Escondido, CA

Where have all the old businesses gone? Part II

Before I continue from last week I want to give a shout out to a new business in town. The Grand Comedy Club has opened at 340 E. Grand Ave., the old Taste of Florence location. Should be fun.

And as promised, here we go again down memory lane. Acapulco, Anfuso’s, Tony’s Seafood Landing one of my favs, Gentleman’s Choice, Vineyard Theater. Remember the silhouettes on the side of the building? Fedco, Fedmart (became Price Club now Costco in San Marcos), the English Bakery with tea and crumpets at 4 p.m., Chez Orleans and the Time Machine, 150 Grand, Ethan Allen, the original Lena’s Liquor, Champions Restaurant, the Bon Ton and King’s Court Smorgasbord, Checker Auto Parts, Black Gold Gas Station at El Norte and 395, Gemco and we can’t forget the Escondido Drive-Inn movie theater.

When we settled into our first home the cable TV was on. I thought, cool we have TV and no antennae. Then 30 days later the kids said the TV isn’t working. So I called Escondido Cable to find out what happened. The response was that the cable is left on for new residents as a courtesy for 30 days. My answer was that I had never paid to watch TV before and I’m not going to start now. Well after a few weeks of rabbit ears and tin foil I called the company and said, “OK, you win hook me up.” Escondido also had its own bus company until the North County Transit District was formed in 1976.

Cal Stores, T-Bird Diner, Fudruckers, Fogarty’s Bar, Mercantile, Wardrobe, Ken Robert’s, Pretty & Plump, D’Agosta Shoes, I still have a shoe horn, Sahm’s, The Highlander, Home Fed Bank, Home Savings, Great Western. Pier 1, bet you don’t remember that one, Long’s Drugs, Thrifty, now Rite Aid, Savon Drugs, now CVS, Wagon Wheel, Fireside, Big E Market and Mr. Dependable where I purchased major appliances. 

Ah, I must digress once more. When purchasing my appliances I took out my checkbook then reached for my driver’s license for ID. Being in retail myself the cardinal rule in check cashing is to know your endorser. The owner looks at me and tells me you don’t need that and I asked why not. He said smiling, “We know where you live” since they were delivering to my home. This was one of the first reasons why I like Escondido … the people.

Back then we had two drive-thru dairy stores. Hollandia Dairy at Felicita and Hwy 395 which hadn’t changed names as yet. The other was Golden Dairy on E. Valley Pkwy. It was very convenient to buy milk, eggs and butter and other items from your car. Almost forgot Fiesta Drugs on Grand Ave. A local bar downtown Honest Johns, Red Coach Inn and Bob’s Big Boy. And alas, Marie Callender’s is closed now. Across CCP was the long standing Valley Camper Sales and motel which closed recently. Great family owned and run business.

Thanking long term businesses I have to mention Ferrara’s Winery which closed a few years ago but has been incredibly resurrected as Forgotten Barrel. Baker Electric has been in town over 70 years, Berg Electric, La Tapatia has been a mainstay for many decades, as has been Fillippi’s downtown, Mission Pools one of the premier pool companies in California, Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank and I would be remiss if I did not honor “The Plunge” our community pool at Grape Day Park where my children took swimming lessons. The bandshell in Grape Day Park was a WPA project and located close to where the City Hall fountain is today. I had hoped it could have been relocated.

Do you remember the Division of Forestry building on Broadway? Community assets also include Palomar Y and the Boys and Girls Club offering great services for the youth of Escondido. The Carnegie Library was at Kalmia & 3rd Avenue and I know there are many other businesses you can think of but we are so blessed in this community to have had this history at least since 1973.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

3 responses to “Where have all the old businesses gone? Part II”

  1. Edmund Johnson says:

    Port’s Men’s Store sold me my letterman’s sweater

  2. Raymond Forget says:

    You forgot Rube Nelsons….He was the corner stone of Escondido for many years. Rube owned 25% (he said ) of all Escondido and was included in the book of Who is Who back in the 60’s. He became known as the “Nebraska Swede” and managed an owned his store on the corner of Washington and Broadway for many many years.

  3. Diane Tells His Name says:

    O’Briens Bar on Grand. Burned down in the mid-1970’s. We watched the fire from our hilltop duplex on 4th Avenue.

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