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Photo Archivist's Selection of the Month: January 2002

The E.B. Hoit Company
Grand Central Market in 1913

The E.B. Hoit Company had a flourishing market, the Grand Central Market, on 480 Main Street in Stamford. Founded by E.B. Hoit about 1880, it became a Stamford landmark, and was listed in the 1883-84 City Directory as “Hoit, Edward B., proprietor, Grand Central Market.” About Mr. Hoit's earlier venture as a butcher in Long Ridge Village, in northern Stamford, one can read here. The Market served customers from Riverside to the west to Tokeneke to the east.

"Rana Gerump says" logoThe Guide to Nature magazine issue of May 1913 brings us a lively article about the business in its “Local Department of Observations and and Suggestions” section.

Its photo illustrations are mouth watering...and the sentiment expressed below somehow seems to have come full circle in the modern day quest for unprocessed, organic food. And we all yearn for a genuine old-time market...even those of us too young to have experienced one. With apologies to our excellent locally run supermarkets!

“A Clearing House for Nature's Food Supplies.”

“Since we all depend upon nature for food it is astonishing that the interest in nature herself is not deeper and more widespread. Probably more than half of mankind is really interested in nature as the bountiful supplier of their need for sustenance and clothing, yet every human being is of necessity dependent on the supplies that come from nature because the requirements of each must be met regularly and in proper quality. Otherwise our physical body suffers, and as a result our mentality deteriorates.

“It follows logically therefore that everyone must be intimately concerned in the source from which these supplies are obtained. If we were to detail the varying aspects and concomitants of animal life or of plant life in the abstract, not every one that reads this magazine would find in the article anything worthy of personal application or of personal study, but we are sure that we now have a topic that will interest without exception every one of our many readers that have their residence along the Connecticut coast between South Norwalk and Greenwich, because this comprises the region of territory where natural supplies from her zoological and botanical domains are distributed most satisfactorily by The E. B. Hoit Company of Stamford, Connecticut.

“The growth of an institution is like the rising of the mercury in the thermometer which registers the increase of the temperature. The growth of a business is an evidence of an increasing warmth of cordiality and appreciation on the part of the patrons. This constantly rising business thermometer is a token of success in the firm's method of distributing mature supplies of meats and vegetables, and shows that this company has received the approval of the public in the past, and is meriting a continuation of that appreciation on account of the remarkably good manner in which the business is conducted.

Editor's Note: One wonders whether the gentleman at the right below might not be E.B. Hoit himself . . .
Grand Central Market 1913, exterior Grand Central Market 1913, exterior

“It requires no small amount of skill to be successfully the middlemen, between nature's productions and their use by the people. The essential qualities here are as they are along any other line of human endeavor; namely, love of the work, and kindly and generous consideration for the welfare of others. The moment at which neglect enters, or when one has in mind wholly and only his own selfish advancement, at that moment disintegration begins, and whatever the occupation may be, it then ceases to grow or to win favor. The entire atmosphere of this old-time market is that of faithful service and of courtesy to its patrons. Not a thing that should be done has been left undone by way of pleasing arrangement and an attractive presentation of goods, as the accompanying illustrations show, while the absolute cleanliness even to slightest details is as delightful to look at, as it is to think about. Those that do great things do them with apparent ease. When one is equal to the task, the task is done with system, calmness and apparently with little effort, though the efforts are really strenuous. It is only when the task is too great for the doer that the “flusserbudget” style of service enters in. After all that has been said by the experimental scientist in relation to the comparative food value of different edibles, mankind will continue to eat what their appetites call for and their taste craves. The same principle holds true in regard to the store in which they will obtain the desirable things. People will gladly go where they are well treated and are made to feel that their kindly consideration is of prime importance. For these reasons this market has grown and is growing. These two purposes are its fundamental principles, its two corner stones of success. It supplies what is wanted and does so in a pleasing manner. No more and nothing better can be said of any other institution. That institution's growth follows as a matter of course. We are but parts of one great family in which each must give good service to the other, and do so with courtesy and generous thoughtfulness.

Grand Central Market 1913, interior Grand Central Market 1913, interior

It is astonishing how these elements of good service have been recognized and applied with the larger and more successful business establishments, and how such have increased within the last few years. Compare a modern market with the old-time method of doing things slapdash, clean or not, and all that the term “modern market,” implies and connotes is found in The E. B. Hoit Company's establishment.Delivery Ad

“The business was brought to its present high standard, by the well-known efficiency and thorough knowledge of the proper method of obtaining and distributing nature supplies and by the genial personality of Mr. E. B. Hoit, who for several decades has been as reliable as any human being can be. In recent years he has been efficiently aided by Mr. A. B. Chichester and Mr. Walter W. Brush, who now chiefly carry the responsibility and the work of managing the business. Mr. Hoit has well earned the privilege of devoting less time to this special pursuit, while he devotes more time from a limited amount of leisure to the care of other commercial interests. He is fortunate, and so is the public, in having these well trained, enthusiastic assistants to give all their time and attention to the business. They do it successfully. Those who have been patrons of the market for several years have with pleasure noted the steady advance and the steady growth of the improvements, and can easily predict that with the rapid increase of Stamford's population, the market is still going on to greater things because of intrinsic merits in quality of goods and facilities for supplying them to the public promptly and politely. Probably few markets outside of New York City are so thoroughly equipped with every modern appliance for handling meat, fish and vegetables, for promptly taking orders and for delivering the goods. Gasoline automobiles have annihilated distance, and a patron in Riverside or in Tokeneke can have an order filled almost as promptly as a purchaser in Stamford. We congratulate the members of the firm upon their successful career, and extend to them our heartiest good wishes for the future prosperity of their great clearing house for nature supplies, and we felicitate their patrons for their privilege of dealing with such men, and in so pleasing a place.”

Editor's Note: I had hoped to find more information and images about E.B. Hoit and his business. The Stamford Historical Society welcomes any information and/or images readers may have. We gladly would make copies of photos, or accept digital images.

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