Hens & Kelly, AM&A’s in the midst of the battle of how to brew your coffee

By Steve Cichon

If you eschew the k-cup– you are a soldier in the generations-long war over how coffee should be brewed in your home.

In 2014, Keurig sold 9 billion k-cups. That’s enough little white pods to circle the Earth more than 10 times.

While millions of Americans have given in to the convenience of the Keurig coffee maker, millions of others steadfastly refuse to entertain the notion of having the device in their homes.

Notwithstanding any recent political strife, “The coffee doesn’t taste as good” and “the little cups are just too expensive” are among the common arguments against the Keurig. These folks, it’s understood, are happy with the good ol’ automatic drip machine they’ve had for generations.

Even with Joe DiMaggio selling Mr. Coffee coffee makers, the modern devices were just too much for many old line perc brewers. (Buffalo Stories archives)
The debate raged between stovetop and electric percolators, like this Corningware model– “a perfect gift for young moderns,” in a Hens & Kelly ad, 1963. (Buffalo Stories archives)

It’s a same-as-it-ever-was argument that seems to happen once a generation lately.

It was only 40 years ago when old line caffeine addicts were fighting the original home automatic machine, Mr. Coffee.

“Coffee tastes better in a percolator,” you’d hear people say, who’d also complain about the cost of the machine, as well as the extras, like filters.

But even among the fans of percolated coffee, there were those who couldn’t imagine the extravagance of an electric percolator in their kitchen. Their stove top model worked just fine, thank you.

This 1975 AM&A’s ad says “a good cup of coffee begins with Mr. Coffee.” Not everyone was buying that idea. (Buffalo Stories archives)

These days, a good Keurig machine can be had for about $100. In this 1975 AM&A’s ad, the Mr. Coffee brewer is on sale for $29.99. The regular price of $39.99 is about $177 in 2017 dollars, according to a federal government inflation calculator.

Over the last 40 years, what was luxurious has become common place.


Buffalo in the ’50s: The suburban splendor of Hens & Kelly

By Steve Cichon

Today, the thought driving to the corner of Main and Transit might conjure up thoughts of sprawl for as far as the eye can see married with seemingly endless traffic. Sixty years ago that same view — as seen in the Transitown Plaza parking lot here — was more like the summit of suburban living and all the newness that Buffalo had to offer.

Buffalo News archives

This late ’50s H&K photo (above) is from the same time period as this ad (below) announcing Hens & Kelly’s 67thanniversary (and subsequent sale.)

Matthias Hens and Patrick Kelly opened Hens & Kelly in downtown Buffalo in 1892. The store remained in local hands until the late 1960s, when it was bought by Sperry & Hutchinson, the S&H Green Stamps people.

The original downtown location is now known as “The Mohawk Building.” The Transitown Plaza location is now home to TJ Maxx. When the Abbott Road location opened in 1951, Lackawanna’s LB Smith Plaza was the largest shopping plaza in Western New York. Today, it is anchored by Save-A-Lot. The Bailey Avenue location was next to the Kensington Expressway.

In the 1970s, the chain was purchased by Twin Fair. All Hens & Kelly location closed their doors when Twin Fair disappeared in 1982.

The Golden Age of Buffalo’s Great Retailers

By Steve Cichon

BUFFALO, NY  – The outpouring was amazing.

After agreeing to give a lecture at Buffalo’s Forest Lawn Cemetery about some of the city’s great retailers of the past, I was deluged with people offering up their memories, and thirsty for the memories of the stores of Buffalo’s grand old stores.

Consider this page a taste of the Golden Age of Buffalo Retailing talk that’s been seen by thousands of Western New Yorkers (and can become a part of your next meeting or event. )

Take a stroll down memory lane, and play some classic jingles while looking over some images of Buffalo’s by-gone retailers.

Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com
Reformatted & Updated pages from staffannouncer.com finding a new home at buffalostories.com