Monday, September 21, 2009

Panesis' Fruit Store

Shown in the photograph above is the original Center Street fruit store of Greek immigrant Thomas Panesis (who appears second from the right). Panesis had entered the fruit selling business at Taunton in 1899 and later became familiar with Middleborough where he operated delivery carts following 1901. In 1906, Panesis relocated to Middleborough, occupying a small building which stood between the Middleborough Savings Bank Building and B. F. Tripp's ice cream parlor and which had been constructed in 1895 by L. P. Thatcher for use by George F. Bryant as a coal office. In addition to the great variety of fresh fruit sold by the Center Street firm (a portion of which is displayed here), tobacco and candy were also available and in 1909 a cigar case was added in the small space. Fresh roasted peanuts were also retailed (even following mid-June 1909 when the peanut roaster at the store exploded, injuring employee Peter Zamfes). Residents of the period would long afterwards recall the smell of freshly roasted peanuts wafting from the store. So successful was the business that in late 1909 Panesis was compelled to rent additional space elsewhere in Middleborough for storage. Ultimately, in 1913, Panesis relocated his business to a larger building on the opposite side of Tripp's where it remained for another three-quarters of a century, becoming a Middleborough institution.

Panesis Fruit Store, photograph, c. 1906
Although the copy of this photograph is marked "1907 May 30" at the bottom, a different photograph which was clearly taken on the same day and which appears in Mertie E. Romaine's History of the Town of Middleboro, Massachusetts, is labelled July 4, 1906, the more likely date. The Middleborough Savings Bank Building is recognizable on the left of the picture while the window on the right advertising ice cream, Moxie and Coca-Cola belongs to Tripp's.

Middleboro Gazette, March 15, 1895, p. 4
Romaine, Mertie E. History of the Town of Middleboro, Massachusetts. Vol. II. Middleborough, MA: Town of Middleborough, 1969.


Anonymous said...

I rememeber that place. God it was there forever!!!!

Anonymous said...

Why he was my grandfather and my father JohnTurner took it over and my brother Ed took over the wholesale, specialty baskets

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