The First Store in Montclair

Updated with new photos. A big thanks to Carrol Mauro and Chris Treadway. November 12, 2020

Recently someone asked about when 7-Eleven came to Montclair. Which was about 1958.

I thought I would go back a little farther and tell you about the first store in Montclair.

A bit of history…

In 1925 a man named Otto Schuneman bought land on Thorn Road and built a store. His store was a combination fountain and grocery store with a service station in front. The address was 281 Thorn Road.

From 1935

Thanks to Chris Treadway I now have a photo of the first store via the Montclarion.

From the Montclarion circa 1958

The original building is still standing behind the 7-11 store.

Showing the location of the first store

Mr. Schuneman leased the store to E.G. Nickerson of 408 Florence Ave (now 5800 Florence Terrace)in 1926 and Captain Baldwin in 1928.

Funk’s Grocery – 1930-1940

Oakland Tribune Sep 1939

In March of 1930, Davis L. Funk leased the store from Schuneman and bought out his remaining stock. Mr. Funk had owned a couple other stores in Oakland.

He called his store Funk’s Grocery and Montclair Grocery.

The Funk family lived at 5677 Thornhill in the mid to late 30s to early 40s.

In the early 1960s the Montclair Presbyterian Church next door bought the house from the owners.

My ex-husband and I worked for the church from 1983- 1987 and we got to live in the house.

This house, grocery store and the Thorn Road Bible School (now Montclair Presbyterian) were all built in 1925-27.

Note – Montclair Presbyterian Church (MPC) was formed in March of 1930 as was the Montclair Library .

1941 Directory for Montclair

Montclair Food Center 1940-1957

Circa before 1950 – Carrol Mauro

In 1940 Funk took on a partner his son-law Malcom “Scotty” Hodge the husband of his daughter Lenore and the store was re-named the Montclair Food Center.

Funk and Hodge ran the store together until Funk died in 1949 his home behind the store on Grisborne Avenue.

Montclair Food Center – Carrol Mauro
Oakland Tribune 1949

Hodge and his wife continued until 1957 when they couldn’t work out a new lease with the owner Otto Schuneman. My thought is…it was because he could make more money leasing it to Speedee Mart

Montclarion 1957
Montclarion 1957

When the store closed down in 1957 it was the last one in Montclair that had maintained a credit and delivery service. Montclair Food Center was more than just a store to many of the customers of 20 years or more.

By 1957 Montclair was also changing. Payless Grocery Store (soon to be Luckys) and LaSalle Avenue Market were located in the business district and soon a new Safeway would be built.

Min-a-Mart and Speedee Mart 1958-1966?

A Min-a-Mart opened in a about 1958.

Thanks to Chris Treadway – Montclarion

In about 1959 the store was leased by Speedee Mart Corporation.

In 1964 the parent company of the 7-Eleven Stores bought all the Speedee Mart franchises in California.

They began slowly changing the name to 7-Eleven (7-11)

The End

10 thoughts on “The First Store in Montclair

Add yours

  1. I remember Hamilton’s Market on a small hill on Broadway Terrace and Glenwood Glade. Would go there for nickel cokes and candy. This would be in the late 1940’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoy these articles so much, keeep up the great work. I was born in Oakland in 1941 and lived there (in Montclair) until 1969. I have a few great pictures I hope to share shortly, one is a overview taken in1879.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I grew up on Grisborne Avenue right behind the store. We lived there from about 1960 to 1968 and my grandmother stayed in the house, in a unit my parents had built upstairs, for a year or two after that. I wonder if our house was the one that the original owners lived in, as I always thought of us as directly behind Speedee (as we knew it). Does anyone know the address of their house? We lived at 5738 Grisborne.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. In 1980, My husband Larry Brehm remodeled the upstairs above and behind the 7-11, restoring it to its 1920’s style. We had Brehm Architects housed there plus a few other offices, including Bob Wilkins. Our kids went to Thornhill School and they played in the office every day after school. We lived on Robin Hood Way. Our Merriewood World was perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, do you happen to have photos? In the mid-1980s when my husband and I worked at the church and lived next to it, I met the owner of the building and she said she was related to the original owner. We met at a neighborhood meeting about teens and the excessive noise at night coming from 7-11. The noise would echo in the valley. Southland Corporation and the Forest Park /Merriewood Neighborhood Association members were there. I grew up on Capricorn above the hill from 7-11 and below Robinhood Way. Dorothy


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