on Patch, usually within 24 hours of the column being published, I post a link to the column on my Facebook page.

Now, you know, among my Facebook friends there is a coterie of hard core Eastonians.   Some of the Tribe of Easton still live here in town, others live outside of Easton, but close by – and there are others who live far away in the U.S., as far away as California.

Then again, one of my Facebook friends whose hometown is Easton is Marti (Barg) Winston.  Marti has lived in Israel since 1985, right after she graduated from Clark University. 

Anyway, as can be expected – following the "Family Markets" column and my linking to it on Facebook – the comments and memories started coming forth.  

(I value highly the comments posted in the "comments" section following my columns, those posted on Facebook, and those posted anywhere else.)

Bob Carpenter (, Class of 1957), a retired pharmacist – whose professional stints included Zarella’s Pharmacy on Main Street and Sedell’s Pharmacy at Washington Plaza – posted on my Facebook page about the markets of his youth in South Easton, including Kimball’s. 

Kimball’s was before my time.  As Bob informed me, the store was located, as you headed west on Depot Street, on the right, and just before you got to Fernandes Lumber, which opened in 1958.

(By the way, I have a story planned on – now Fernandes Lumber & Home Center – and its almost 55 years in business.)

The proprietor of Kimball’s was “Ma” Kimball.   The store had a single gas pump out front, and Ma Kimball sold groceries and home goods and penny candy. 

A little aside here, a few years ago, while working on a business project, I had occasion to talk online with Rick Kimball, a major venture capital power player in Silicon Valley. 

Mr. Kimball mentioned to me that he has family roots in Easton, and that in his office in Palo Alto, CA, he has a sign from a store in family ran in town.  I need to check and confirm, but this may be the same store that was on named Kimball's and was on Depot Street. 

Okay, all you townies – and here I need to give a call out again to Bob Carpenter for recalling this – how many of you remember a cleaners business on Spooner Street? 

Again, this predates me a bit, but the cleaners was there.  Circa late 1950s and into the ‘60s?   As Bob informed us the owner of the cleaners was a Don Bellows, who also drove a school bus in Easton.

Now, Bill McAndrews (OA ’80), a native of Spooner Street – and one of the big McAndrews brood – did not remember the cleaners.   So he contacted his mother, Theresa, who has lived on Spooner for 80 years, and she said, yes, Don Bellows did operate a cleaners on the street; he ran it out of his garage – and he did also drive the school bus. 

Bill added this info the Facebook thread. 

Of course, there were memories on Facebook about Nana’s Place which was a candy store and “joke” and gag shop on Main Street, just west of the intersection of Main and Mechanic Street.

Nana’s was open from the early to mid-1970s.

Ah, wait, a lot of “looking back” at the stores on Main Street was dealt with in this column I wrote that was published on Easton Patch back in February. 

Abbott’s Pharmacy?   That was located in a building, no longer there, but it used to be right around where now is at the intersection of Central Street and Washington Street/Rte. 138. 

Alyson (Sousa) Larrabee – an OA grad and English teacher in the Easton school system – had a good call:  Trader Don’s, an antiques and knick-knack store on the corner of Poquanticut Avenue and Foundry Street/Rte. 123/Rte. 106. 

You know, and this was a big omission by me – actually, the Fernandes Supermarket in Easton, the one where Washington Plaza is now, was a family market. 

Yet, of course, that Fernandes Market was no small family market.  It was one of the chain of 37 Fernandes Supermarkets that Norton resident and Portuguese immigrant, Joe Fernandes, launched in 1947, not long after his service as a combat lieutenant in World War II.

Fernandes actually started the chain when he took over his family’s grocery store. 

Fernandes Supermarket in Easton was cool.  It had a food counter where you sit down and have lunch, and supper for that matter. 

When we were living on Andrews Street, depending on the day, my mother might either walk to Harvey’s Market (on the corner of Mechanic St. and Main St.) to pick up groceries and then back home – or take the further walking trek to Fernandes and home again. 

My mother, who is now 83 and living out near my sister in Evanston, IL, has long been a proponent of walking – and "fresh air and sunshine."

Lots of fun memories – this looking back to food and provisions shopping from days of yore in the Shovel Town. 

Elaine Dahlgren May 07, 2012 at 06:45 PM
I truly miss my dear friend, Rita Muscato!! Great lady!!
Lisa Downey May 08, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Ross, Bellows definitley ran a dry cleaning business out of the garage and a shed that also sat on the property. Some of the equipment was left behind and took us awhile to figure out what it was used for. Mr. Heath, who lived across the street informed us of the history. My parents bought the house from Bellows back in the 70's. Lisa Urciuoli Downey
Sinclair May 10, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Joe Fernandes parents immigrated to the U.S. Joe went to B.U. on the G.I. Bill. (another GI Bill sucess story). Don Bellow's son Dick was a fine athlete at OA.
Paula F. July 06, 2012 at 12:40 AM
I worked at Fernandes Supermarket food counter in the early 70s, while in high school at OAHS. It was called the snack bar, and we served breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We did it all - cook and serve food, make lots of coffee, frappes and milk shakes; remove dishes from the counter, wash them in the tiny dishwasher, and put them away; make change because the cash register didn't tell you how much to give back; and the girls had to wear pink dress/uniforms and don't forget the hair net! I think I made under $2 an hour, plus tips.

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