The Life And Death Of Historic Alliance Store – July 13, 2010

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Alliance Store in June, 1982. Photo by Don Mahler

Kevin L. Hoover

Eye Editor

ARCATA – During Humboldt’s setttlement era, mule teams which had provisioned at Brizard’s in what is now Jacoby’s Storehouse used to stop at Alliance Corners to adjust their loads before continuing the journey north.

Not too many mule teams frequent the area now, and commerce at the intersection of Alliance Road and Spear Avenue is limited to the Petro Mart/Gas4Less, which focuses mostly on the basics of modern existence – beer, microwave burritos and gas. But even as late as the 1990s, the Alliance Store across the street was a bustling concern and something of a cultural center for Arcata Bottom residents.

Don Kolshinski, now retired, remembers working there as a lad in the 1950s. He did a little bit of everything, from running the reg to stocking the meat case and pumping gas.

Dudley Sacchi managed the place, and got on well with the area’s farmers and ranchers. “They all had charge accounts,” Kolshinski said. At the end of the month, he said, they had the option to roll a set of dice and pay double or nothing for their grocery tab. But those who paid their bill were treated to some of the Arcata Bottoms’ finest product – a half-gallon of free ice cream.

“I hated changing the darn light bulbs,” Kolshinski said. “Billy Sacchi would shake the ladder. I’m standing up there with him shaking that ladder – I was scared.”

But moments of vertigo aside, Don misses the store just as he does so many other bygone Arcata institutions. “It was a lot of fun,” he said. “I wish that store was still going.”

Alliance Store, July, 2010. KLH | Eye

Since it burned partly down on Sept. 29, 2008, the Alliance Store building has sat vacant and unreconstructed, to the dismay of the City and some citizens.

“It’s been too long,” said Community Development Director Larry Oetker. “It was a valuable part of the Arcata Bottom development. But even without the historical context, it’s beginning to be a blight on the neighborhood.”

His department sent owner John Toste a letter offering City assistance in exploring options for restoring the building.

Toste declined comment, saying only that “something is in the works.”

As seen in the realty listing.

That “something” could be a sale to someone interested in bringing the place back to life. The property is listed on California Lifestyles Realty’s website as being for sale with an asking price of $349,000. Accompanying the listing is a photo of the building before it sustained fire damage, with “Alliance Maket” [sic] photoshopped onto its façade.

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8 Responses to “The Life And Death Of Historic Alliance Store – July 13, 2010”

  1. Cheryl Nelson Stonebarger

    Alliance Market was a part of my whole life growing up. In Grammer school I remember taking bottles there to cash in for candy, the sawdust on the floor of the butcher area, my parents filling up with gas, etc.

    My father (Roy Nelson) and Mr. Stromberg were a huge part of building the sub-divisions in that area. The house I grew up in was one of the first in the Pacific Manor, but before that, my brother and sisters lived on Alliance Rd., so I know they have many memories of Alliance Market too. Sure hope someone can save it.

  2. DanO

    That’s interesting that the guys who were growing marijuana in there have not built a McMansion there compleate with a ten foot cinderblock wall around the property to keep the so called undesirable’s out. I mean I was a transplant from LA and the whole 35 years I lived in Bumboldt I was treated like an outsider and an undesirable. Why are they not continuing on with this tradition of treating persons from anywhere other than Arcata, Blue Lake and Portugal like shit?

  3. I haven’t done a survey, but many, if not most of the people in Arcata’s cultural, business and education community and government came from elsewhere. It’s a meritocracy. If you come here to make a living and maybe even contribute something to the community, you will be well received. If you come here to set up a grow, harsh the neighbors and burn up a building or generally just be a problem child, don’t expect a lot of gratitude. I imagine that applies anywhere.

  4. DanO

    like right here Kevpod sounds like you have a guilty concience and are taking the offensve to cover your own mistakes. That’s typical criminal behaivior very common amongst used car dealers, cops and crooks. Deflecting critisizm away from youself acusing others of being “bad”. Hey why doncha get a pretty new haircut and some clothes from Bayshore Mall so little old ladies will think your pretty and you can cry fowl when someone calls you on your shit and you can say you feel threatend and intimidated by the “BIG” dirty logger/fisherman
    go to hell

  5. DanO

    Hey KEVPOD how is it you can pay for space in Jacoby storehouse the most expensive commercial real estate in Humboldt as a start up newspaper?

    Is it the little women at the library you hide behind who are paying for it? Or is it you have a secret Garden on Blue Slide down in GOOBERVILLIANAIRE CHUGGING oLOYS AND READING UP ON THE gOSPEL DRUNK ONE DEAY RIGHTIOS THE NEXT

    Hey I heard Portugal legalized Gay marriage if you are so desperate for affection why doncha juswt move to the Azorries and leave well enough alone

  6. DanO

    Sounds to me like someone needs a 12 step meeting at the Blue Blood Presbertarian church(they got the lgbt Preacher now too so you feel safe) and an Audit from the I.R.S. L.O.L. be seein Ya’ll around

  7. And they say the art of correspondence is dead.

    DanO, it is my impression that you’ve answered for yourself the question posed in your first comment.

  8. Dayton Dave

    Hi Kevpod,
    Sounds like one of Arcata’s “screaming denziens” have learned how to go to the Library and use the computers there. I’ve never been to Arcata, but judging from the Police Log articles, it sounds like there’s a lot of weirdos there (including ol’ DanO…). I’m sure the normal, nice people there outnumber the weirdos, but the Police Log is a never-ending source of amusement to me and my friends here in Ohio. Good luck with the store, by the way. I’m sure someone will come along and restore it.


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