This is another story that has been on my back burner for sometime and was brought to the front by a couple of recent events that seem unrelated at the surface yet somehow connected enough wires to get me to write it down. Last week I saw for the first time a photo of the way Fishers Market originally was when Paul Schulte built it in the late 1920's This photo was taken around 1930 prior to his moving the stable from the Smith Estate. Paul would turn the stable into the landmark tavern known as Paul Schulte's Tavern in 1932. "Schultzee" was the way everyone said his name up until he passed away in the early '50's. And lo and behold that's how the postcard company spelled it. I had read a reminiscence he gave the local newspaper in the late 1940's about the early days of the development of Mastic Beach, but seeing it was something else. Then shortly afterward I ran across an August 1957 copy of Rod & Custom Magazine that I had proudly purchased 45 years ago off the Fishers newsstand, which was my favorite spot in the store in spite of some big trouble Butchie & Me would get into there.
According to Paul Schulte, he built his restaurant, delicatessen and grocery store shortly after he put up his Mastic Beach hotel in 1926 which would of made the first business in "New" town appearing around 1927 or 8. The hotel was located in Section 1, over on the east side behind the Mastic Beach Property Owners Association clubhouse on Orchid Dr. & what was then known as Birch Rd. in the original "Old" town. Home Guardian Co. soon started developing land on the west side of the Knapp Estate but direct passage to the west via Birch / Neighborhood road was blocked by J. F. Knapp's land. This may of been why a second fire department known as the West End Fire Department was created. Paul was the main organizer and I believe chief of it. Paul may of had some inside info that the west side would end up being the hot spot for the town of Mastic Beach. And speaking of hot spots, it may of been while he and the boys were straightening out their hoses on the west side, that his former hotel (he sold it to Sal Azzatto in '32) caught fire and burned to the ground in 1937. "Sal's Place" soon re opened a block away. For years it has been known as The Sand Bar. I'm pretty sure with the population being so small then, that membership in both Fire Departments came from the entire sections of 1 - 5. (there would be 5 more sections added to complete the town)
In the June 1949, Patchogue Advance article that is shown in it's entirety here, Paul said he recalls when he first got to the Beach, the only people around in the winter were himself and perhaps one leftover real estate salesman from the summer before. He said the first day he opened the market he sold one pack of cigarettes... "Business was booming" After Knapp sold out, Boom it did and in the 1940's Paul leased the market in "New Town" to the H. C. Bohack company, a grocery chain like the A&P, that would go onto become a super market in the 1950's. By 1949 he took the market back and I believe it was his son in law who ran it as Fisher's Market which became our grocery store when we moved out there in 1950.
Super Markets as we know them did not arrive on Long Island till about 1954 and when they did they were located in Patchogue and Center Moriches. Of the three markets in our town then (Harer's, Stop & Shop and Fisher's ) our Mom liked shopping in Fisher's especially for their meats. Tom Sutters who lived just up block from us on Jefferson Dr.,was a very personable butcher and if something wasn't up to snuff, he would always make it right. I can still see him in his straw hat and bow tie. He used to give Butchie & me a slice of bologna every time we were there. When we got a little older, our Mom would let us stay by the newsstand while she shopped. At first it was comic books, as Fishers had a huge selection, Archie, Donald Duck, Woody Woodpecker, Little Lulu etc. Even the highbrow Classic Comics. I may of got a head start at school by hanging out at the Fisher Newsstand that was up front on the right side of the two checkout lanes. When Butchie & me became car nuts around 1955, it was Rod & Custom and Hot Rod mags that we devoured.
When Butchie hit the fourth grade, (1953) Mom started giving him an allowance of 50 cents a week for doing chores he was already doing for free. One of the perks, I got was the same amount too for helping him ( basically tagging along with him ). With comics going for a dime, Cokes the same price and a pack of Fleers Double Bubble @ 5 cents, an outing to town could wipe a guy out quick. It was during one of those low on funds visits that we got into a whole lot of trouble at Fishers. I think the newsstand was freshly restocked with several great new comics, none that I can recall right now, but we both wanted to take a new one home badly and there wasn't a dime in either of our pockets. We went and asked Mom for an advance but she said no. Dejected we returned to the newsstand to try and finish reading them before Mom finished shopping. Before you could say Woody Woodpeckerhead Butchie says, " Watch the aisle and tell me if the coast is clear." "Clear for what?" I asked. "You want this comic don't you? Knucklehead....now watch the aisle!" I couldn't believe it he slipped two comics under his shirt....it was both scary and exciting. We didn't hang around and went out to the car to wait for Mom. About a half hour after we were safe at home Mom came in the living room where we were brazenly reading our new comics. "Where did you get these?", she asked. She didn't have to ask, she seemed to know. She took them away and said "GET IN THE CAR!"
The ride back to Fishers was bad enough, but walking down the aisle with her to the back of the store was like the last mile. She handed each of us a comic and a dime and then she spoke to Tom Sutters. Tom went into the back room . When he came out I guess it was Mr. Fisher with him. Mom said , " Walter and Kenneth have something to say to you." We both handed him the comics and the dime apologizing for taking them without paying. It was the scariest moment I had ever lived through up to then. He thanked her and handed the comics back to us. When we got home, she took them away and tore them up, then threw them in the fireplace. There was no more allowance for a long time and that was the end of the Joseph Brothers crime spree. Nipped In The Bud by Mom.
I guess Butch was forgiven or forgotten about because about 8 years later he got a summer job there. I still recall his first paycheck of $40.00. It was a big time for him and his friends that Friday night at the Kozy Korner. I couldn't believe the way he was spending his money. Willy Conklin, Al Jankee, Augie Paschuitta and Butch were dropping Butchie's dimes and quarters in the pinballs like they were slot machines in Vegas. His pay was gone by Saturday Night. He only worked at Fishers for about two weeks and never did say exactly why he quit, but that was the end of his drunken sailor days at the Kozy Korner.
In March of 1962, Fisher's Market burned to the ground. Gary Messinetti took this Polaroid of it that night from across the street in his fathers gas station. They said they were going to rebuild but they never did. The property is still vacant today.