Historical Albion Michigan
By Frank Passic

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Any photos not otherwise credited are from the personal collection of Frank Passic, Albion Historian.

TYSZKO’S PROMINENT WEST END GROCERY

Morning Star, February 16, 2003, pg. 11

We continue with our theme of historic Austin Avenue businesses which served the immigrant community on the “west end” of town in the early 20th century. One prominent business for 65 years was Tyszko’s Grocery/Meat Market at 619 Austin Ave. Teofil (1887-1980) and Stella (Herman)(1896-1974) Tyszko were married in Vilnius, Lithuania in 1912, and came to the United States in 1913. Teofil was a meat cutter by trade. After first living in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the couple settled in Jackson, Michigan in 1916. Teofil first worked with the railroad there, and subsequently was in partnership as a grocer for five years with his brother Charles.

The Tszsko’s moved to Albion in 1924 and purchased Tom Slavoff’s West End Meat Market at 624 Austin Ave., and operated at that location for a few years. In 1927 Tyszko’s moved across the street into Mike Dubina’s former West End Grocery at 619 Austin Ave. Dubina had erected the building in 1916.

Tyszko’s Grocery/Meat Market was affiliated with the “Red and White” chain of groceries and was known for its choice cut steaks and meats. It was also the first business in Albion to be granted beer and liquor licenses following the end of Prohibition in the early 1930s. Tyszko’s became the prominent place to legally purchase such items on the west end, a reputation it kept until the end. The location was ideal. Factory workers walking home from the Albion Malleable Iron Company or the Gale Manufacturing Company would have to pass by Tyszko’s along the way, and many would stop and purchase commodities in either solid or liquid form.

Teofil and Stella worked in partnerhip with their son Matthew Tyszko (1917-2000) and his wife Grace (1915-1986). Teofil retired in 1974, and Matthew in 1983. The business was sold to Albion carpenter/contractor Dan Snyder in March, 1983. The added handy “drive through” window was quite popular in the 1980s. Tyszko’s operated until it was closed in the summer of 1990. The building was subsequently demolished, and today the entire south side of Austin Avenue in that block is one vacant lot.

From our Historical Notebook this week we present a classic 1939 photograph of Tyszko’s Grocery as many persons in Albion remember it, courtesy of Ruth (Romanchuk) Dean. This photograph, by the way, is found on page 52 of this author’s book “Albion in the 20th Century.” Notice how neat and clean the white-painted building was kept, the living quarters upstairs, and the awnings above the side windows. The residents of the “foreign settlement” were very contentious about keeping their sidewalks swept and their buildings neat and in repair.

In the foreground are the abandoned interurban tracks along Austin Avenue, which still lay buried beneath the street even today (please don’t try and dig them up as a souvenir on this 100th anniversary year of the interurban coming to town). On the left is the auto mechanics garage of Fred Smith, the grandfather of Albion City councilperson Betty Brandt. On the far right is a portion of the Shell service station operated by Warren G. Hooper. How many of our residents remember Tyszko’s? Next week: Dubina’s.


Tyszko Grocery in 1939

Next: DUBINA’S TAVERN WAS WEST END SOCIAL CENTER


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All text copyright, 2016 © all rights reserved Frank Passic

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