90 Years in 90 Days: Besser's Vegetables and Fruits

90 photos that define Cleveland Heights

Cleveland Heights officially became a city in 1921. Cleveland Heights Patch is by compiling 90 photos to create an album of the city's past and present. We'll run the feature for 90 days, one photo at a time.

Today's entry is a picture of the Cedar Fairmount intersection, circa 1935. Then the building was home to Besser's Vegetables and Fruits, and Wagner's Poultry & Meats. Now, the low slung building houses Dave's Market. Patch thanks the Cleveland Memory Project at Cleveland State University for this photograph.

Do you have any ideas for photos that should be in the Patch scrapbook? Add your suggestions in the comment box below or email submissions to Michelle.Simakis@Patch.com. Tell us about the people and places that should be a part of this gallery, and we'll find and photograph them.

Mike Rotman October 13, 2011 at 01:28 PM
Hi Matthew, I worked on Cleveland Historical's app sites for Cleveland Heights. This picture was definitely taken at Cedar Fairmount where Dave's is now. I did a little more research on your grandfather Morris and found that he was indeed involved in a number of markets across the city. In addition to the Cedar Hill market, he owned a Besser's on Detroit Avenue in Lakewood that opened in 1941. In 1960, his store at Cedar Center became a part of the new Pic-Rite (later Bi-Rite) supermarket chain. In 1970, Morris "lead the [Bi-Rite Supermarket chain] group in produce purchasing." This same 1970 article announces the opening of a Bi-Rite at 5360 Mayfield Road, not too far away from the intersection of Mayfield and Green. So while I don't believe he owned that store, he was involved in its operations as the produce buyer for the entire chain. Feel free to email me at michaelgrotman@gmail.com, and I will send you the newspaper articles where I found all this information.
Michelle Simakis October 13, 2011 at 01:34 PM
Thanks so much for this information, Mike!
Daniel Besser October 13, 2011 at 08:18 PM
Hello Michelle, Mike, and Matthew, I am also one of Florence and Morris Bessers' (may their memory be a blessing) grandchildren, writing from Detroit, Michigan. First, want to thank my cousin Matthew for letting us know about this story on Facebook, otherwise I would never have come across it. Second, thanks Michelle for posting this picture. Finally, thanks you Mr. Rotman for providing us with some additional info about our grandparents. I know that my grandparents had a fruit stand at some point in what is now South Euclid, but do not know whether that was before or after this store. I know, of course, about Grandpa's store in Lakewood, Ohio(which coincidentally was on Detroit Avenue) because we used to visit it when we visited Cleveland. I was aware of his store in Cedar Center, but I believe he sold it at some point, because it got to be too much work for him and my grandmother to operate both the stores in Lakewood and Cleveland Heights. I definitely have many fond memories of Cleveland Heights, (I actually lived in Cleveland until I was 6, attended kindergarden in Warrensville Heights). My grandparents lived on Washington Boulevard from 1947-1976 in a beautiful Tudor Home that faced a ravine. My father and Matt's father (my uncle) graduated from Cleveland Heights High. Even now, when I have visited Cleveland, I have enjoyed going to the Coventary and Little Italy areas. Thanks for the posting, it means a lot to our family.
Afi-Odelia Scruggs October 14, 2011 at 01:41 AM
Wow, this is great. I'm so glad the family was blessed by this photograph.
Michelle Simakis October 14, 2011 at 06:38 PM
I'm so glad you both reached out! Thank you for sharing this, Daniel. And thank you to Afi who has found amazing photos for this project!


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