As the holiday season climbs ever closer to its peak, one cannot help but think of the many things that make it special.
At the top of that list for many are the family gatherings and meals.
During the first half of the 20 century, most Batavia families purchased their main courses from one source: Colgrove and Ryan’s Meat Market. The store became the preeminent meat seller in the area, and even had a wider distribution area.
Over its history the business had a few different locations in Batavia, and even subsequent generations of stores after the owners went separate ways.
Colgrove and Ryan’s was the brainchild of the partnership of Myron Colgrove and Joseph Ryan. The two were seasoned grocers and meat sellers, coming from other businesses in the area.
They began in 1920 and opened their first shop at 10 and 12 State St., which was named The Genesee Market. They stayed at that location until 1926, when they purchased Greentaner’s Sanitary Market at 54 Main St., changing the name to Colgrove and Ryan’s. This store backed up to the State Street market with a narrow alley in between.
Due to the professionalism and expertise of the operation, the business became the go-to spot for grocery and meat shoppers. Adding to what the customers wanted, Colgrove and Ryan added a line of groceries in 1930, though their meat products were still their claim to fame.
The store was also an early pioneer in telephone ordering, as people could order from their homes and pick them up at the market. In the fall of 1926, the store was featured in the magazine “Meat Merchandising” in an article, which commended them for the store lighting and the noted telephone service.
Colgrove hinted about 1945 at buying out his partner, but it was actually Ryan who bought out Colgrove. Under his singular ownership, Ryan turned the Main Street store into a wholesale meat center called The Western Provision Company.
The operation grew quickly, and by 1949 he had several countermen and office clerks, as well as two order clerks, a receiving clerk, two sausage makers, and several delivery boys with a fleet of trucks.
Colgrove took his business back to 12 State St. and reopened The Genesee Market. The location remained open until the building was bought during Urban Renewal, which was the same time that Myron Colgrove retired. He passed away in March 1966 at the age of 72.
At the time of Ryan’s passing in 1960 he was not only the head of the Western Provision Company, but also the treasurer of WBTA and the Batavia Baseball Club, and a partner in the Ryan-DeWitt Oil Distribution Company.
Western Provision Company was bought first by John Byrne of Niagara Falls and then Harold Ironfeld before it was also closed due to Urban Renewal.
Ryan Duffy is executive director of the Holland Land Office Museum in Batavia. His “History with the HLOM” column appears twice a month in The Daily News. To read past columns, go to thedailynewsonline.com.