Over 113 Years Fresh
“My grandfather, Jacob Friedman, immigrated to the United States from Austria -Hungary, in 1900. He was 16 and came to the New World by himself. After trying his hand at blacksmithing and severing two fingers, he turned to the grocery business in Western Pennsylvania. We know he peddled produce on a pushcart, and he also sold sewing notions like thread, needles, and housewares. Ultimately he opened a little grocery store in Lyndora, Pennsylvania; his five children were born above the storeroom.
My grandmother, Helen, worked in the business, and household money was taken from the till (a cigar box). One of her specialties was the bulk cheese department. All the children worked in the store and dozens of relatives who immigrated to the U.S. from Hungary, were put to work in the business.
We opened our West Jefferson Street store on June 25, 1918, and after we moved out this building housed the Outdoor Army Navy Store for many years.
A front page article in The Butler Eagle stated:
The new sanitary Friedman’s market on West Jefferson Street will be the sensation of the hour when it is formally opened for public inspection and approval at 7 o’clock Friday evening.
After many unavoidable delays in securing material and workmen, it is being completed for business, and the keen housewife will be delighted when she views this market, one of the best in western Pennsylvania.
The motto will be quality at the right prices and sanitation. The market place is a large room 40 by 80 feet with lots of sunlight At the front there are two large plate glass windows, which will contain fruit and green goods. The finishings are mahogany woodwork with white paneled walls and marbleoid flooring. It is lighted throughout with electric lights, and five electric fans have been installed. The counters are white marble with plate glass shields that will warrant absolute sanitation. In the meat department special cases are glassed in, making them dust and air proof, and contain a cooling system. The refrigerator for the meat and dairy department is of four-ton ice capacity.
The market will contain four separate departments, each under the control of an efficient and experienced business manager. It is to be operated on a strictly cash basis and a delivery system has been planned for special deliveries at certain hours to each district of the town.
Jacob Friedman, the proprietor, is a well-known, reliable businessman having had 18 years’ experience in this line of business. He is receiving congratulations from his business associates for which he is entitled, for bringing to the citizens of this community and to Butler County a market containing first class working equipment, which will meet the demands of all classes, catering alike to every housewife and furnishing a complete line of meats, groceries and produce chosen with careful selection in regard to quality and the right prices.
In the 1920′s, 1930′s, and 1940′s, the one store supported a lot of families, including all of the relatives that Grandpa helped bring over from Europe. Each person worked for him awhile to get settled and trained, and then went on to open his own little business – usually a meat shop.
In 1918 Opened W. Brady Street (sold to Milton Friedman)
In 1938 Opened The Model Market (closed 1945)
In 1949 Opened Monroe Street (closed 1972)
In 1958 Opened Bon Aire (closed 1974*)
In 1960 Opened Saxonburg
In 1961 Opened Slippery Rock (closed 1976*)
In 1963 Opened Point Plaza I (closed 1984)
In 1964 Opened Chicora
In 1965 Opened Ford City (closed 1984*)
In 1965 Opened Wildwood (closed 1984*)
In 1973 Opened Brady Street
In 1974 Opened Greater Butler Mart
In 1975 Opened Mercer Road (closed 2005)
In 1984 Opened Point Plaza II (closed 1991)
In 1984 Opened Duncan Manor (closed 1984)
In 1986 Opened Morgantown (closed 2007)
In 1991 Opened Point Plaza III
In 2003 Opened East Brady
Jacob’s nephew, Milton Friedman, (another Milton Milton “X” was Jacob’s oldest son, and Harold’s older brother), ultimately bought and operated the Friedman’s Market on West Jefferson Street. Other relatives became lawyers, teachers, dentists, doctors, business people – even an actress!
By 1938, my father, Harold, was married and was earning a $5.00 a week. My grandfather wouldn’t give him a raise, so he left the family business and went into competition with him in a store named The Model Market, located on Main Street My mother ran the business while my father taught men to fly during World War II, and they were able to buy a tiny house in 1946 on Walnut Street in Butler with the profits she earned while he was at war.
Eventually my father, Harold, rejoined “Grandpa Jake” and Jacob, Uncle Milton X, Cousin Milton, and my father, Harold ran the business together for many years opening ever larger, more modern stores and closing smaller stores or selling them to other retailers. Sam Miller, Jacob’s nephew, later opened and operated Miller’s Meat Market on Main Street for many years.
There were dozens of small suppliers in the early years. In the 1930′s we bought mostly from Clover Farm, then switched to Golden Dawn in the 1940′s. In 1960 we became customers of Fox Grocery Company and in 1961, Harold helped to form and was one of the earliest members of the Foodland franchise. We left this group in 1984, when we had a falling out with Fox/Wetherau, our primary supplier and franchiser. We then became customers of Buffalo-based Peter J. Schmitt until their bankruptcy in 1992. For 15 years we were a major customer of Penn Traffic, located in DuBois, PA and Syracuse, NY. In late 2006, we began buying from Supervalu, the largest food wholesaler in the country , and in 2010 joined the multibillion-dollar cooperative Associated Wholesalers Inc.
What never changes is the need to serve our customers better than anyone else can serve them; friendly service; reinvesting in our business and remodels; competitive prices; great perishables; and the very best associates, many who have been with the company for years….”
Carole Friedman Bitter, Ph.D.
We are your local community connection for high quality foods, friendly service and great prices.
Our family-owned stores offer a convenient one-stop shop where you can find everything you need from the everyday essentials to specialty items from around the world.
Our friendly staff is here to help you find exactly what you're looking for and to offer you assistance regarding all the products we carry.
We take pride in our community and appreciate your business. We know that you have many options for food purchases and want you to know that we're working hard each day to continue to earn your business.
By shopping at our stores each week:
- You keep your dollars in our local economy.
- You help create local jobs.
- You nurture our local community.
- You help the environment by buying locally.
- You invest in local ownership.
- You create more choice in shopping.
- You utilize our many years of experience and expertise in food.
- You embrace what makes us different from our larger, national and international competitors.
- You make our store a destination --- and we appreciate it!
- Every week you will find hundreds of “Hot” specials and “Best Buy” price reductions throughout our stores.