Editor’s Note: Last week’s demolition of a house at Summer and Washington streets set off a wave of memories for many longtime Andover residents. At one time, a corner store operated at the front of the house, and became a place where townspeople would go for bread, milk, penny candy and conversation. Andover Townsman columnist Bill Dalton shared his recollections of the store in a column some years back. We reprint it today as an ode to the corner stores of yesteryear.
In a time past, before chain stores and zoning laws scoured and sterilized Andover’s residential neighborhoods, there were little stores here and there. They were a convenience to the local neighbors, but bore no resemblance to today’s “convenience stores” for they were small and friendly places and were not chain operations.
The man or woman working as the clerk was the owner and his home was in another part of the structure. Business, which was literally nickel and dime, was run out of a drawer and a robbery of such a place would not only be financially unproductive, but doomed to failure as most of these stores required travel down a Byzantine layout of streets incapable of the felonious mind to comprehend.
These neighborhood stores were places where a husband would be asked to stop by and pick up bread and milk on the way home and where kids bought candy and soda if they had some loose change. There was one of these stores near where I grew up. Not by accident was it called the “Little Store.” It was a wing that had been added to a house and was the size of a large living room. There wasn’t a week that went by that I wasn’t in that place at least once with one or two of my friends.