A history of the Martin's Deli building on Bassett Road
On the north end of Bassett Road is Lake Road and the old Sadler (Saddler) property (Lot #92). Sometime after the Lake Shore Electric Interurban track was laid through their property in 1897, the Sadler family sold a strip of land south of the track on the west side of Bassett Road and a two story building was constructed. The building fronted on Bassett Road with two large windows on either side of the front door. On the first floor was a store with parking in front. Upstairs were living quarters.
Across the street was the Thompson grocery store. It was housed in the old wooden Methodist Church building moved in 1909 from the corner of Lake and Bassett Roads to the interurban tracks. When this building burned down around 1911, the Thompsons moved their store across the street into the empty building.
Bill Sadler and a book about the Lake Shore Electric Interurban tells us the building was built by Mr. Pencik, and he leased it to the West Shore Supply Company in 1919. The West Shore Supply Company was opened to satisfy the needs of the farmers in western Bay and Avon Lake. The store sold grain, grape growing supplies, rope, feed and shovels, among other things. It was similar to the Cahoon Store on Dover Center Road near the railroad tracks. With few good roads, the tracks were the way to transport goods and people.
The supply business didn’t last very long and, as George Serb tells us, the property was purchased by Mr. Grosse. He leased the building to the Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, otherwise known as the A&P grocery chain. Behind the building, Fred Sadler ran a hand laundry during WWI. The interurban stopped running in May 1938, and the A&P store closed.
George Schmidt was in charge of the meat counter in the A&P. When the store closed, George and his wife, who lived across the street, reopened the store as a mom and pop shop in the Volunteer Stores Cooperative Chain. Billy and Julie Blaha lived up stairs. (I grew up west of Bradley and, as a little girl in the 1940s, remember my mom walking to the store and pulling my sister and me in a wagon.) Four generations of the Schmidt family stayed in the village.
George and Bob Serb moved into a one story addition on the south side of the building and opened the Bay Sweet Shop featuring cones, sundaes and shakes. My sister, Barbara Walker, still remembers the gigantic Baby Ruth candy bars for 10 cents. There was a soda fountain counter with stools and booths on the south side. A Sohio gas pump was in front of the store. The brothers delivered ice, sometimes by motorcycle, from Pop Serb’s Ice Store at Hahn’s Grove.
When WWII came along, George and Bob Serb sold their ice cream business to Ma (Katherine) Liebtag who moved the business into the store. Don Carpenter was on the Bay High basketball team in 1944 and remembers Ma inviting the team to lunch in the sweet shop. He remembers the counter was in the front of the store and boxes of cereal and canned goods lined the walls.
My sister remembers sitting with Sally Price at the u-shaped counter in the 1940s, with Ma standing in the middle, having a hot fudge sundae. When they saved enough money – 25 cents – they would get off the school bus at Ma’s Sweet Shop, have their treat and walk home to Bradley and Lake Roads.
The Beck family lived upstairs, and Don, Lois and Marjory graduated from Bay High School. Lois was crowned Miss Cleveland in a beauty pageant. Mr. Wertz, the shop teacher at the high school, who lived on Bassett, also operated the ice cream parlor for awhile.
In the 1950s, the store was renamed The Bay Superette and a barber shop was in the south addition. Armond and Ferris Karim ran "The Supe" with Ferris behind the meat counter. Their meats were highly respected. Margaret Hook, who lived in the Wm. Aldrich II farmhouse, walked down to the store almost every day to shop and buy meat. Ferris and his family lived on the second floor and Tom Phillips, Director of the Osborn Learning Center, took his turn upstairs.
Goomba Nick’s Pizza took over the barber shop on the south side. Goomba’s was very popular. Their pizza was the best, and the high school students were huge noontime customers in the 1970s and 80s. Goomba’s later moved to Detroit Road at Dover Center.
Today this building is known as Martin’s Deli and one of Bay’s historic buildings. Earl Martin, once the mayor of Rocky River, owns the deli. When he purchased the building, the front door was moved to the north side and the front windows removed. The small building on the south side became a dining room. Today, Martin's is a thriving business selling great food and wine in the store. Be sure to pay them a visit.
Kay Rothaermel Laughlin
Bay Village Historical Society