Mom and pop stores headed for the sawdust of history

Published on Sunday, 28 January 2018 22:58
Written by Phil Mikan

When I was a youngster, like 4 or 5, I would go with my father grocery shopping. He went to a neighborhood store he had gone to for years, Benny’s.

The store was in the basement of a six-family house and was owned and operated by the Janik family. Two brothers who lived in the house with their families ran the store. It was a butcher shop, really - everyone went there for the meats and would pick up some groceries as well.

As a child, it was very busy and very big in my eyes - hustle-bustle going in and out of the meat locker, making hamburger on the spot, cutting meat orders to order. I always looked forward to going to that store.

Remember, this was a city neighborhood, and it really served a six- or seven-block area. Neighborhoods were like village.

Then one day, my father started to go to a different store: a “supermarket.” The Food Saver was about four blocks west of Benny’s. My father said it had a better selection, better prices and was the same distance from our home.

Benny’s closed a few years later.

My parents moved from the city and moved from the old neighborhood to a new street with a new house and found a new grocery store.

Amazon has just opened its first shop-and-go store. No cash registers, no checkout lines - you just fill your shopping cart and get what you want and you’re done. The store has sensors everywhere, and they scan whatever you put in your cart and add it up as you go. If you put something back it deducts it from your bill. When you’re done, it takes the money out of your bank account. And off you go.

I miss Benny’s - it had sawdust on the floor…

Phil Mikan is the host of the Phil Mikan Show on WMRD 1150/WLIS AM 1420 daily at 10 a.m. and the Weekend Corner Saturday from 9 to 11 a.m. You can reach him at or write to him at Phil Mikan, Central Connecticut Communications, One Liberty Square, New Britain, CT 06051.

Posted in New Britain Herald, Editorials on Sunday, 28 January 2018 22:58. Updated: Sunday, 28 January 2018 23:01.