How our lives changed 

Associated Environmental Management Services Inc
PO Box 586
1701 13 St
Viola, IL 61486

Edward Jones
1632 5th Avenue
Moline, IL 61265

Downtown Davenport Association
102 S. Harrison St.
Davenport, IA 52801

Donald J. McNeil, D.D.S.
1030 41st Street
Moline, IL 61265

Valley Dental Center
Dr. Margarida R. Laub
Route 6, Coal Valley, IL

Sylvan Learning Center
1035 Lincoln Road
Bettendorf, IA

Alleman Development Office
1103 40 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

American Bank of Rock Island
3730 18 Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

The Bar and Stool Shoppe
842 18 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Hodgson Funeral Home
608 20 St
Rock Island, IL 61201

Hughes Tire & Battery
120 E 1 Ave
Milan, IL 61264

IH Missiissippi Valley Credit Union
4206 5th Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Illini Hospital
801 Hospital Rd
Silvis, IL 61282

Jerry's Market
1609 17 St
Moline, IL 61265

L & W Bedding
1211 16 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Southeast National Bank
3535 23rd Ave
Moline, IL 61265

State Bank of Orion
1114 4th St
Orion, IL 61273

3900 26 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

United Way of the Quad Cities Area
3247 E 35 St Ct
Davenport, IA 52807
355-4310 Bornhoeft Heating & Air Conditioning
620 15 Ave
East Moline, IL 61244

Dans Automotive
1504 16 St
East Moline, IL 61244

Derbytech Computer Works
700 16 Ave
East Moline, IL 61244

Achor Do-It Center
1505 1 Ave
Silvis, IL 61282

Bobb Chiropractic Center
813 1 Ave
Silvis, IL 61282

Ricks Lawn & Garden
1844 42 Ave
East Moline, IL 61244

Amador Chiropractic
924 1 St
Silvis, IL 61282

Community Health Care
1803 7 St
Moline, IL 61265

Vickroy's of Monmouth
120 E Archer Ave
Monmouth, IL 61462

Evans Manufacturing
4608 W 78 Ave
Rock Island, IL 61201

Martin Equipment
Rock Island, IL 61201

Clinton Community College
Muscatine Community College
Scott Community college

United Personnel, Inc
1921 5th Ave
Moline, IL 61265

Neighborhood grocers still exist

By Lydia Sage, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer
Click to view larger image
Photo courtesy of Rock Island County Historical Society
Neighborhood businesses like the Efflandt Meat Market in Moline were prevalent throughout the then Tri-Cities area.
Click to view larger image
Photo courtesy of Rock Island County Historical Society
Karstens Grocery provided neighborhood Moliners with everything they wanted.
Click to view larger image
Submitted by Susan Hood
Reynold and Cora Straw operated Straw's Hilltop Market at 1316 30th St. in Rock Island from 1948 through the early '60s.

Tom and Vicky Lappin of Kewanee and Tony and Rhonda Ceurvorst of Davenport have managed to preserve some local history -- two examples of the old-fashioned neighborhood grocery store.

Jerry's Market in Moline and Tom Lappin's Grocery in Kewanee are typical of the tiny businesses that dotted nearly every neighborhood until the late 1960s and early 1970s, the Ceurvorsts and Lappins said.

The stores are part of a dying American tradition. Both couples are fighting to save their tiny slices of Americana as giant chain stores continue to gobble up the lion's share of the grocery business.

Mr. Ceurvorst said the demise of many Quad-Cities' neighborhood stores came when store owners and operators were lured away by high-paying factory jobs.

``A lot saw the opportunity for higher-paying factory jobs, working only 40 hours a week instead of the 70 or 80 hours a week it took to own and operate a store,'' he said.

The Ceurvorsts, who own and operate Jerry's Market, 1609 17th St., Moline, followed in the footsteps of his father and an uncle, who ran neighborhood groceries for several decades in the Quad-Cities.

The 20-by-30-foot store has the same flavor it did when it opened in 1904, said Tony Ceurvorst, who took over the store in 1980. ``This store was built when the neighborhood was built, and it has been here ever since,'' he said.

Mr. Ceurvorst said the business requires a lot of his time and ``work, work, work'' to remain viable. Its special niche is its meat business; a solid base of customers buy their meat at the store, which also offers delivery to the elderly and shut-ins in the neighborhood.

``We draw people from all over the area,'' Mr. Ceurvorst said. ``We still carry a full line of groceries, meat and produce. We are right in the middle of the neighborhood. This is the way it always used to be.''

Former area residents who stop in occassionally are surprised to see the store still in business, he said. Others, who have never seen a neighborhood store, are in awe.

``We have lots of people say, `Wow, I didn't know there was anything like this anymore,'|'' he said.

Vicky Lappin and her husband just celebrated the 25th anniversary of Tom Lappin's Grocery at 301 S. Grove St. in Kewanee.

``When we started in 1974, there were 27 neighborhood grocery stores in Kewanee,'' she said. ``Now there are just two of us left.''

The couple traced the origins of their store to 1898, when a barn was dragged from a farm into Kewanee by horse and steam engine, placed at the site and converted into a grocery store. Mr. Lappin's paternal grandfather ran the grocery from 1929 to 1931.

What has changed, and would take Mr. Lappin's grandfather aback, is the grocery business, Mrs. Lappin said.

She has watched over the years as more and more women took jobs outside the home, leaving little time for shopping and cooking. She said convenience foods added to the demise of neighborhood groceries, luring customers to bigger stores that carry thousands of products.

``We have learned to change with the times,'' she said. ``When we first started business, people still did all their weekly shopping with us. Now it's a lot different.''

Mrs. Lappin said people often are surprised to see her shopping at a larger grocery store. She tells them she's like everyone else: ``I can't find all the things we need at our store, just like they can't.''

Nor do the Lappins pretend they can compete with big-store prices. ``They are so big they can buy in large volume, something we can't do,'' Mrs. Lappin said.

But as the Lappins worked to find their place in the business community, they discovered a need for real, homemade baked goods.

``With so many working parents -- both moms and dads -- nobody has time to bake things like cakes and pies and cookies,'' Mrs. Lappin said.

``You have to be adaptable to change. You find your niche in the world, and you work the long hours you need to to make it a success.''

The store is a ``labor of love,'' she said. ``We believe that there's a place in the business community for all of us. We still live above our business, just like neighborhood grocers always used to. It's a good life.''

But as small stores disappear from neighborhoods, a new genre of ``neighborhood store'' is growing by leaps and bounds, according to Rock Falls businessman Arthur Johnson.

``Things have come full circle,'' Mr. Johnson said, describing the boom in gas station/convenience stores in the last 15-20 years.

Mr. Johnson, who is celebrating his 50th year in the petroleum business, jumped on the bandwagon about 20 years ago and now owns 37 gas station/convenience stores spread across 11 counties in northwestern Illinois, as well as one each in Scott and Clinton counties in Iowa.

``We kind of saw of it coming,'' he said.

Mr. Johnson founded Johnson Oil Co. in 1949, specializing in hauling bulk gasoline, heating fuel and farm petroleum products. ``We bought some gas stations and carried cigarettes, pop, chips and candy,'' he said. ``The first ones were kind of limited in what we carried.''

Consumer demand soon led to adding more items to the inventory, he said.

``People asked for more and more,'' he said. ``People are never going to do their weekly shopping in our stores, like they did years ago at the neighborhood grocery stores, but we fill a special need.''

Now Mr. Johnson's chain of Shell Express Lane gas stations have grown into full-line convenience stores.

``Back in the old days, a lot of mom-and-pop stores had a gas pump out front, so it really isn't that much different. It's just evolved into a larger format,'' he said.

``Customers want the convenience of getting their milk, bread and eggs and other necessities when they stop for gas,'' he said. ``We kind of went back in time.''

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.