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Baczensky/Fingar's General Store


JAKE BACZENSKY-FINGAR GENERAL STORE

Video of Fingar's General Store


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Baczensky's (later Fingar's) General Store, Far left is Baczenksy's Service Station, Photo Courtesy of Davis Erhardt Collection

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Brookhaven Town Police, Coram Area, Jake Baczenksy (seated on motorcycle) and Alvin Smith, Davis Erhardt Collection
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The following story was written by, Larry Boddy. Larry's family owned Fingar's Market in Coram.

 

The story of Fingar's Market is as much a story about a family as it is a store. My grandparents were childhood sweethearts with totally different backgrounds who grew up on neighboring farms in Dutchess County NY. They were married in 1922 and as times were changing set up their early years in a variety of locations. My mother's older siblings, Don and Doris were both born in Poughkeepsie, and my mother, Lois the youngest in the Bronx, where all the children started school.

It wasn't until 1934 that chance led them to Coram, a midway stopping point on the way to the beach at Montauk Point. The stop was at a small grocery store/house that had been built by the Baczinsky's for their son Jake. I think this was when Jake had been appointed the town "cop" and wasn't interested in running a country candy/grocery store. While the children took care of needs, my grandfather talked with "Pop" Baczinsky who lived next door who told him he was looking to rent the house/store and the seed was planted. For the rest of day it was all my grandfather thought about and he stopped on the way back to the Bronx and the deal was struck.

The house was adequate, the lower level having a modest kitchen, a living space that was dominated with a table in the center of the room and the only bathroom. Upstairs was more spacious as it stretched out over both the store and living space. Two nice size bedrooms with cavernous closets the stretched into the eves, and one much smaller room that didn't even have a closet. My grandmother once told me she was so happy to have a house right across from a Methodist Church.

While I'm sure country life was appealing to all of them, the school probably required a little more adjustment for my mother and her siblings. Having had the advantages of a city school system, all 3 were skipped a grade in the one room school house. Large windows while providing plenty of light probably made the school that much colder in the winter. I know there was no "indoor" plumbing as my mother once told me of an outhouse mishap with her teacher, Mrs. Wilber. For years we heard of how they had to walk to school until we realized it was only across the street. There were loads of seasonal activities, one more notable event was the annual was the Halloween bonfire at the intersection of 112 and Middle Country Road. My mother told me that sometimes there were 3 or 4 cars lined up unable to get through before the fire department were able to put out the fire and open the roads up for traffic. The store was almost always a family operation although in those first years, my grandmother was alone to run the store as my grandfather continued at his job in the city to guarantee there was money to pay the rent and support his family. I have a hard time thinking of her doing all the things I did when I was in my teens. It started out as a mostly a candy store with some staples people would need if they ran out. I recall hearing that they would go to Patchogue to buy goods retail and add a few pennies for a profit. I know they didn't have refrigeration when they started out because my mother told me Sunday's they each got a nickel to buy an ice cream at Rovagna's

Store, a much appreciated treat. As the kids got older, their responsibilities grew. My mother and Uncle Don shared duties in the store, while my Aunt Doris had household responsibilities. This all made sense as my mother and uncle, though
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                                              Don Fingar and Bob Boddy behind the counter.

very different, were the most outgoing of the trio. As the story goes, they had to take turns at the counter when a customer came in. As both had strong opinions, and were rarely wrong, she and her brother were often at odds. My mother was always amazed that when it was my uncle’s turn to wait on a customer, he could turn on the charm with a friendly greeting, politely ask, "How can I help you?" Quite a contrast to my mother's reaction when it was her turn, "what do you want?" After the sale, both would rush back to pick up the disagreement. From what I saw, I think they both enjoyed these uncompromising encounters that continued as long as they lived.
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Brookhaven Constable Jake Baczensky in front of the family store



 
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