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Schmits remember family market fondly PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, May 01, 2014 8:17 PM

BY NANCY SPENCER

Herald Editor

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DELPHOS — Wednesday and Thursday marked the end of a structure that provided a living for the Schmit family during The Great Depression and beyond.

The old Schmit’s Market at Second and Canal streets is now nothing more than a pit in the ground.

Alfred and Bob Schmit, the surviving brothers, who worked the store with their parents, Nicholas and Matilda “Tillie” Schmit, and brother, Jerome, watched as the building that housed their livelihood in earlier days come down.

“I knew that building had to come down,” Alfred said. “It was really past time for that to happen.”

The structure first housed a wholesale grocery owned by a Truax from the Spencerville area. He dealt in grocery items both wholesale and retail, getting his supplies and selling by using the Miami-Erie Canal, just steps away.

His daughter married Prine Welsh who quickly partnered with his father-in-law in the business in the 1870s. Welsh brought in Mike Schmit and Charles Rahrig. On April 29, 1904, Nicholas, Alfred, Jerome and Bob’s father, brought Welsh out and brought in Floyd Patton and Claude Alexander to form the Westside Grocery.

Nick died on May 27, 1935, leaving Tillie to raise three boys by herself during The Great Depression.

“The market was very good to us,” Bob said. “When dad died, there wasn’t anything like Social Security so it was a lifesaver.”

Alfred agrees.

Here the building is shown while under the Schmit name. (Canal Commission photo)“It was a good living for us,” he added. “When father died we just went on working in the store.”

In 1939, the Schmits became the sole proprietors. During World War II, Alfred and Jerome both spent time in the Army, Alfred in the European Theatre and Jerome in the Pacific.

“We both got out in January 1946 and went back to working in the store and we had other endeavors as well,” Alfred said.

The market was closed in 1981 and the building sold. It would become Jeanne’s Dance Studio. Due to structural issues, the building had been vacant for some time.

 

 

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