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Downtown York memories of Regal Clothiers, Red Klinedinst, Flinchbaugh Menswear and more

This photo shows employees of C.B. ‘Red’ Klinedinst’s bicycle store, 113-117 S. Duke St., in about 1950. The store continued to sell bicycle for decades after that before closing in 2012.

Today, I have yet more memories of former downtown York businesses to share! (As I’m writing this, it’s the morning of what will be First Friday in York, so if you catch this post online before about 6 p.m. tonight, April 1, consider heading downtown to check out all the current great stuff, including some art of mine that’s on display at The Rooted!)

Anyway, today we’re going to talk about Regal Clothiers, Red Klinedinst, Flinchbaugh Menswear and more. But before I start those memories, I do have a very important update. When we talked about music memories a few weeks ago, reader Trish McDowell shared her recollections of the names of some music teachers. I had mistakenly tied those teachers to Gingerich Music, but they were actually from Keyboard Studios. I’m sorry for the confusion, Trish!

So, what about those former stores?

One longtime reader of mine is Charlotte Halpin, whose sister, Audrey Lerew, often emails me memories on Charlotte’s behalf. When talking about downtown businesses in the past, Charlotte shared that she used to work at C.B. “Red” Klinedinst’s store, 107-115 S. Duke St., York, starting when she was 13. “Red started out renting out bikes,” she wrote. “He sold Indian Motorcycles. They expanded and had a big furniture and appliance store. Then when big furniture and appliance stores came to York it was hard for them to compete with the chains. They also did appliance repairs as well.” You can read more about that store on Jim McClure’s York Town Square blog, but just a fun note: This storefront is now the home of the Redeux marketplace, which of course is a big part of my First Fridays!

Meanwhile, Audrey herself worked for some time at Regal Clothiers.

She noted, “Charlie Lyons was the owner of Regal Clothiers, Inc. He was the sole owner. It was Inc. with his son Elliott’s name on it. Elliott lived in Maryland. He was never involved with the store till closing.”

Audrey continued, “We were up in the second block of South George St. (where McDonald’s stands). Then he moved down to the first block where Terminal Luggage used to be. On the corner of the alley next to Christ Lutheran. Terminal Luggage moved across the street on the corner of the alley next to where the Ritz was located. Charlie gave credit to the majority of his customers. He went over to Schmidt & Ault paper company every week and cashed the men’s checks when they got paid. Many of them had accounts and he would automatically take off the payments of their accounts.”

She concluded, “Charlie bought all his merchandise and dressed the windows himself. It was just Charlie and me. I was the bookkeeper and salesman if he was out. When he got sick he had to close up.”

A note: I originally had mistaken which sister worked where, and have now corrected it. Many thanks to Audrey and Charlotte both for their memories, and sorry for the error!

On a different downtown note, reader Linda Dunavin wrote, “I was born and raised in York city in the late ’40s. The apartment we lived in was directly across from Biermans’. It was a restaurant in the front, of course we never went there to eat, and in the rear facing the parking lot there was a seafood store. Mom sent me there sometimes to buy fish for supper, they also had hand-dipped ice-cream. I remember the parking lot being full of hills of oyster shells that was climbed on by the neighborhood children. There also was a butcher shop called Smith’s; it was at the end of the alley that ran past the apartment, maybe two blocks or so, close enough to be surprised by a steer every once and a while that escaped at butchering time. I remember Mom sending me down when she wanted to make vegetable soup, believe it or not, they gave away soup bones, for a bone for her soup. At that time they also gave away chicken wings too, many a meal was made from these.”

Linda continued, “There was Smitties’ Store at the corner of Jackson St. and S. Beaver. It was run by Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Mom did a lot of her shopping there… she just handed them the list, they got it together and delivered it to the door. I don’t remember when the Food Fair was built, that was on George St. not far from Cleveland Ave. Mom got all her meat there and anything else she couldn’t get at Smitties’. I haven’t been past there for years but the last time I was there was a faint outline of the Food Fair name on the side heading towards York. My Great Grandparents owned and operated Elm Beach. One of the drug stores in York I believe was on Market St. not far from the square was the Morris Drug Co. Before my mother got married she worked there.”

Finally today, from longtime reader Roy Flinchbaugh Jr., I heard, “I saw Flinchbaugh (Bros.) Men’s Store listed among your downtown stores. I can well remember it, for it was owned by my father, Roy, and his brother, Arch. The building is now attached to the former First National Bank building. I remember that during World War II a man had to have a coupon (government issued) to buy a pair of shoes, in the same way as we needed coupons for meat, canned goods and gasoline. Uncle Arch died in the forties (I think) and then my dad ran the store himself. It was the first store in York to have air conditioning (I’ve been told).”

He continued “Next door was the Ramona Restaurant, which was owned and operated by Andy Cassimatis (the judge’s father) and Pete Calopedis (who, I think, was Andy’s brother-in-law). They made the best peanut butter sundae ever! These were old buildings, because in the basement of dad’s store you could see wooden pegs which were used in the ceiling beams. Next to the Ramona were two vacant shops. They remained vacant for many years. I understood they were owned by Mrs. Frysinger Rohrbach, the daughter of the people who once owned the harness and leather shop across the street. Somewhere around the ’50s dad moved the men’s store to the Colonial Shopping Center on S. George St.”

And, Roy concluded, “That calls to mind another column of yours about service stations. Next to the Colonial Shopping Center on S. George St, at the corner of Rathton Road was an Esso service station owned by Eddie Dimelow. There is still a station there. … Your columns sure stir up the memories.”

Roy, I appreciate you sharing those memories with us!