Another family business gone

One of my first memories is being old enough to travel to the store to buy bread and milk.
The neighborhood store I would be sent to was known as “Preppa’s,” which was located at the corner of Third and Crowe.
“Preppa” was a bit of a surly gentleman, though he had the patience of a grandfather who doted on the neighbourhood kids. It wasn’t a big store, but he carried the necessities for the neighborhood—bread, milk, butter, candy, some meat items, and some canned goods.
A loaf of Maple Leaf white bread and a loaf of cracked wheat or whole wheat were the usual for me.
On a trip for bread, the loaf would cost 23 cents, leaving two cents for penny candy, which could fill half a bag.
“Preppa” would take longer to fill that bag of candy for two cents than I care to think about as we made decisions on whether to buy five jawbreakers for a penny, or three mint leaves, or five dark babies for a penny.
It was difficult making those decisions.
He even had a jukebox at the front of his store for teenagers to plug their nickels and dimes into to listen to 45s in the morning, at lunch, and after school.
It was the easiest store to reach from our home in the new subdivision of Third Street East.
When I was eight, I received a “two-wheeler” for my birthday and my travel distances became longer. That let me travel further for bread.
As an early-riser, my mom would remember that we were out of bread for breakfast and I would get on my bike with two quarters in my pocket and head for Roste’s Bakery.
The bakery might not have opened until 8 in the morning, but the smell of baking bread could be picked up early.
The counter may not have been manned, but if you walked in at 7:15 in the morning with two quarters in your hand, Mr. Roste would wait on you and would slip into the side room to slice still warm bread and sell it to you.
Sometimes he would come out and tell you the bread was still too warm to slice, so I would buy the full loaf knowing that when I got home, the slices would be even thicker.
With the two loaves of bread, I would peddle as fast as I could to get home before they cooled. Everyone usually was awake by then, and we would launch into that bread and spread hard butter and peanut butter onto the still warmth of those white loaves.
“Maple Leaf” bread was the biggest bread in the district and was delivered across the northwest, filling the shelves of every grocery store.
Cracked wheat, whole wheat, and Maple Leaf white always were in the bread drawer. No bread could be better and it didn’t last long enough for mould to grow on it.
A treat in the family was when my father stopped into the bakery on a Saturday morning and brought home a crispy loaf of Rye. The bakery was famous for it, and we would make sandwiches topped high with meats, cheeses, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and even radishes.
With the closing on Saturday of the “Dough and Deli,” another family business disappears from our community.
The memories of their breads, and later meats from the deli, will linger with patrons. However, the smells of baking bread that drifted across the east end of Fort Frances will be gone forever.

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