Retrospective

Twenty years ago — 1998

Ames Department Stores Inc. will acquire all 155 Hills Co. stores nationwide — including one on Vineyard Drive in Dunkirk — according to an agreement reached by both companies. Most Hills management staff and associates will be offered positions with Ames. The Hills stores are expected to close on a staggered basis starting in February in order for remodeling and then will be reopened as Ames stores. When the transaction is completed, Ames will increase its number of stores by 50 percent and become the nation’s fourth largest retailer with projected sales of $4 billion annually.

Thirty years ago — 1988

The Netmark Corp. of Dunkirk began moving equipment into the former Fredonia Seed Building on East Main Street in Fredonia with plans of starting up operations there by next week. Company President Kenneth Zebracki said the lease has been signed for 6,000 square feet of space for coffee production and offices. Netmark recently purchased Uncle Charlie’s Coffee, a Michigan-based company, with hopes of going nationwide by year’s end. Initially, eight people will staff the Fredonia site with between 100 and 130 employees predicted to be working there within 18 months. The Fredonia Seed location was selected because it was ideal for coffee manufacturing.

Forty years ago — 1978

An Open House Special Edition of the OBSERVER features the opening of the new OBSERVER building at the corner of Central Avenue and East Second Street. According to the builders, Meister Contracting Co., it is the newest and one of the most modern and efficient newspaper publishing plants in the state. The construction of the plant has been, in one sense, the most intricate and complex building project ever completed in the Dunkirk area, according to construction officials.

Fifty years ago — 1968

The proposed 45 units of public housing in Dunkirk have brought complaints from landowners in the area, including the buildings would lower real estate values; the agents seeking options for the property were doing so “under false pretenses”; and these agents had no prior knowledge of the area. The site, located in an area bounded by King, West Courtney and Lamphere streets and the DAV tracks, is the only site of six proposed to federal authorities which met with their approval.

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