Please excuse my temporary obsession with the Civic Park neighborhood where I grew up, but reader GH has provided an excellent rundown of the small strip of stores on Dayton Place between Delmar Street and Forest Hill Avenue, just across the street from Civic Park School and east of Comers/Double D Market. This is where my family bought countless loaves of Balkan bread, and I got my regular supply of Wacky Packages.
I also remember standing on the corner waiting for the bus one morning with my mom when a guy with long hair and a poncho staggered up to us and asked, "Excuse me, which way is north?" (Always best to start with the basics after a night of heavy drinking.) We both pointed toward Canada; my mom gave him two dollars; and he weaved away in the general direction of the Mackinaw Bridge.
Here is GH's recollection:
"As far as the stores go, there was a constant change of guard in that strip. However, going back to the start of my memory, on the east end, it was Comers Market (before they built the new place), then that spot turned into a storage warehouse for foam cushions and was also subdivided to create the Ski Haus to the west. The foam place died out and the Laundromat moved in. West of the Ski Haus was the barber shop, next was Rickman's drug store, still going west it was Max's Hardware sold to become Lewis Hardware, further west was Stiltz Realty, who took over after the gift shop closed, who took over from Mrs. Friend's small diner, after it closed.
"Going west from Stiltz, it was the Dry Cleaners and finally the Philips gas station on the end facing west. The bakery took over from the dry cleaners when they closed. The guy who ran the dry cleaners was a tough character. Three of my older brothers worked for him on & off.
"In thinking this over, I worked for every business listed above at one time or other with the exception of Stiltz Realty and the dry cleaners. The fellow at the gas station was very large and also created a very large ball of string. The potato chip boxes came tied with string. Over many years he patiently added this string to his ball. I believe it was at least 30" in diameter when his predecessor in the gas station finally set it to the curb. The last time I saw that ball of string, it was rolling down Delmar St in the middle of the night, headed for the small ball diamond at Haskell (pushed by me and a couple of my buddies)."