Archives for April 2014

The Carmazzi’s Story Continues in Downtown Urbana, Ohio

The sun shone brightly Saturday on the ribbon cutting and open house that marked the beginning of a new chapter in Urbana, Ohio’s oldest downtown business, Carmazzi’s Deli and Candy Store. I offer you a recap of the celebration in photos. And if you haven’t read it already, check out my original post on the continuation of Carmazzi’s 121-year tradition under new ownership.

Carmazzi's Corner, Urbana, Ohio

John Carmazzi, and his wife, Michelle, at left, with new owners Jeff and Teresa Donay, who will continue the Carmazzi’s tradition begun 121 years ago by John’s great uncle Sam Bianchi.

Jeff Donay cuts the ribbon to mark the store's transition to its new name, Carmazzi's Corner, a tribute to the Carmazzi family's many years of dedicated service to their customers and community.

Jeff Donay cuts the ribbon to mark the store’s transition to its new name, Carmazzi’s Corner, a tribute to the Carmazzi family’s many years of dedicated service to their customers and community.

Carmazzi's tantalizing selection of classic candies will continue to draw kids and the young at heart.

Carmazzi’s tantalizing selection of classic candies will continue to draw kids and the young at heart.

Carmazzi's Corner also introduces some new features, including Young's Jersey Dairy ice cream and sandwiches, salads and desserts make by store manager Nanette Hagan.

Carmazzi’s Corner also introduces some new features, including Young’s Jersey Dairy ice cream and store manager Nanette Hagan’s sandwiches, salads and desserts.

The Carmazzi's magnetism continues.... Visit their new website.

And the Carmazzi’s magnetism goes on…. Visit their new website.

Disc Golf Adds New Spin to Easter Tradition – and Urbana, Ohio, Park

My family enjoyed traditional Easter observances Sunday – a sunrise service and breakfast led by the youth of the Urbana United Methodist Church, followed by contemporary and traditional worship celebrations, a big, delicious family dinner at Kay’s mom’s house, and the egg and candy hunt in her back yard.

Alex watches as Andy makes his approach shot.

Alex watches as Andy makes his approach.

Then we veered off course. That would be to the new 18-hole Urbana Hilltop Disc Golf Course at Urbana’s Melvin Miller Park.

All but our sons, Andy and Alex, were new to the sport. They started playing in college, Andy at Ohio Northern University and Alex at Mount Vernon Nazarene University.

Another Ohio Northern alum, Tyler Bumbalough, Urbana’s city engineer, oversaw development of the course last year – his project while enrolled in the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Champaign County program.

The Urbana Hilltop Disc Golf Course offered fun, quality family time.

The Urbana Hilltop Disc Golf Course offered fun, quality family time.

A Community Project

Bumbalough, however, never played disc golf until this project. He’s more of an ultimate Frisbee aficionado. Disc golfer Keith Smith of Urbana, tired of having to go out of town for his sport, initially brought the idea for the course to city officials. He and Gene Newcomer assisted Bumbalough.

Construction, with the help of volunteers, started last spring and was mostly complete in the fall. Local businesses and individuals have sponsored the course. They are credited on signs at each of the disc golf tees.

No. 1 Tee sign at Urbana Hilltop Disc Golf Course.

No. 1 Tee sign at Urbana Hilltop Course.

The first tee is downhill from the shelter house on the east end of Melvin Miller Park. A welcome sign will soon be erected there. Other improvements are planned as well.

Disc golf diehards, though, have had no trouble finding the course. You can find details about the par 59, 5,185-foot layout online at DG Course Review.

Library Loans Discs

This card shows the contents of the disc golf sets that can be borrowed from the Champaign County Library.

This card shows the contents of the disc golf sets that can be borrowed from the Champaign County Library.

To help you try out the new course, the Champaign County Library recently purchased two sets of discs. With a library card you can check out a set for two weeks. To give more people a chance to borrow them, the library is not permitting renewals.

Each set includes seven discs, enough for two people to share around the course.

Since Andy and Alex were the only ones with their own discs, we borrowed a set from the library. As luck would have it, one of the discs got stuck high up in a tree. Much of the course is hilly and wooded.

Disc-eating tree on Fairway 8. Two-by-four just missed on this rescue attempt.

Disc-eating tree on Fairway 8. Two-by-four overshot the target on this rescue attempt.

But thanks to Alex, and to the relief of his mother, who works at the library, we returned home with all seven discs.  After several throws, Alex dislodged the disc with a piece of two-by-four found in the woods off the fairway.

Give ’er a Try

Anyway, a fun time was had by all on a beautiful Easter afternoon, on a well-designed and challenging disc golf course – a fantastic addition to a beautiful municipal park that already offers a wealth of recreational opportunities.

My nephew Evan Hall goes for the basket.

My nephew Evan Hall goes for the basket.

My mother-in-law, Sue Markley, tees off.

My mother-in-law, Sue Markley, tees off.

Try it out and report back.

 

 

 

 

121 Years and Counting … A Downtown Urbana, Ohio, Business Tradition Lives On

Carmazzi’s Deli & Candy Store, the oldest retail business in downtown Urbana, Ohio, recently ended a 121-year run of family ownership.SONY DSC

However, a ribbon cutting at noon Saturday, April 26 – and grand reopening celebration from 11:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. – will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the business’s continuing tradition. More about the celebration at the end of this post.

Jeff Donay, who recently bought Carmazzi’s from third-generation owner John Carmazzi, has made a few updates to the store with new store manager Nanette Hagan. New paint. Rearranged shelving and merchandise. And some new offerings that you’ll find at the grand reopening.

And Much Is Unchanged

There’s still the bountiful selection of candy that’s attracted kids and young at heart for many years. The store still offers special order fruit baskets. And the iconic gold “Carmazzi’s” lettering, seen by generations, is still arrayed in an arc on the window of downtown Urbana’s oldest building. The red brick Federalist-style structure has anchored the southwest corner of the town square since 1811. For a brief stint it served as military headquarters during the War of 1812.

John and Michelle Carmazzi of Urbana, Ohio

John Carmazzi and his wife, Michelle.

John Carmazzi is thankful to have found someone to continue the tradition. “Jeff Donay likes the history of it,” John said. “I sold it to the right person…. And it’s so good that we have so many people who appreciate our downtown and want to keep it going.”

Donay, a chiropractor who opened his practice in Urbana in 1991, had been looking for property to invest in. He thought he had found one, but suddenly it sold. “Maybe God had other plans,” he said.

Along came the Carmazzi’s building, and he knew he had found more than a property investment.

And he knew just the person to manage the store.

When Nanette Hagan came into his office for an appointment one day, he asked her what she thought of the idea. “Her eyes lit up,” he remembers.

Nanette Hagan, Carmazzi's Deli and Candy Store manager, Urbana, Ohio

Nanette Hagan, the new manager of Carmazzi’s.

Dream Fulfilled

“It’s always been a dream of mine to have a food establishment – an outlet for my different talents and creativity,” she said. She runs a catering and baking business, Nanette’s Country Kitchen, and often shares her creations with Dr. Donay’s staff. (Check out her cookbook.)

During the grand reopening celebration she’ll begin selling her sandwiches and salads at Carmazzi’s – along with ice cream from Young’s Jersey Dairy of Yellow Springs.

Hagan fondly remembers the candy store two doors from her grandparents’ house when she was growing up in Iowa. “It was the coolest thing. They would give me a quarter, and I’d walk over by myself and fill a bag. That’s the kind of tradition I want to continue here.”

Frank Carmazzi (in apron) stands proudly in the store that's become an Urbana landmark.

Frank Carmazzi (in apron) stands proudly in the store that’s become an Urbana landmark.

In Good Hands

For John Carmazzi, the transition is bittersweet. But he’s relieved the store is in good hands. At 80, he had become concerned about Carmazzi’s future. While his niece Janet Todd continues to work there, no one in the family was ready to take over the reins and continue what John’s great-uncle, Sam Bianchi, started in 1893, as Bianchi’s Fruit Store.

John’s father, Frank, and mother, Victoria, Mr. Bianchi’s niece, bought the business in 1931, giving it their name – and hours of hard work. They would clear $5, on a good day, during the Great Depression. They ran the store together until Mr.Carmazzi’s death in 1944. John, his brother, Bob, and sister, Rosemary, grew up working alongside them. Two subsequent generations have also worked in the store.

John Carmazzi and his mother, Victoria, in the store in 1974.

John Carmazzi and his mother, Victoria, in the store in 1974.

John, who started waiting on customers before he could see over the counter, acquired the store from his mother in 1952.

Now, as the tradition continues, the store will pay tribute to its heritage with a display that includes an old cash register and scales brought out of storage, as well as photos and other memorabilia.

 

Grand Reopening and Ribbon Cutting

Be sure to be in on the celebration of Carmazzi’s grand reopening Saturday, April 26, 11:45 a.m. to 8 p.m. Ribbon cutting at noon.

Grand Reopening Specials: First 100 children through the door on Saturday will receive a free piece of candy. A free small bag of chips or can of pop with every salad or sandwich purchase through May 3.

Location: 100 S. Main St., Urbana, Ohio

Phone: 937-653-7443

New Store Hours

Sunday-Thursday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Carmazzi’s: A Taste of Ohio Folklore

The Ohio State University Center for Folklore Studies includes Carmazzi’s in its FolkOhio Archives. Stroll through the online archives, and you’ll find other familiar local treasures – from Freshwater Farms of Ohio to Mumford’s Potato Chips and Crabill’s Hamburgers.

For a previous Champaign Uncorked! post about Carmazzi’s, click here.