Binghamton Flashback: Norman’s Market
We all have memories of our early days, the people we have met, the places we use to visit, so today I am going to flashback to Binghamton in the 1960’s and 70’s.
Long before Walmart and other superstores, we had our local mom and pop stores (classic convenience) and our locally owned food markets.
I was living on the east side of Binghamton in the 1960’s and 70’s and anyone living there during this time will certainly remember Norman’s Market, located on Robinson Street, just about a block from Broad Avenue.
Normans Market had weekly specials and most everything a supermarket would have at that time.
I can still see the automatic doors that would open when you stepped on the mat in front of the entrance, walking into the store the cash register isles and the candy racks.
Norman was in the store quite often and you would see him walking around and going back to his office, I think he smoked a cigar but my memory is a little foggy on that, I seem to remember a black hat sort of like a Russian hat he used to wear.
Norman brought a lot of great bargains to his store, and he advertised in the paper and on TV weekly.
My grandmother knew Norman I think she may have gone to school with him at some point.
My most vivid memory of Normans Market was at around 10 years old, my cousin and I just came from swimming and we were really hungry, but had no money, so we went into Normans Market and stole a candy bar.
I had never stolen anything before, and I felt so bad about it that I confessed to my mother.
A few days later my cousin and I were in the car with my mom and my aunt and we pulled into Normans parking lot, they told us we had to confess and apologize for stealing the candy, so we actually went into the store and told Norman what we did and that we were sorry.
I don’t remember him saying much, but he didn’t have to, we were shaking in our shoes.
Later I found out a few things about Norman Oretskin that I never knew.
He was a graduate of Binghamton North High School and he was in world war two and one of the first to reach the beaches of Normandy, he also commanded a German POW camp.
I do remember the little league baseball teams he sponsored, we played on those teams at Button Field in Fairview Park.
Norman owned Polar Foods and the Mohican Bakery, along with his warehouse on Alice Street.
Norman closed his stores after competition from bigger food chains started popping up in the area.
Norman passed in 2006, but I will always remember Norman’s Market on Binghamton’s East Side.