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Home > Our City > Buffalo My City > Buffalo My City Watercolors > 04-A Main Food Mart (1989)

04-A Main Food Mart (1989)


Narrative by - David M. Rote
(Narratives are copyrighted)

The prominent copper-clad turreted bay strongly resembling a baby bottle complete with nipple is what attracted artist Dr. V.R. Lalli to this 19th-century brick building built circa 1870. Viewed from the south or north, the roofline is of irregular shape, high at the front, sloping quickly to a lower plane in a European fashion.

The Main Food Mart is representative of a slowly dying breed of independently-owned neighborhood food and deli shops which have given way to one-stop shopping "supermarkets" so dominant today in both urban and rural environments. Several other groceries/markets were located in this building dating back to 1871 when Frederick L. Beier and his family established a large produce and grain supply depot here. The Beier home was directly behind at 8 Summer Street. The Beier family owned this property for eighty years until it was sold in 1948 and they also operated a coal and wood distributorship further north on Main Street. The Nicholas Grisanti family owned the building until 1986 when it was purchased by the present proprietors of the Main Food Mart.

Other businesses located here over the years included a Western Union branch office, the Pollard Tire Company, DuoFast Company, and the dental office of Dr. Wilman W. McElroy. The most recent business of note was the House of Nanking, a Chinese restaurant whose egg rolls were second to none.

Although available records do not indicate that a baby bottle company was ever located in this building, it is interesting to note that many years later the Hygeia Nursing Bottle Company was located nearby and that in 1882, the Ball Brothers Glass Manufacturing Company, original manufacturers of the famous Ball canning jars, got its start in Buffalo and was the forerunner of the Ball Corporation of Muncie, Indiana, the nation's oldest canning jar manufacturer.

Directly behind this building is Schuele and Company paint distributors, established in 1903 and a Summer Street fixture for nearly 70 years. To the west on Summer Street is the home which famed Buffalo architect Edward Brodhead Green designed and built for himself.