Woodie Schramm came to Bremen from Warsaw in 1944 and bought the Home Cash Grocery from Lester Koontz. In 2014, Woodie’s son Charles gave a History Chat talk at the Bremen History Center on the history of the business and provided photos and additional information incorporated here. Our thanks to Charles and all the folks at Woodie’s!
Charles notes that he misspoke about the location of Strack & Van Til (they are in northwest Indiana) and says: “We were with Certified Grocers for 30 years and are now with Central Grocers.”
Click the right and left arrows on the image below to see a slideshow of Woodie’s photos and newspaper clippings. Click in the middle to see the image in the Historic Bremen Flickr account.
Before Woodie’s was Woodie’s
The business Woodie Schramm bought in 1944 is much older than you might think.
Around 1876, Frederick Ponader (1845-1914), a carpenter recently emigrated from Germany, opened a bakery and restaurant on E Plymouth street in a large frame building where the stone-fronted Mutti building now stands (Bremen Family Martial Arts and the Masonic Temple). By 1885, he’d added a grocery and then dry goods, building a business rivaled only by J R Dietrich’s department store across the street.
Ervin Foltz (1889-1942) [photo] worked for Ponader before serving in WW1. In 1922, he bought in as a partner, and in 1926 he bought out the business. (Ponader later bought Forrest Haenes’ grocery and part of Charles Kettering’s Bremen Poster Advertising company.)
Foltz changed the name to E C Foltz & Co. He scaled back the business somewhat but continued to carry clothing and other items in addition to groceries. In 1932, the Ponader building burned down. Foltz soon reopened as a grocery in a building on W Plymouth St.
Lester Koontz bought the store from Ervin Foltz in 1943. He called it “Home Cash Grocery”. This is the business and location that Woodie Schramm bought in 1945.