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Crown at 70: From City to Suburb – The History of Crown Market

The "new" Crown Market circa 1966

By Stacey Dresner

The Crown Market was founded in 1940 by Sam Smith, Sam Sowalsky and Meyer Goldfield on a piece of land on Albany Avenue between Magnolia Street and Irving Street in Hartford.

During the fledgling years of the supermarket industry, the business was originally a group of concessions operating in the store. The meat and delicatessen was run by the Crown founders, while the bakery was run by the Lassoff family, the fruit department run by Bob Kotik, and the fish department by Hymie Goldfarb. The grocery department was run by the Winer family.
In 1943, Meyer Goldfield left the business and was replaced by Jack Sloat. Sloat, Smith and Sowalsky ran the operation until the late 1960s. The store on Albany Avenue was expanded several times, but by the mid-1960s, much of the Jewish population had moved from Hartford into the suburbs of Bloomfield and West Hartford.
In 1967, the Crown moved to Bishop’s Corner, and by that time there were no more concessions; the business was run by the Crown owners. The store began offering pre-packaged kosher meat and the next generation of family members came on board. The store was damaged by a fire in 1970, but it reopened for business within six weeks.
By the 1990s, the second generation of owners included Ralph Seltzer, William Sloat and Marvin Cremer. In recent years, the store was run by Mark Seltzer along with Bill Sloat and his daughter-in-law, Erin Sloat.
Norwich native Marc Bokoff purchased the business in May of 2009 and has added touches, such as a kosher hotdog stand, and displays of fresh, Connecticut grown produce.
Earlier this month, Bokoff announced the addition of a special section of fresh glatt kosher meat supervised by the Harttford Kashruth Commission (HKC). Likewise, the store’s popular bakery, in addition to the kashrut supervision currently in place, will now also be supervised by the HKC.

Source: From “Jewish West Hartford: From City to Suburb” by Betty N. Hoffman.

The Crown's former owners Ralph Seltzer, Marvin, Cremer, William Sloat and Alan Smith

The "Old" Crown Market

The Crown Market today

Jewish Ledger 10/29/10

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