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Columns

January 27, 2014

Business changes, energy conservation made news in January 1974

(Continued)

Fuel and food aside, geese have much more to offer, Mrs. VanBenschoten claimed.

Geese make “excellent pets and watchdogs and they eat less expensively.”

If you planned to cut food bills by planting a garden, the goose could do the gardening.

“Geese are great weeders,” she said. “They like all the dandelions and thistles.”

Many businesses closed or relocated to warmer climates in the early 1970s due to the cost of heating their buildings. It likely had a role in the closing of Oneonta’s Family Bargain Center discount department store in the West End, in what is today’s Westgate Plaza. The entire chain of 43 stores, which included stores in Sidney and Norwich, had begun closing before Christmas in 1973. The only closing date given for Oneonta, announced on Jan. 7, was when all the merchandise was sold. The FBC store opened in 1966 after the shopping plaza was completed at the corner of Chestnut Street and Winney Hill Road.

One business decided to make a go of it, despite energy costs and with the completion of the Oneonta section of Interstate 88 growing near.

“The Lancaster Development Corporation will build a 24-lane bowling alley on land adjacent to the Holiday Inn sometime during 1974,” it was reported on Jan. 18. We know it today as Holiday Lanes. Lancaster also owned lanes in Cobleskill, Saratoga and Albany. Work soon began on removing hilly land on the site.

“Plans are also being discussed to build a Cinema II theatre at the same location, but there is no definite word on a possible construction date.” Those plans never came to be.

With warmer temperatures only a distant thought, Cooperstown businesses were looking forward to summer, especially Hall of Fame Induction Weekend for a big influx of tourists and busy cash registers. With likely the same enthusiasm received by business owners in recent weeks with the 2014 induction class, the 1974 class named on Jan. 16 by the Baseball Writers Association included Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford, longtime New York Yankee teammates.

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