OUR OVER 60 SERIES - YEARS OF HISTORY, FACTS & PHOTOS ALL ABOUT THE RAY FAMILY BUSINESS
Our newest Over 60 Series is part 3 of The Old Farm Market – The Final Days. This one was a tough one for me to do. It has been almost 12 years since The Old Farm Market officially closed, but to me it still seems like yesterday,
I guess it always will.
No one was more dedicated, worked harder and sacrificed more to build a business than our family. For 39 years we pushed hard every single day to make it all happen. Happen it did! From the start back in 1973, in a shack, on top of a hill…to one of the largest, nicest farm markets/greenhouses anywhere in the entire United States. For a business to be open for 39+ years says a lot. It says that you were doing a lot of things right. For all that we did as a family and as a company I will always be very, very proud.
They always say that all good things must come to an end…..
in this case, the end should have never happened.
A lot more to read inside here. Enjoy!
Another fun one....Our over 60 series today is Part Two about the Trucks, Cars & Racing stuff we have on display at both of our stores in Speedway, IN. As we share the history and memories about our family business, we also wanted to share a few pictures and stories about some of the cool pieces that we have accumulated over the years. Enjoy!
Here is a little photo history of the different buildings & locations of our Family business over the years. These pictures show the past to the present of our business. From the start at Charlie's Market to The Hilltop Market, The Old Farm Market, The Old Farm Market Express to the current, The Famous Tomato and The Famous Soda & Candy Company. Enjoy!
THE PROPS (PART 2)
This is Part Two of our Props & Displays. These are some of the many collectibles that we have on display @The Famous Tomato as well as The Famous Soda & Candy Company. As we share the history and memories about our family business, we also wanted to share some of the many display pieces that we have accumulated over the last 60 years. Most are old and some are new....some are for sale, some are not. You never know what you will see on display at our stores. We love to collect and display cool things from the past. We will have a couple more in this series coming soon! We hope that you enjoy the memories that some of these items might bring to you!
After Charlie's Market in Indy, the move was on to Hendricks County to The Hilltop Market from the 1970s into the early 1980s. This place was a classic 'fruit market', all outside, very few coolers and great flowers & fresh produce every single day. It was packed all Summer long. I remember as a kid running around with my brother Jim, cutting through the back woods and going to play on the haunted bridge. Although very few pictures exist, I do remember almost everyone that worked there. Sometime in the late 1970s the name changed to Old Farm Market as my Dad bought out his partner. The 1979-80 season would be the last time the Hilltop was open, as the expansion of US HWY 36 from two lanes to four lanes went right through the middle of the property. When the road was complete the giant hill would be gone too. By1980 my Dad was building a new building on US HWY 36 and the new Old Farm Market would open in 1981.
Our over 60 Series is Part 2 about The Old Farm Market. This one is called 'The Big Years'. (Between 2001-2008 apx). I called it this because everything got bigger at this time. With the growth of Avon, along with all of our hard work and dedication, our business had exploded. Our facility exploded too. We added more property, several acres behind us & we also acquired the corner lot to our east as well. We were working our asses off, we had great people working with us and we were flying. My Dad was so proud. He would drive around the property in one of our golf carts. We had several acres of greenhouses out back & it was too far for him to walk. I'd see him & ask "what are you doing Dad?" and he would always say "I'm just admiring my empire." puff on his big cigar and drive away. Ha Those were BEST of TIMES! I miss him every single day. He worked so hard for so many years, I am sure he never dreamed of anything quite like this. We'll we did it & it really was beautiful that he got to be part of it. Looking back now....I know it really did bring him great joy as he drove around on that golf cart!
Enjoy these very special memories that I have of our past...in The Ray Family Business.
Stay tuned as Part 3 will be coming soon! Thank you all!
With so many memories & all of the history of our family business, this is also one of my favorites - The history of Our 'Giant' Pumpkin. This is very similar to the series about our tomato from last week, as they both came to us together many years ago. From an advertisement billboard, to a farm in Danville, IN to The Old Farm Market in Avon and on to Speedway, IN. There have been several variations painted of the face over time, however this is the original Pumpkin. This 'Famous' GIANT PUMPKIN has been part of our history and a Fall Tradition for 1000s of children & their families for over 35 years! I hope you enjoy!
At OURS STORES IN SPEEDWAY (PART 2)
To The Good Old Days!
THE PROPS (PART 1)
OUR WALL OF FAME (OUR KITCHEN) PART 1
Next up in our Over 60 Series is The Early Years of The Old Farm Market. The HWY 36 expansion had demolished The Hilltop so in 1981 my Dad had to relocate the business. He settled on a piece of property in the middle of a cornfield on Rockville Rd. Remember back then it was nothing but cornfields. He built a 40' x 60' pole barn and a greenhouse to match. I remember him saying "How will we ever fill this huge building?" Well, we out grew it almost immediately. By the time we were done we had added over 12 acres & built on at least 6 times. This was all at a time when I was old enough to start working a lot, so the memories seem like yesterday to me. They were some of the very best of times! I worked with my Mom, Dad, Grandma & my brother Jim. We worked so hard & so many hours.....We were truly building a 'family' business & it became legendary! This is Part One of The Old Farm Market. We will have much more to come very soon. This is a special one....I hope you enjoy!
As a small child in 1960s my Grandpa Gordon had a small independent grocery store on the Westside of Indy called Gordon’s Regal. I always remember going there with my Mom and visiting my Grandparents at their store. Mainly I did a lot of running around and playing, as kids do. However, something had always stuck with me about that old place & ever since my childhood I have always had a dream of bringing an old building back to its past, something just like my Grandpa had. In 2015 I had a thought of starting a vintage candy/soda shop. I explored many old buildings in Indy and just happened to stumble on the old Zink building, sitting empty on Main St. right here is Speedway and right around the corner from our Famous Tomato store. Guess what….it was originally built as a grocery store in 1929! Perfect! In 2016 the transformation began. Taking an old building, an original grocery store turned office space, back into the glory of its past. This is part 1, the early days of The Famous Soda & Candy Company. Enjoy!
THE OLD FARM MARKET - THE FINAL DAYS & The Bitter End
This is part 3 of our series on The Famous Soda & Candy Company on Main St. Here are many pictures we took in 2016/2017 while finishing up our project on the Bland - Zink building. This was my dream, but I couldn't have done it without a lot of help from my great family & friends! On May 8th, 2017, almost one year after we started working, we opened for business. The Famous Soda & Candy Company was born on Main St. & This beautiful old building was back to being a store again. Just like in 1929! Enjoy!
At OURS STORES IN SPEEDWAY (PART 1)
THE BUILDINGS & LOCATIONS OVER THE YEARS
TAKING THINGS BACK....(PART 2)
THE CARS, TRUCKS & RACING Stuff
Another piece of our history. This is part 1 of some of the photographs we have hanging in our 'Wall of Fame' (our kitchen)
@The Famous Tomato in Speedway. Many are of employees, (both past and present), family, friends and some are just us being silly! Each day these walls remind us of all of the great memories we have shared with so many people over the years. I often think....what if we have a fire, or close or what if we ever sell the place....I could never leave all of this history and all of these pictures behind. Although it is just our kitchen...it really is a very special place to us, because of all the memories that are here! Enjoy!
THE OLD FARM MARKET - THE EARLY YEARS (PART 1)
TAKING THINGS BACK TO 1929 IN 2016 (PART 1)
@THE FAMOUS SODA & CANDY COMPANY
With so many memories & all of the history of our family business, this is probably one of my favorites - The history of Our 'Giant' Tomato. From an advertisement billboard, to a farm in Danville, IN to The Old Farm Market in Avon and on to Speedway, IN. For approximately 35 years it has been part of our history. I would have never dreamed that this old tomato would eventually change my life!
There is a lot here to read....as this is the story of our 'Famous' Tomato! I hope you enjoy this one!
Charlie's Market on W. Washington St. is where it all started. My Dad had grown up in the fresh produce business, but this was his first shot at having his very own store. I was in grade school at St. Anthony's right down the street, so I was around the store a lot. There are not many pictures from back then, but many great memories. The Indianapolis Star ran a picture of Carl S. painting a sign outside....they used buttermilk as paint for the letters back then. Washington High School winning the State Championship in 1965 & again in 1969. Roger was one of my Dad's first employees and he was a State Champ! Roy was always there trying to take me for a ride on his motorcycle...I would run and hide every time I saw him! ha! I remember several of the employees from back then, but mainly Roy & Roger. They are a huge part of our history and of our family! I am so lucky, as they both stop in The Famous Tomato to check up on me often. They tell stories about my Dad and the memories they have from Charlie's Market and beyond. They have always been there, through all of the years and at all of our stores. I could listen to their stories all day long! They are truly legends, and these were legendary times on the Westside of Indy for sure. Enjoy!
THE OLD FARM MARKET Express
THINGS THAT TAKE ME BACK.....
As I look around the store every morning, I can look at a sign, a prop or even a product and it takes me back. It brings back a special memory of someone or of something. Most days I think of the people who have taught me so much. To most people these are just old cool items that decorate our stores….to me most of them have a special meaning. Sorting though 1000s of pictures while doing this series has also made me think of many special people that have inspired me in business & in life. Here are just a few that I think about almost every day.
The memories that come to me while being at the store.
I hope you enjoy!
THE CARS, TRUCKS & RACING Stuff
HOW WE BECAME THE FAMOUS TOMATO
THE STORY OF OUR 'GIANT' PUMPKIN
More of our history in pictures. This is part 2 of some of the pictures we have hanging in our 'Wall of Fame' (our kitchen) and through out the store @The Famous Tomato in Speedway.
Many are of employees, (both past and present), family, friends and some are just us being silly! Each day these walls remind us of all of the great memories we have shared with so many people over the years. We hope you enjoy today's series.
Our over 60 series is about The Old Farm Market EXPRESS in Speedway, IN.
Driving home one day from our Avon store, I got stopped at the light at 10th & Winton. Living in Speedway for many years, I rarely drove this route to or from work. For some reason on that day, I did. Waiting for the light to change, made me look a little closer at that old empty building on the corner. I knew it had been sitting empty for several years now. We already had a plan in place for the next phase of our business, and this would be a perfect place to get it started. Although we never fully quite got to the end that we had envisioned …I have to say that I am very proud that we were looking ahead…we just didn’t see what was coming in the near future…..nobody did. This one has a lot to read & many pictures. Proud of what we did here & very thankful to be accepted & welcomed so warmly by the Town of Speedway back in 2006.
This is a fun one....Our over 60 series today is all about the Trucks, Cars & Racing stuff we have on display at both of our stores in Speedway, IN. As we share the history and memories about our family business, we also wanted to share a few pictures and stories about some of the cool pieces that we have accumulated over the years. A lot of our displays are racing related. We have tons of racing pictures & signs hanging around the stores, but we also have a few very unique racing pieces as well. This is part one. There will be more to come in the next few days. Enjoy!
THE THRILL ON THE HILL - THE HILLTOP MARKET
THE STORY OF OUR 'FAMOUS' GIANT TOMATO
CHARLIE'S MARKET 1960s to 1970s
THE OLD FARM MARKET - THE BIG YEARS (PART 2)
OUR WALL OF FAME (OUR KITCHEN) & BEYOND PART 2
TAKING THINGS BACK... (PART 3)
THE COMPLETION OF THE FAMOUS SODA & CANDY COMPANY
This is part 2 of our series on The Famous Soda & Candy Company on Main St. Here are a lot of pictures we took in 2016 after we took apart the office and as we started putting things back to how they were in the past. Making the Bland - Zink building old again! We will have a part 3 to this series coming soon with pictures of how it all turned out! Enjoy!
Our over 60 years series today is about our 'Props' @The Famous Tomato in Speedway. As we share the history and memories about our family business, we also wanted to share some of the many display pieces that we have accumulated over the years. Most are old and some are new....some are for sale, some are not. From old scoreboards to old wooden fruit crates, old candy boxes, old coke machines, old pay phones to 2 giant Indy 500 race cars.......we even have a 4' Marlboro light up sign & we have never even sold cigarettes! You never know what you will see on display at our stores. We love to collect and display cool things from the past. This is only part one of our 'props' & display pieces, we will have several more coming soon! We hope that you enjoy the memories that some of these items might bring to you!