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The Parke Shoppe, Lake Street, Hamburg 1965

The building still stands today at 50 Lake St. in the Village of Hamburg and according to signs in the front window it now houses two new tenants, Falcon’s Eye Holdings and Burnett Freight. However from 1927 to 1969 it was home to The Parke Shoppe. The former Elise Corah and her husband Sylvester Demmerley opened the business in 1927 as a grocery store and ice cream parlor. Mr. Demmerley passed away in 1959, but Elise continued to operate the store until 1969 when she retired. She passed away in February 1980. This photo was taken in about 1965 during the “Hamburgh Holidays” Celebration.

Although it was originally started as a grocery and ice cream parlor, it became a full service delicatessen in the late 1940s. However those long time village residents who remember, will tell you that Demmerley’s had the largest stock of penny candy in the village. Patrons who entered the store could chose from all kinds of sugary delights presented in bulk, and although they did have packaged ice cream (Sealtest & Rich’s etc.), the shopper could choose from a wide variety of bulk ice cream which could then be scooped into a container for the walk home.

In the 1950s & 60s that area of the village was served by several other Mom & Pop businesses that could be reached by families who walked from their home on Lake Street, Union Street, Pierce Avenue, Long Avenue, Pleasant Avenue and Main Street. Examples would include Herman Mary’s Red & White Grocery Store at Lake & Union, Dake’s Department Store on Lake Street right next door to the Parke Shoppe, Bill Goin’s Grocery on the other side of Lake Street and the Hamburg Dairy on Main Street next door to Riefler Buick.

However the Park Shoppe was truly “a one of a kind” shopping experience for village residents at the time. As one local long time resident recently recalled, “you could buy candy and ice cream at any drug store or super market or local deli, but none offered the wide variety of candy and ice cream presented in bulk form.”

And of course it didn’t hurt the store’s business being located directly across the street from the village Park where summertime activities were sure to bring park visitors across the street for a candy or ice cream treat. What probably did hurt was the lack of off street parking. At one time parking was permitted on Lake Street and patrons could park in front of the store. When that was stopped, the effect on the store was noticeable.

It might be mentioned that Mrs. Demmerley’s two sisters, Miss. Etta Corah and Maude Demmerley were partners in the “Maude-Etta” Dry Goods & Dress Shop. The shop was located at 81 Buffalo St. for many years, primarily during the 1960s. Also her son, the late Donald M. was the founder and operator of the Demmerley Funeral Home at 21 Lake St. Dave, grandson, is the present owner.

As mentioned in the paragraph above, the Park Shoppe building still stands on Lake Street and it looks just about the same as it did when the Demmerley’s operated their business from 1927 to 1969. As a matter of face, the former Dake’s Department Store next door and the former Red & White grocery on the corner of Union & Lake still look much as they did in the 1930s. Incidentally those two upstairs windows shown in the photo housed two apartments and offered the tenants a good view of Lake Street and the Village Park,

This column is written each week by Hamburg Town Historian Jim Baker.

Anyone wanting to submit photographs and/or materials can call the Town Historian Jim Baker at the Hamburg Town Hall on either Wednesday or Thursday between 9:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. at 649-6111 ext. 2400.

Readers can also provide feedback by writing to The Sun and mailing it to The Sun, 141 Buffalo St., Hamburg, NY 14075.
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