Marilla Country Store, the longest continually-operating store in New York State, celebrates its historic 170th year this September.
The store bears the proud distinction of having never closed its doors since its opening in 1851. Even during the Coronavirus pandemic, when many businesses were forced under, Marilla Country Store held firm to its core mission: to serve the needs of all who visit; from the earliest settlers, to modern Western New York families, to travelers from all over the world.
“To say the store has seen a lot in 170 years would be an understatement,” says owner Sandy Grunzweig. “We have been through 33 U.S Presidents. 8 global pandemics, 6 major blizzards, and more than 100 wars.”
“But no wars, blizzards, or even global pandemics have been able to keep us from fulfilling our promise to meet the needs of the people of Marilla, and all who pass through.”
The anniversary will be recognized on Saturday, September 18th as part of “Ag Day,” the Town of Marilla’s annual celebration of its deep agricultural culture. On that day, the store will offer a free basket raffle and free Mayer Brothers cider and donuts while supplies last.
“Marilla Country Store was established when agriculture was emerging in this region,” says Grunzweig. “Since our heritage is so steeped in Marilla’s agricultural community, the store’s anniversary is truly something for the entire town to celebrate.”
Grunzweig’s family, the Gingerich’s, are the third to have ownership of Marilla Country Store since it was established in 1851. In fact, the store is older than the town of Marilla itself. Marilla wasn’t incorporated until two years later, in 1853.
The site was acquired in a trade between a local shopkeeper and a logger named Harrison T. Foster. Foster found himself on the brink of losing his business after his oxen got loose in a nearby cornfield and ate themselves to death.
Fortunately, the shopkeeper was willing to trade his business for Foster’s land. The new store that Foster and his partner, Charles Walker, built in place of the old one is the original site of what would eventually be known as Marilla Country Store.
The store has remained family-owned over its entire 170 year history. In 1916, Louis Monchow, the son of Harrison T. Foster’s partner Gustav Monchow, took over the business from his father. It remained in the Monchow family until 1979 when the Gingerich’s bought the store, following Mildred Monchow, Louis’ wife’s, retirement.
It was the Gingerich’s who gave Marilla Country Store its name.
“Especially given the past year and a half, my family is eternally grateful to still be here, going strong,” Grunzweig says. “We couldn’t do it without our incredible staff, who has worked so hard to keep us going, even during a global pandemic. And, of course, to the Marilla community who has supported us for 170 years, and continues to this day. We are excited to share this historic milestone with all of you!”
Since 1851, Marilla Country Store has been a destination for Western New York families and travelers passing through the area. The store features three floors, teeming with unique gifts, stunning home decor, bulk foods and candy, and so much more. Join us for the day, and leave with something you will treasure for a lifetime.
Roycroft Campus to feature free program with music and speakers on August 25 on its Great Lawn
The Roycroft Campus to host the third event in the EC200 Heritage Commemoration Series on Wednesday, Aug. 25. The free event will be a celebration of African American Heritage in WNY featuring a musical performance by the George Scott Big Band along with speakers discussing African-American heritage in WNY with a focus on the Michigan Street Corridor.
The event will take place on the Roycroft Campus’ Great Lawn from 6 – 8 PM at 31 South Grove St. in East Aurora. Gates open at 5:30 PM.
“The third installment of the EC200 Heritage Commemoration Series will provide a great evening of music and education centered on African American heritage in WNY and the Michigan Street corridor’s prominent role in it. This is a wonderful program and one that will be enjoyed by all in attendance,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “I commend the EC200 planning committee for the work they put in to present these summer commemoration series events and I thank the Roycroft Campus for being such gracious and accommodating hosts for the series as well.”
“We are thrilled with the continued success of Erie County’s Bicentennial programs on the Campus this summer,” stated Curt Maranto, Executive Director of the Roycroft Campus. “The Roycroft was founded on the ideals of individuality, inclusivity and community; it is an honor to celebrate our rich and diverse culture in Western New York, while also providing opportunities for new audiences to experience the Roycroft’s history and legacy.”
“On behalf of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission, I would like to thank our County Executive and the organizers of the Erie County 200 for including our founding cultural anchors, the Michigan Street Baptist Church, the Nash House, the Colored Musicians Club and Museum, and the WUFO Black Radio History Collective, in celebrating our great county,” added Terry Alford, Executive Director of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission. “The Commission serves as the connector of the past, present and future of those historic neighborhoods within and beyond our Corridor. The Commission, along with the anchors to be featured at the Roycroft Campus on August 25th, endeavors to integrate the cultural significance and historic impact made by African Americans in not just the City of Buffalo, but throughout the Buffalo-Niagara Region. This outstanding event will allow us to share a bit of the history interwoven into the fabric of the Corridor as well as the vision for its future.”
In addition to a musical performance by the George Scott Big Band, the evening will include a brief introduction by Terry Alford, Executive Director of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission; remarks from Lillie Wiley-Upshaw & Rachel Henderson, Chair & Board Member of the Buffalo Niagara Freedom Station Coalition, who will be speaking on the history of the Michigan Street Baptist Church; Sharon Holley, President of the Michigan Street Preservation Corporation, who will speak on the Nash House Museum, and Sheila Brown, Owner of WUFO Radio and founder of the WUFO Black Radio History Collective, will wrap up the presentation.
Flying Bison Brewing Company will be onsite offering beer tastings, and the Roycroft Inn will be open for additional food/beverage.
Attendees should bring their own blankets/chairs and may also bring their own refreshments; please observe a carry-in/carry-out policy for food/trash. This event is presented by the office of Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz and is hosted by the Roycroft Campus.
Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce to hold Taste of East Aurora September 11
The Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce announces that its 10th Annual Taste of East Aurora will be held Saturday, September 11th, 11am – 5pm on Main Street between Olean Road and Elm Street.
The organizers plan on having 25 plus local Greater East Aurora area restaurants offering their best “Taste” menu items.
Restaurants will be selling a variety of food and drinks priced from $1.00 to $5.00. All transactions are cash. Food tickets are not sold for this event.
To recognize those lost in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the East Aurora American Legion Post #362 Color Guard will have a brief ceremony to lead off the Taste opening at 11 am.
The Old Hippies, who have performed at the Taste for many years, will be playing between 12 noon and 4pm with DJ Entertainment providing music throughout the day.
Attendees to the event will be able to vote for their favorite vendor for recognition for the Best Bite, Best Sweet Treat, Best Healthy Option and Best Vendor Booth presentation. Winners will receive plaques to hang in their restaurant.
Sponsorship support that enables this event to continue is provided by Sustaining Sponsor: Absolut Care of Aurora Park, Title Sponsor: I-61 Church, Presenting Sponsors: East Aurora Bee, Martyn Printing & Graphics, Tops Markets, West Herr Buick GMC Cadillac, Supporting Sponsors: University Pediatric Dentistry, Trinity Medical OB/GYN with Entertainment Sponsorship provided by member businesses of the GEA Chamber’s Networking Group.
Vendor registration is available online at www.eanycc.com but is only available to Chamber members.
A listing and locator map of vendors and menu items, will also be posted online at the Chamber website www.eanycc.com approximately a week prior to the event.
For questions and further information contact the Chamber at 652-8444.
New catering business opening on Main Street brings a taste of the Pacific Northwest to WNY
Holding an Open House and Ribbon Cutting on June 18
A new catering business is bringing Western New Yorkers a flavorful taste of the Pacific Northwest!
Pacific Underground Catering is owned by Marleta Stansberry, who is on a mission to create beautiful and great-tasting food and memories while developing an atmosphere of hospitality.
To that end, Pacific Underground Catering, located at 700 Main Street, will hold a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 18.Reservations are appreciated by June 11. To RSVP, please email email@example.com.
Hailing from the Pacific Northwest, Marleta has lived in WNY for the past 20 years and is a chef, mom, food enthusiast, artist, and educator.
Marleta is passionate about beautiful food. Her background is in art, education and culinary arts. She has worked in the culinary field officially for nearly 10 years, has been a chef instructor, a catering chef, and a personal chef.
Pacific Underground Catering also provides a small event space and will be a place of education. Cooking classes will begin in July.
If you are interested in attending the Open House and Ribbon Cutting on July 18 or would like more information on Pacific Underground Catering, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Greater East Aurora Chamber of Commerce is again proud to present the annual Chamber’s Choice Awards student recognition. The program is designed to acknowledge and honor students who have demonstrated significant development in a variety of aspects of their learning and growth, such as community service, entrepreneurship, citizenship, artistic excellence, and communications as well as many other diverse areas.
Ten seniors are selected from each of the 4 schools, East Aurora, Holland and Iroquois high schools, and the BOCES W.D. Ormsby Educational Center.
The program provides an opportunity for these students to be recognized for their positive contributions to their schools, communities, and peer groups.
In a non-Covid year the Chamber would typically recognize the students with a banquet dinner with over 200 guests attending including the students, their family members, teachers, school officials and business leaders, and sponsors but this year, with sponsorship support, the Chamber was able to give the students recognition across Western NY with the help of WBBZ-TV, Cable Channel 5, with a 30-minute television show with each student and school having an opportunity to do a brief presentation about themselves.
The program will air 3 times, Wednesday, May 19 – 9 pm and Sunday, May 23 – 10:30 am and 7:30 pm.
Special thanks to the program sponsors – Tops Markets, University Pediatric Dentistry, and Astronics, Inc., and congratulations to our honorees.
The 2021 Honorees:
East Aurora High School
Ethan Frey Elizabeth Gottstine Katherine Kalinski Kiera Kavcic Joseph Meyer Caroline Ruffner Annika Safford Annika Spencer Brennan Weppner Thomas Zagrobelny
Holland High School
Ryan Grisewood Lindsey Massara Kelly Murray Sebastian Pitkin Cassidy Ralph Donald Schmidt Emma Suplicki Brianna Tullar Noah Wiltsie Emily Zehnder
Iroquois High School
Jacob Cantie Nicholas Capozzi Ryan Current Chloe Dye Birch Herring-Jackson Kaleigh Lauck Madelyn MacLean Tori Raymond Tyler Stanley Samuel Weber
Ormsby Educational Center – Erie 2-Chaut-Catt BOCES
James Bonnar (Iroquois/CADD) Jacob Fontaine (East Aurora/Conservation) Alyssa Ignatowski (East Aurora/Small Animal Care) Brandon Neischel (Holland/Auto Tech) Kathryn Roberts (East Aurora/Health Careers) Shelby Rogers (Iroquois/Welding) Mario Serra (Holland/Power Equipment) Tyler Stanley (Iroquois/Power Equipment) Hailey Tullar (Holland/Small & Large Animal Science) Brooke Urmson (Iroquois/Culinary Arts)