Mar 6, 2015

The Mohican Markets

Once, before the malls, there were three thriving cities in the Lehigh Valley, and some merchants would have a store in each of the downtowns. Some of the buildings still exist, and have been reused; The Allentown Farr (shoe) Building is now loft apartments. Two of three Mohican Market buildings, famous for baked goods, no longer exist. The Easton location, on S. 4th St., was victim to fire. The Allentown store is now the parking lot behind the new Butz office building. The Mohican Markets were owned and operated by Bernard Molovinsky, who purchased the three Lehigh Valley stores from a small chain located in New York and Pennsylvania.

revised and reprinted from September of 2007


Anonymous said...

Allentown must have been a truly triving city than? That was the American dream of this nations reality of building a true economy? Now the government builds a economy with no checks and balances with no oversight? Money in and money out is also just a narative in a storyline that is presented by a powerpoint presentation convincing the public this i working, and than we have local media outlets advertising this as a positive?

Like you MM money out and money in as well as a truely living wage and employment oppertunities show the truth of this matter?

Very informative history lesson into Americas past economy lifting levels that was not government?

patent pending

Anonymous said...

Very clear memories of the Bethlehem
Mohican Market.
It was THE place to shop.

doug_b said...

I remember going to the Mohican Market on south 9th street - in the late 50's.

Imagine that a market in downtown.

Anonymous said...

But, but . . .

Would ANIZDA approve of such a building being created downtown? Pretty boring stuff, but depending who the owner is, it could happen.

Fred Windish

michael molovinsky said...

fred@10:46, until which time a food market of the mohican quality opens up in center city, or City Center 1,2,3,4,5,6...., j.b's apartment yuppies won't have a real quality of life living downtown.

Anonymous said...


I completely agree! A supermarket downtown is ESSENTIAL. I wouldn't ever consider living there without one.

Interesting about those new Reilly apartments. If I recall, NIZ funding is not allowed for residential construction. Please correct me if this is not the case.

SOME money would seem to be eligible to cover the First Floor, as it is retail. I'd like to know how any money for that address can be properly monitored, who prepared the accounting report, and what does it look like.

Guy Williams said...

Back in the day, thanks to the 1929 crash many like Bernard would invest in themselves and with long hours build small businesses. Now without the chance of making a quick buck we have lost the heart and soul of our economy. Dedication and hard work.

Anonymous said...

I went to the Bethlehem Mohican Market regularly with my parents and occasionally was in the Allentown store when my family shopped at Hess's or one of the other Hamilton St. stores. The Mohican was hardly boring and in fact a market such as that would be a prize catch for any urban developer today. Granted in today's politically correct world you probably couldn't call it the Mohican and would likely have to create some sort of "neo-retro" facade for the street facing exterior but I could well imagine many of the hoped for inhabitants of the new urban Allentown proudly bragging about shopping in such a locally owned store offering a nice array of diverse products and fresh baked goods. You had to be there in the original store and have lived as long as I have to understand.

Anonymous said...

There's a medium size supermarket in downtown San Diego called Ralph's. Very busy, all walk-up business. It would be everything I'd need to have as a downtown worker/apartment dweller.

Anyone else been to Ralph's?

Fred Windish

Richard Samar said...

Mike, In your walks around Allentown take a few minutes to notice that a store that is aside of where the Mohican Market once stood. This little Natural Grocery and Vitamin store has been here in town for 65 years. I am the 5th owner and I have owned it for 27 years this February. This store is the Third oldest independent Natural Health Food Store In Most of Pa, NJ and Del. It is like a Mini Whole Foods Market where you can shop 7 days a week and be able to purchase Not only Vitamins and supplements but come in and get vegetarian ready made Salads, Sandwiches, wraps, organic Produce 5 door cooler and 5 door freezer full of healthy organic, vegan, gluten free items. This store is a little gem that has remained here in Allentown because of all the many local customers that have supported us over all these years. Please stop in and say Hi. Garden Gate Natural Foods, Inc. Richie/Sally & Ann.

michael molovinsky said...

richard, actually, i have been a customer on several occasions, and your shop is indeed a local treasure. long standing center city businesses can be now counted on one hand.

Anonymous said...

Richard, (March 6th 6:13)
As have I! ("echoing" Michael) off and on for many years. And it is, in deed, surely a Treasure, with many loyal long time customers!!
"The Old Allentown Curmudgeon" (PJF)

Dreaming of Justice said...

We had IGAs..Independent Grocers Alliance stores..full service, butchers..bakery..a selection of fresh fruits (of course seasonal, back then)..milk and ice cream and soured cream from Sealtest Dairy..and a deli. The IGAs were important to semi-rural and rural communities as well as reliable sources for groceries and produce in cities and towns. The stores were (and still are) locally owned, and locally operated. The grocery business is possibly the least profitable retail of all, and few investors would be satisfied with the margins. Co-ops are difficult to start and sustain in lower income areas and depend on memberships that ebb and flow with the economy. If I were younger and crazier I would consider writing a grant to the USDHHS. Under-served neighborhoods are all over Lehigh, Carbon, Northampton and Berks Counties.