A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

History: Bell Beef Company (Foodtown)

This ad for the Bell Beef Company appeared in the 1 May 1936 issue of The Matawan Journal
The Foodtown store in downtown Matawan went out of business in September 1993. According to the 22 September 1993 edition pp 1, 6, of The Independent, the Bell Meat Market operated at the same spot on Main Street until 1951, when the Bell family joined the Foodtown grocery store chain. The last managers of the store - Calvin Bell and his son, Scot - found that the store could not compete with the larger supermarkets in the area, especially the big discounters, like Price Club in Hazlet.

The above article said the butchers opened their shop in 1916, but the first sign I could find of the company was in 1920.  The 6 May 1920 edition of The Matawan Journal, page 5, announced the impending opening of a new butcher shop in Matawan called the Bell Beef Company.  Mr Belafsky and son had recently purchased the building from William Arrowsmith.

Abram Belafsky, a 63-year-old Russian Jew, was a butcher living at 79 Main Street in Matawan with his 49-year-old German wife, Rose, according to the 1920 Federal Census, which was enumerated on 3 January 1920.

Samuel Bell, a 37-year-old butcher from New Jersey with Russian parents lived at 115 Main Street in Matawan with his 32-year-old wife Gussie and sons Martin (8) and Calvin (3), according to the 1930 Federal Census, enumerated 25 April 1930. Samuel was a 27-year-old US Marine living in a military barracks on St Thomas, the Virgin Islands for the 1920 Federal Census.

The 7 May 1926 edition of The Matawan Journal, page 5, made the following announcement:
     H A Eigard has signed a four-year lease with the Bell Beef Company, to whom he sold the corner where his butcher shop is located. Mr Eigard expects to continue his market.

This ad for the Bell Beef Company Supermarket appeared in The Matswan Journal on 4 May 1950.
The 17 May 1973 edition of The Matawan Journal, page 1, discussed the latest Borough Council meeting. The article mentioned a controversial liquor license transfer involving "Foodtown, known locally as the Bell Beef Company" and the Cork and Bottle, also located on Main Street. The borough granted the transfer in name but not in place., in part because Matawan Wine & Liquors was right next door to Foodtown.

This ad for Bell's Market appeared in The Matawan Journal on 25 May 1961.
Matawan and Aberdeen: Of Town and Field, by Helen Henderson of the Matawan Historical Society, page 142, published in 2003, provides a brief history of the Foodtown property.


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