Sattler’s 998: The jingle that built a department store

By Steve Cichon

This week, we’re taking a look at some of Buffalo’s iconic jingles, and there aren’t many more iconic than the one that ends with “9-9-8 Broadway!”

Sattler’s closed 36 years ago, yet we still know the address by heart. While the jingle indeed helped Buffalo remember that now iconic address, more than that, without the jingle– we might not have known Sattler’s at all.

Sattler’s from a 1954 ad.

Despite decades of heavy print advertising and growing from a single store front to an entire block across from the Broadway Market, Sattler’s couldn’t seem to bust through as much more than a neighborhood Broadway/Fillmore store.

Ad for Lanny & Ginger Grey’s studio, 1947

In 1941, Lanny and Ginger Grey– singers in New York City– wrote the first advertising jingle ever for a department store for Sattler’s. There were different versions, but they all ended in those five syllables that are permanently etched into the memories of generations of Buffalonians, “nine-nine-eight Broad-WAY!”

The radio singing commercials did something that years of print ads just could do. People from all over Buffalo, especially more elusive wealthy customers, started shopping 998, where they were buying everything from canaries to thuringer sausage to mink coats at Sattler’s.

In 1948, the Sattler’s store was completely rebuilt, complete with escalators and air conditioning. Sattler’s executives called called it “the store that jingles built.”

Those iconic jingles were filled Buffalo’s airwaves in 1950, playing 102 times a week on WBEN, WGR, WKBW, WEBR and WBNY.

Sattler’s was at the cutting edge of over-the-top, cutting edge, marketing and self-promotion.

It was tough to listen to the radio for any extended period of time without being reminded to “shop and save at Sattler’s, 998 Broadway!”

The forgotten Black Rock Market

By Steve Cichon

When we think of old fashioned Public markets in Buffalo, we think of the Broadway Market. But it wasn’t too long ago that there were a handful of them around the city– including in Black Rock.

For 23 years, where Tops is at Grant and Amherst, next to the Scajaquada Expressway, once stood the mostly forgotten Black Rock Market.

Buffalo’s milkmen and their Divco trucks

By Steve Cichon

Remember when the milk man used to deliver the milk right to your back door?

Trucks like this restored Rich’s Dairy truck will be on display in Hamburg next weekend.

Well, the people who collect the trucks our milkmen used to drive are getting together in WNY next week.

Fischer’s Milk delivery in a Divco truck in the 1950s.

The Divco Club of America will be holding it’s 2018 convention in Hamburg starting next week, and their trucks will be on display at the Hamburger Festival on July 21st.

Delivering Fischer’s Milk in a 1930s Divco.

Divco trucks were seen all over WNY and all around the country starting in the 1920s, and used for milk and bread deliveries.

Amherst Dairy, 1942.

It was in March 30, 1982, that Carl Heim made one last era-ending trip through the streets of Buffalo.

Buffalo News archives

The cartons shown being loaded into this truck were the last home-delivered milk from Upstate Milk Cooperatives, the area’s largest dairy supplier.

Buffalo News archives

Upstate, which sold the Sealtest brand, was the last of the big dairies to end home service, though several smaller dairies vowed to continue.

Divco ad from 1949

The biggest factor in dropping service to Buffalo’s side and back doors was the growing disparity between the premium cost of delivered milk and the increasingly cheaper prices being charged by large grocery stores.

from a 1939/1940 Divco brouchure being offered in an eBay auction by

Grain elevators make Buffalo Buffalo

By Steve Cichon

Our grain elevators are part of what makes Buffalo Buffalo.

Simon Pure ad from 1949 celebrating Buffalo’s milling industry.

More than 15,000 men worked in Buffalo’s flour and feed milling industries in the 1940s and 50s.

No other city in the world processed more grain than we did in Buffalo.
Circumstances changed through the decades, and the grain boats stopped coming.

Those hulking elevator and mill complexes along Buffalo’s waterways served as reminders of what Buffalo had lost for decades.

Now the grain elevators that survive are being adapted to new uses, and serve as an example of how Buffalo can make it’s past– part of its future.

This video from features Buffalo’s lighthouse, waterfront, and various aspects of Buffalo industry.

Our grain elevators are part of what makes Buffalo Buffalo.

Holiday Showcase Restaurant: One of the places that makes Buffalo Buffalo

By Steve Cichon

Rather abruptly, the doors closed on a Buffalo institution on Sunday, July 8, 2018.

From after-movie meals to being destroyed by a tornado, The Holiday Showcase Restaurant is one of the places that makes Buffalo Buffalo.

Photo appearing on the Holiday Showcase website, 2018,

The Holiday Showcase opened in the front corner of what was then the Aero Drive-In in 1964.

The Aero Drive-In held 800 cars and featured playgrounds for the kids in the spot where Sam’s Club is today.


Around 1971, showed its last movie, but by then, the Holiday 1 and 2 theaters had opened. It was eventually the Holiday 6 by the time it was torn down to make way for the strip mall behind the Holiday Showcase, which served hundreds of thousands of meals to movie goers on the same property for more than 30 years.


From the beginning, specialties have included the HY-BOY, which a 1967 ad calls “a double decker hamburger sensation” and FRESH strawberry pie and shortcake.

The Hy-Boy.


The infamous 1987 Cheektowaga tornado. This is the funnel cloud as seen from Dick Rd.

Whether they’ve eaten at the famous Union Road restaurant or not, it seems every Buffalonian knows that the Holiday Showcase was one of two businesses heavily damaged when a tornado ripped through Cheektowaga in 1987.

The sign is a classic piece of Roadside Americana on Union Rd in Cheektowaga.

The Holiday Showcase Restaurant… another one of the places that makes Buffalo Buffalo.

Buffalo in the 70’s: Steelworkers called back to work

By Steve Cichon

Just after Labor Day 1975, the Republic Steel Plant on South Park Avenue was finally starting to hum with the sounds of steel making again, after the plant had shut down in mid-July.

It meant a call back to work for about 500 steelworkers after a six week layoff. Another hundred were expected to be called back in the coming weeks.

New steel orders from the auto industry for the new 1976 model year cars was mostly responsible for the increase in steel production.

The photo below shows the build out of both National Aniline and Republic Steel in 1949. The single drawbridge at the top of the photo went over South Park Avenue. As you can see in the Google Maps image below, most, if not all of the buildings pictured are now gone, but new buildings with new jobs are coming up in their place.

Buffalo in the ’30s: ‘The most modern Greyhound track’ in the U.S.

By Steve Cichon

Cheektowaga’s greyhound track at the corner of Maryvale and Harlem Roads, 1935. (Buffalo Stories archives)


If the newspaper ads were to believed, the greyhound track at Maryvale and Harlem roads in Cheektowaga was “the most modern greyhound track in the United States” when it opened in 1935.

The building of the $100,000 stadium was surrounded by controversy and fears that “illegal betting might flourish in connection with the enterprise.”

Plans called for a concrete and steel  grandstand with a seating capacity of about 4,000, a clubhouse capable of accommodating about a thousand, and a paddock with housing for 88 thoroughbred dogs.

The track proved very popular early on.

“All roads leading to the place were jammed, and aid from Cheektowaga and State police had to be summoned to keep the lines moving,” reported the Courier-Express. At least 6,000 were there to see the dogs take their first practice run the night before the first race.

In what would now likely be described as the abuse of two different species of animals, The News reported a crowd of more the 12,000 was on hand for “jungle jockey night,” when monkeys rode the greyhounds around the track.

The excitement ground to a halt when, only weeks after opening, the gambling system set up at the track was declared illegal. Later efforts to revive the track couldn’t withstand the betting changes.

The Kensington Expressway cuts through part of the land that was once home to Cheektowaga’s short-lived dog track.

Lafayette Square’s “The Arcade,” then Buffalo’s largest office building

By Steve Cichon

Our 1880 map shows “The Arcade” at the corner of Main and Clinton, on the south edge of Lafayette Square.

It was Buffalo’s largest office building, and around 1880, it was the home of many businesses that endured for generations, like Michael Shea’s Music Hall and TC Tanke’s smith shop.

T.C. Tanke was one of Buffalo’s early prominent citizens and was one of the city’s first silversmiths in 1857. Thousands of finely crafted pieces of jewelry and silverware made their way into Western New York homes through the 131 years Tanke’s was in business downtown. The last wedding present left Tanke’s with the store’s closure in 1989.

The Arcade was destroyed in a spectacular fire in 1893, and it “was a mass of roaring flames inside of 10 minutes after the fire was first discovered,” read the report in The News that evening.

An unnamed “scrub woman” was held up as the hero who “rushed through the corridors crying fire and and warned the night watchman to call Mr. Shea.”

Not only did the future theater magnate run his music hall from the building, he also lived there, on the third floor.

“Get up for your life, Mr. Shea! The building’s on fire,” The News quoted the watchman saying, “as he cried as he kicked and pounded on the concert hall man’s bedroom door.”

“As soon as he got a reply and got the door open he hustled tho bewildered man’s clothes on and hurried him down the stairs to a place of safety.”

No one was killed in the fire, which caused $2 million in damage.

But as the embers still smoldered, The News’ front page opined, “The destruction … while in some respects (is) a loss to the city, will eventually prove a blessing” with new development.

The Mooney-Brisbane building opened on the spot in 1895, and just like its predecessor, it was the home of several retailing giants with Buffalo roots.

Buffalo’s Seymour H. Knox opened a 5&10 in the new building. It became a Woolworth’s store when Knox joined his cousin F.W. Woolworth incorporating in 1911 to create a nationwide retail empire. The Woolworth’s at Main & Clinton closed in 1997 after more than a century in the spot.

Woolworth’s on Main Street, late 1980s. The store was in the spot for more than 100 years. (Buffalo Stories archives)

Edward Kleinhans opened his first men’s store in 1893, but moved into the brand-new Brisbane Building when it opened in 1895. His men’s store didn’t quite make a century at Main and Clinton, closing up shop in 1993, but of course his name lives on as the patron of the Kleinhans Music Hall.

Buffalo in the ’30s: Benny Goodman swings into Western New York

By Steve Cichon


Bandleader and clarinetist Benny Goodman was known as the “King of Swing.”

In 1938, his band was the most popular in the world, and his brand of swing jazz helped pave the way for nearly every form of popular music that has followed since.

Goodman and his orchestra played in Buffalo twice in 1938.

A month after Goodman played the first jazz or popular music concert ever at Carnegie Hall, he was at the Connecticut Street Armory.

The newspapers were filled with sponsors trying to associate with one of the early mass-media pop music stars. Buffalo-brewed Stein’s Beer took out ads reminding people that it was the exclusive drink at the armory. Goodman’s appearance in the sixth-floor record department at JN Adam was advertised for days in advance.


Benny Goodman plays at Glen Park, Williamsville, in 1938.

A brass band and a caravan of several hundred fans — “Goodmaniacs,” according to The News — escorted Goodman from the New York Central Terminal to his room at the Statler.

Rod Reed wrote up Goodman’s appearance in The News the next day.

Benny Goodman and his orchestra are playing in a Detroit theater today after giving the Jitter bugs a delirious night in the 174th Armory, winding up at 1:30 this morning. I am no good at sizing up a crowd and never believe what promoters say, but the consensus of my staff of estimators is that there were between 5,000 and 6,000 people drawn out on a rainy night to watch the gum-chewing (drummer Gene) Krupa, the hammer-pounding (vibraphone playing Lionel) Hampton and the clarinet-clicking Goodman in action.

If the orchestra’s principals are not suffering from writers’ cramp today, it is only because they have long been used to the arduous business of writing their names.

A swell swing night it was.

Goodman was back six months later in July, this time at Williamsville’s Glen park, where the first half-hour of the show was beamed around the country as a part of a national network broadcast.

Mr. Goodman will do his WKBW 9:30 killer-diller, ripper-dipper, whooper-dooper, floy-doy direct from Williamsville’s Glen Park, where he will play for dancing, jeeping, trucking, kicking, hopping, howling and listening from 9 to question mark.

Watching Benny Goodman perform at Glen Park, 1938.

Benny Goodman plays Buffalo (twice), 1938

By Steve Cichon

Looking back at a time 80 years ago– when Buffalo was big enough to have the biggest act in pop music here twice that year.

Read more and see photos of the visit:

Buffalo in the ’30s: Benny Goodman swings into Western New York

Benny Goodman plays at the Glen Park Casino, 1938.