Outlook for 2023: Old news: Sharon News Agency is a 100-year-old family business | News


Sharon news agency 2.jpg

Sharon News Agency owner Toby Abrutz works at the front counter with his daughter, Laura Abrutz. Today, lottery tickets have replaced the longstanding staples of newsstands: books, newspapers, magazines, cigars and cigarettes.

PC-SHN xxb Burle Moonlight.jpg

A 1941 postcard depicting the moon rising over the casino in Buhl Park is one of many vintage local postcards still in storage at the Sharon News Agency, which commissioned the postcard decades later.

pc-SHA State Street Night.jpg

A 1943 postcard looking east on East State Street from the Chenango River Bridge in Sharon is one of many vintage local postcards still in stock at the Sharon News Agency commissioned decades ago.

SHARON – More than 90-year-old Sharon and Hermitage postcards grace the counter at Sharon News Agency.

Postcards are of local landmarks and scenes such as the Buhl Park Casino, downtown Sharon at night, the former Sharon General Hospital, and the Chenango River featuring downtown buildings and the State Street Bridge.

The postcards, which sell for $1, are favorites of the Sharon Historical Society, said owner Toby Abrutz.

The 80-year-old resident of Hubbard, Ohio is about as old as a postcard and no younger than the Sharon News Agency, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2024.

The news agency at 527 E. Silver Street, Sharon is certainly a family affair. Toby’s father, also known as Toby, was transferred to the store, eventually buying the store and her news of the now-closed downtown corner.

Toby’s father worked for Sharon News Agency into his 80s, and the second Toby, now 80, still works the front counter in the afternoon. He has been working at this store since he was 12 years old. These days, his daughter Laura Abrouts, who has been working since she was 12, is also working at the store.

“Our whole neighborhood worked here,” Laura said.

“Everybody in our neighborhood with kids worked here at some point,” said Toby. “They liked to work and get paid.”

The store is open seven days a week and opens daily at 7:30 am. On weekends, it’s open until 3 PM on Saturdays and 1:30 PM on Sundays.

1974 SHN Silverman-014.jpg

The Abrutz family’s corner newsstand was located at West State Street and Water Avenue in downtown Sharon in 1974 and is now home to a McDonald’s restaurant. When the block was used for urban renewal the following year, the newsstand was moved across the street to West State and Porter Way, where it remained until it closed in 2016.

Business is not as profitable as it used to be. Abrutz said he was lucky to own the building, and the downtown building they now rent out was also previously located at 54 W. State St. on Porter Way, Korner News. was.

“There are a lot of small businesses that are not doing well after COVID,” said Toby.

Sharon News Agency is a convenience store that sells lottery tickets, scratch-offs, magazines, newspapers, books, cigarettes, sodas, and snacks.

The walls are lined with celebrity portraits by the late Farrell artist Dan Debonis.

“He was a customer and gave them to my dad, who just framed them and hung them,” Laura said. “They are really nice people.”

Although the store has remained largely the same over the years, a few things about the business have changed during Toby’s nearly 70 years working at the Sharon News Agency.

One thing that was different for Toby was distributing Sunday newspapers. tons of them.

Sharon News Agency 1.jpg

Toby Abrutz, owner of Sharon News Agency, points to old newspaper clippings showing customers queuing outside the store door and around the corner.

“Years ago, we were doing a lot of business because we didn’t have the (Sunday) Herald,” Toby said. “Previously on Saturday night he would get 5,000 of his Vindicators, and they would have to be distributed in batches to all the stores.”

Another change is that the number of customers has decreased.

Sharon News Agency jz2023-02-12_17-27-57_358.jpeg

The Sharon News Agency is now located at East Silver Street and North Oakland Avenue in Sharon, housed in a former grocery store brick building.

John Zavinsky | Herald

“Customers were lined up around the block,” Toby said, pointing to a newspaper clipping on the wall to prove his statement.

“Convenience stores have lotteries, so it’s quite different,” says Toby. “People go to different places that change their appearance.”

Laura said that every time she sells lottery tickets, she tries to sell the winner.

“We want to sell the winner so we can make a fuss,” Laura said. “I was like, ‘We’re going to be the winners.'”

Follow Melissa Klaric on Twitter @HeraldKlaric or send an email to: mklaric@sharonherald.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content