Backtracking: In Our Times: Soap, microbreweries and baseball were among local economy stories in 1995

FIleA Great American patron is seen leaving the Southside Mall store on Wednesday, July 19, 1995.

A common theme for the local business outlook during the summer of 1995 was that of hello and goodbye, as well as what if.

PUTTING OUT THE WELCOME MAT

New local products were placed on the market near and far that month. At Todd Pink’s home, he called the place “Soap Central,” according to the June 19 edition of The Daily Star. Racks and trays of soap could be seen just about everywhere.

“Pink is the man behind Soap Rocks. Four years after he first got the idea of making soap that looks like stones, his home business has outgrown the confines of his kitchen and is trembling on the brink of a national expansion.” Pink was preparing sketches for his planned production facility at that time. Today, T.S. Pink Corp. is found in the Pony Farm Industrial Park.

Microbreweries were catching on locally that year. The Star of June 23 told of how two new breweries were ready to open.

“The Drytown Brewery, located in the new industrial park in the old Delaware and Hudson rail yard, hopes to have bottles of its first beer, Susquehanna Gold, rolling off the production line by the middle of next month.” At the same time, Milford was the place where, “The old white creamery building on River Street near the railroad tracks, is the future home of the Cooperstown Brewing Company. Soon the wainscoted tap room will be filled with kegs and glasses, the mill room will be churning up the imported barley and hops, the mash tub will be sloshing with a brew in the first stages of birth and the open barrel fermenters in the mezzanine will be bubbling with batches of Old Slugger Pale Ale, the flagship of the CBC brew-crop.”

Not far north of Milford, The Star of July 18 reported from Hartwick Seminary how, “Budding baseball stars from throughout the United States may soon be flocking to Cooperstown during the summer. Louis Presutti Jr. of North Carolina and his son, Louis III, of Rochester have presented plans to the Hartwick Planning Board for the camp, which will sit on a 105-acre lot along the east side of Route 28 near Reiss Moving & Storage.” The camp was ready in time for the 1996 season.

Finally as anticipated, The Star of July 12 reported, “Price signs are going up and memberships are being sold at BJ’s Wholesale Club, which opens Sunday, officials at the Southside Oneonta store said.”

THE WHAT-IF FOR SHARON SPRINGS

Once a popular late 19th and early 20th century resort town, The Star reported on July 11, “The Village of Sharon Springs is looking for 20/20 vision.”

Dawne Belloise was spearheading a master plan for the village’s future to attract new business, retain the rural beauty of the area and make the village attractive to artists and tourists.

Twenty-five years later, significant progress has been made to revitalize the village.

A FEW FAREWELLS TO NOTE

“With a simple handshake and a gentlemanly deal negotiated over coffee Tuesday, a 20-year-old, family-owned Oneonta convenience store chain changed hands,” Star readers learned on July 12.

“Bouton’s Fast Stop owner Gerald Bouton said…he has agreed to sell his three convenience stores to Mirabito Fuel Group, a Sidney-based fuel distributor that also owns 38 Quickway convenience stores.”

Meanwhile at the Southside Mall, The Star reported on July 20, “Competition on Southside Oneonta has forced Great American to close its doors for the last time Saturday.” Great American had been the only supermarket in that area of town but had suddenly faced new competition from Shop ‘n Save (today’s Hannaford) and would have had to compete with the Walmart Supercenter, to open soon.

Finally, as reported in The Star of July 21, “Three Chestnut Street buildings are coming down as crews start clearing lots for a new Rite Aid Store. Soon gone were 398, 400 and 402 Chestnut St., near the corner of Murdock Avenue. Plans for the new Rite Aid called for an opening in about three months.

This weekend: a local war within a war in July 1945.

Oneonta City Historian Mark Simonson’s column appears twice weekly. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area before 1950. His Tuesday columns address local history 1950 and later. If you have feedback or ideas about the column, write to him at The Daily Star, or email him at simmark@stny.rr.com. His website is www.oneontahistorian.com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/opinion/columns/.

Ask Mark... 

Have you ever had a question about a history-making event or a prominent person in our area and didn't know where to find the answer? Well, we've got an expert who might be able to help you. Historian Mark Simonson has spent many years chronicling major local happenings, and he's ready and willing to dive into The Daily Star archives for answers, which will appear in this newspaper and online at www.thedailystar.com.

Write to him at "Ask Mark," The Daily Star, 102 Chestnut St., Oneonta, NY 13820 or email him at simmark@stny.rr.com

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