Only in York County

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Ask Joan: Back to college edition

This week marked my first of two sessions teaching a course through Penn State York’s OLLI program. OLLI, the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, is a series of courses taught primarily to older adults (retirees, mostly) who want to continue discovering new topics. It’s a neat program at which several of the Daily Record’s editors have presented.

I’m speaking this week and next on “What makes York County special: An A-to-Z look.” So far it’s been incredibly fun, though we only made it up to the letter H! Have to talk faster next week, I guess!

It was interesting to be on a college campus again… haven’t spent too much time on campuses since I graduated from York College in 2002.

What’s inside

1. Was grocery store Food Fair?
2. Why did Ruby Tuesday close?
3. History of Grantley Road businesses

1. What was the grocery store that was located in the York County Shopping Center, maybe late 60’s early 70’s? It was on the side where Red Lobster is now.
– Todd Diehl

My first guess for Todd was, was that Food Fair? They had a few locations in the York area, which I’ve blogged about a couple times, but Jim McClure had written about that one in particular on his York Town Square blog back in this 2008 post.

Todd said, though, “The store I’m thinking of might have been after Food Fair. A friend of mine worked for this chain while she was in school. She graduated in 1972. She couldn’t recall the name except for that it was a chain out of Baltimore. I don’t think it was there very long. I thought maybe you could ask in your column if anyone remembers the name.”

So, maybe there was a name change after Food Fair? Any ideas?

2. Joan, why did the Ruby Tuesdays at York Galleria Mall close?
– Rick

Unfortunately, the store’s closure in 2008 was kind of a non-event, but I was able to find the following from our archives, by business reporter Sean Adkins as part of a larger column:

Hailing from Long Island, N.Y., I’m used to malls with multiple chain restaurants and retailers staffed with workers no older than 21. So, I was a bit surprised when I arrived in York County to find that the York Galleria had only one non fast-food chain restaurant, in the form of Ruby Tuesday. Now, it seems, the mall has lost its sole major restaurant anchor. On April 20, Ruby Tuesday opted not to renew its lease and closed its restaurant at the mall, said Sandi Stablein, a restaurant spokeswoman. “We close a handful of locations across the country each year,” she said. “Most are because of lease expirations.” Efforts to reach a mall official on Friday were unsuccessful. Stablein said she didn’t know how many people worked at the restaurant before it closed, but the company’s West Manchester Township location employs about 100 workers.

So, Rick, now you know what I know, courtesy of Sean!

3. (I know that) York Narrow Fabrics on Grantley Road was sold to York College for dorm rooms. Was this company sold to another or did it go out of business. Also on Grantley Road, Coastal Tank Lines is no longer there. Did it go out of business or was it sold to another?
– Marion Trimmer

This July 2011 photo by Kate Penn shows concrete finishers Jason Wenrich, left, and Kent Colyer working to create a level sidewalk in front of the new York College dorm Northside Commons, off Grantley Road.

Since, as I mentioned above, I’m a York College grad, I’m very interested in all the development that’s gone on around the campus since I left. (You can see the full, current campus map here, and let me tell you it’s greatly expanded in the past 10 years! There’s also a gallery of pictures of the Northside Commons construction here.)

The interesting part of Marion’s question, though, was about the former businesses in the areas near where York College is developing: York Narrow Fabrics and Coastal Tank Lines. For the most part, these businesses exist in our newspaper’s digitized archives as passing mentions in obituaries, listing companies for which people had worked. Coastal Tank Lines, apparently, used to be the nation’s tank truck carrier, back in the 1940s, but very little is found about it in the past 50 years or more!

So I turn to you, readers – any details about the history of York Narrow Fabrics and Coastal Tank Lines; dates when they either went out of business or were perhaps sold and merged, if that’s the case? Would love to know more!

Got any questions? Ask Joan using the form at right. I’ll attempt to answer them in a future “Ask Joan” column on this blog. I get a large volume, but I will feature three each week and answer as many as possible!

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