August 11, 1977
Sam Titch, owner of the People’s Market for more than 40 years, is closing the store and moving on. He says his store is the oldest in Superior. (Karl Jaros / News-Tribune)
Superior to miss grocer Sam
By Sue Willoughby of the News-Tribune staff
People have probably become accustomed to Sam Titch sitting near the window of the People’s Market.
When a familiar face passes by, he’ll wave and if you stop in he’s always got a few minutes to talk.
Most of the people on the street know Sam. They should – he’s owned the small grocery store at 1119 Tower Ave. for 40 years.
In fact, he’s been in the grocery business on Tower Avenue since he opened a store at 524 Tower Ave. in 1916.
But that once-familiar figure in the window is soon to become a thing of the past. Sam has sold the building and is getting out of the business after 61 years.
He doesn’t like the thought of leaving but, since a stroke 13 years ago, he’s had trouble getting around and now he’s selling the fixtures and moving on.
"I guess I’m gonna relex – go to Florida in the wintertime and come back here in the summer," he said. "But, if not for that stroke, I wouldn’t have sold out until I died. I like the business. It made me what I am."
Sam claims People’s Market is the oldest store in Superior but says "everything good has to come to an end sometime."
"When I come here they didn’t have pavement, they had wood blocks," he said. "It was a busy town in them days – lumberjacks and everything. Today they haaven’t got nothing."
Born in Lithuania, Sam came to Superior in 1914, when he was not quite 15. He never attended school – "not even kindergarten," he boasts – but business has always been good because he trusted people and they trusted him, he said.
"I’ve still got some old-time customers," he said. "We still deliver to houses. We still do things like the way I started it."
Sam’s right hand is his longtime friend Verna Scanlon. He says he couldn’t manage without her running the store and helping him get around.
Sam says he wants out of the business. "I can’t get around no more and run it myself. And that’s no good."
But he doesn’t like the idea of having nothing to do.
"It ain’t gonna be no fun for me; it makes me feel bad, very bad. I don’t know what I’ll do. But I guess I can’t sit around and wait until I die. I just thank God I’m paralyzed in my body but not up here," he said, pointing to his head.
Verna also has mixed feelings about leaving the business she’s helped build for 40 years.
"You know, when you’ve never traveled and done all those things it’s exciting," she said. "But we’re both Superiorites. This is our home town."
"Yeah, but if we don’t like it we can always come back and sell peanuts," Sam said. "You don’t need too many people to do that. I might as well see things now."
Sam will probably be missed most by his steady customers and the people in the area who got used to his smile and conversation.