H&R’S: Our Corner Grocery Store

Long before the existence of EJ Korvette, K-Mart and Walmart, my favorite shopping place growing up was the small corner store a half block from our house. This store was located on the southwest corner of Brush St. and Candler. H&R’S was named after the joint owners of the store, Harold and Rupe (A Norwegian name). Harold was of normal weight with salt and pepper colored hair. Rupe was a bit overweight and was balding with grey hair. Both of these men worked hard to service the various needs of our community.

H&R’S was a very small store; yet to my young eyes, it seemed to have everything a kid ever wanted. The store was divided into two parts. The front part had what a normal corner store would have. The second part was like a poor man’s five and ten store. The store building is no longer standing, but the last time I saw the building, I thought: “How could Harold and Rupe have so much merchandise in such a small building?”

Let’s go back fifty years pay a visit to H&R’S.  My trips to H&R’S would often begin with my mother sending me down to the store for an item or two. Often it would be a loaf of Silvercup Bread or maybe a half-gallon of milk. Other times, I would head out to H&R’S to buy something that I wanted. The trip to the store would take a couple of minutes. Mom would always remind to be careful crossing Brush street. I don’t remember any close calls, but you know how moms are.

Whenever I entered H&R’S, I saw clutter; yet it was organized clutter.  After entering the door to the right were two very important sections. There was a revolving rack with comic books and beyond this rack was a rack filled with magazines. I knew the day the new comics would arrive, and I would buy the next installment of Superman, Batman, Spiderman, Fantastic Four, and many other titles. The comics were twelve cents a copy.   I would read the comics and then rate them in a small notebook as to my favorite story for the week.

As for the magazine stand, the only magazines that held my interest would be sport magazines, and the Popular Mechanics edition that would show the new car models for the year. Back in my day, the models would change every year. I couldn’t wait to see what they looked like.

On the wall to my right as I entered was the grocery section. This section seemed to have any can goods and food items that one might need in an emergency. Towards the end of the shelf was the bread section featuring our favorite bread, Silvercup.

Once I entered the store straight in front of me were the newspapers.  Not only did they stock the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press, but also the National Enquirer and other such papers.  I still remember the headline staring at me one day from the National Enquirer which said in bold letters: “Toothpaste Causes Cancer!” Wow, I knew about cigarettes, but what could I do?  I didn’t want to live the rest of my life with teeth that were never brushed.

After walking a few paces inside the store, there was a glass cabinet which was filled with penny candy. The candy could only be reached by a clerk which was normally either Harold or Rupe. There were all sorts of treasures in that cabinet. My favorites were the jawbreakers and the Bazooka bubblegum.  I also enjoyed the root beer barrels.  I always had a great feeling leaving the store with a bag filled with my favorite candy.

After the glass cabinet was the counter.  The counter was the place where we would ask for ice cream, popsicles, pop or anything else that was behind the counter. The counter also had the most important commodity in the store: baseball and football cards!  One year, my mom, gave me a dollar for going to Vacation Bible School, I remember blowing the dollar on twenty packs of baseball cards. I didn’t care much for the gum, but the cards were a great treasure.

Going to the back section of H&R’S would make a great museum room today. My mom would buy patches for my pants there. I also remember her buying me suspenders as well.  Also, if there was a birthday party, Mom would send me down to H&R’S and find a gift. As I grew older, I would also find that H&R’S always stocked rubber baseballs for twenty-five cents.  These were always needed to play strikeout off of our neighbor’s garage.

Also, at the back of H&R’s was a small opening with bars.  I became acquainted with this spot when I made a very expensive purchase of buying a game called Strat-O-Matic Baseball by mail. I needed a money order to pay for this game. Harold wrote up a money order for the fee of ten cents behind the opening and I would soon enjoy my new game which came by mail.

There are some other memories about H&R’S. Every Halloween, I would make sure I went to H&R’S first. They would give every child a ten-cent bag of New Era Potato Chips. This would be the best treat in my bag after a long night of trick or treating.

There were many other things that I would buy at H&R’S.  For a treat, I would ask at the counter for a small bottle of Hires Root Beer. Also, my favorite popsicle was the Seven-Up flavored popsicle that sold for five cents. When Dad wanted to make homemade bubbles, he would have me go to H&R’S and buy a corncob pipe to use to blow the bubbles he made.

Like everything else, I didn’t really appreciate the convenience of having a store like H&R’S a short walk from home. I am sure that Harold and Rupe didn’t get rich with their little store, but they provided a very important service to our neighborhood. Now, many stores like H&R’S no longer exist; however, I am glad for the many happy moments that I had with my many visits to H&R’S!

P.S. Please visit my other blog where I write about spiritual matters such as: “God’s Waiting Room” “Does Jesus Care?” “Do not Fear God’s Plan, Embrace it.” The address is: http://www.markjemilbooth.com

27 thoughts on “H&R’S: Our Corner Grocery Store

  1. Mark, this was a wonderful story on H&R thanks for writing. would you do me a favor, my best friend Dale Baur lived on the corner of Candler and Brush, facing directly in front of H&R. He is not on Facebook, and i would like to send him a copy.. please send it to bdbaur@yahoo.com

    thanks, jack daghlian

  2. Thanks for another great article! They always bring back many wonderful memories of growing up in HP. Our neighborhood store was also on Brush, I think between Farrand Park and Buena Vista? I don’t remember the name. It was small and dark and reminded me of a cave. Mom almost always sent us to the supermarket at Woodward & Glendale. It had three different names while I lived in HP: Tony’s, then Tom’s, then Ivanhoe Market.

    • Sounds like it may have been Toofee’s. we stopped there on the way home from Barber school almost daily. Owner were Syrian, cousins went to school with many of us in the 60s.

    • Yes, I remember the store on Glendale, but we would go to the supermarket nearest our house on six mile off of Brush. Those corner stores were nice to have because we always could walk there to get what we wanted. Kids today normally can’t do that. I think of the long hours the owners put into their stores. I doubt if any of them ever got rich.

    • I lived at 201 Winona. I remember the store on Brush. I went to Barber School. Wonderful memories and super education. Love reading memories you all are sharing. I have a few of my own.

  3. Another great Blog Mark We had a corner store also on Hamilton it sat bet, Pasadena and Ford I still love root beer barrels I almost always have then on hand.

  4. Great description of so many things that I had forgotten. I also remember being sent up to Jacksons and Izzies (unable to find the apostrophes on this Spanish keyboard) and getting haircuts at the corner barber shop.

  5. I found an old picture that appears to probably have been a 3rd or 4th grade choir photo frm Midland, would you be interested in posting it somewhere. I sure wish someone would post some class photos

    • Hello Al,
      I think you are the first person that I know that has a photo related to Midland school. I remember having my friends small school photos in a book that we were given, but this has been lost. What year is the photo?

      • I grew up on Candler across the street from H&R’s and Izzy’s. Used to get my haircut at the barber near Izzy’s all the time. I was there when H&R’s finally sold out after years of being there. Back when we could go to Ford Park and play shuffle board or craft little project, maybe warm up with a little hot chocolate when skating in the winter. I went to Midland, Ford and HP High schools. Nice memories and great friends have followed me from Highland Park.

  6. Hi Mark, Thank you for bringing back old memories. I lived on Ferris St, across from the Boys Club. In 1967 – 68 I worked at H&R’s for Harold and Rupe. I was paid $1.25/hr. The customers receipt was written on their bag in pencil and they also had a very old manual cash register. I have a lot of fond memories of that store, as well as Izzie’s across the street. I am pretty sure I remember you and your family on Candler. Those were the days.

    John McEntee

      • I lived on Ferris between Woodward and John R. Second house past the American Supply Co. I am 58 yrs old. I lived in HP until 1980. I went to Midland in 5th grade and went to Saint Ben’s 6, 7, and 8th. I have a lot of fond memories from that neighborhood. Thanks again for your posts.

      • Yes, I know exactly where you lived. Wasn’t there an empty lot after the American Supply Company. Of course, Ford Park was where I went almost every day during the summer.

  7. Loved your blog. My Grandparents (McLellan Family) lived on Candler Street, where my Mother grew up and attended St Benedict’s. I have fond memories, as a child, walking a few doors down to H & R for penny candy and ice creams cones.

  8. I lived at 149 Candler Street. I believe from 1966-1969. I remember the store on the corner. I lived on the opposite side of the road but was about 4-5 houses up from it. I used to buy my comic books there for 12c. My best friend was a little girl, Lynne Johnson, who went missing and was found drowned at the Highland Park Reservoir where both our fathers worked. I wish I knew what happened to the rest of her family. We moved to Tennessee when I turned 10. I wish I had more pictures of our home, our street and my school. Thank you for the memory. I would have never remembered the name of that little corner store…

    • I forgot to add that we had a garage in back beside a gate to the ally but I seem to remember there was a “factory building” beside our garage that seemed to be in the back yard of our neighbors. Does anyone know the history of that factory building? I remember climbing some blocks to look inside some of the cracked or broken out windows.

  9. Omgoodness. Such great memories. I lived st 152 candler. Just 3 doors down from H&R. I also remember going to Ford Park and picking up empty soda bottles and taking them there to buy any candy Harold was always so nice. And he would joke around with us. I also remember Ford Park in the winter time when they would freeze it over and we would have a huge skating rink. And when we got too cold we could go inside the concession building and get hot cocoa and sit by the fireplace

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