Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Old Man Of The Sea

In 1976 a handful of downtown business friends got together and decided to bring fresh seafood to the mountains. The white step-van they purchased made regular trips to the peninsula down in Tidewater, VA, and brought back whatever catch was available along with rock shrimp and other assorted delicacies from the ocean.

The van parked (as seen here in the photo) at the University Mall in front of Peoples Drug (now CVS) and sold out of the back. Business was good.

Eventually the enterprise got a real store front on Progress Street and continued being successful. From this location it moved once again when it was purchased by Keith, who now owns and operates Vintage Cellar, to a spot across from Gables Shopping Center.


  1. I remember that truck very well! I helped them set up the store on Progress but remember being asked if I could sew some curtains.... haha... I never learned to sew. But, I did learn how to gut and scale fish and also filet while there and worked when someone was needed. I also remember how lobsters were dying and we couldn't sell them so we ate so much lobster until I was so sick of it - hard to imagine now! Lastly, we would feed lobster shells and fish to the cats and dogs... man oh man... what a time it was!

  2. Wasn't around much in 1976 so I don't remember the OMOTS van, But Do you remember seeing the Charles Chip truck ? It was parked in the lot across the street from 117 South Main sometimes. I don't remember Charles Chips being the house brand at 117. Now,before it was 117... to be continued.

  3. Charles Chips has been around since the 1950's I think

  4. Left out the date, it was aprox. 1973. A friend of mine was co-owner in the Charles Chip truck, we all hung out at 117 in 1973-75. Knew almost everybody who worked there. Had my 21st B Day there. Do you Remember when the pool table was downstairs on the right as soon as you came in the door ? If those walls could talk !

  5. One of my good friends worked in the Progress Street store and each morning he made fresh chowder. As I walked right past the store on my way to classes, I would stop in and he let me sample the day's chowder in return for my critique. On those cold Blacksburg winter mornings it fortified me on my walk to school.

    In in that same building was a business call Block Prints that sold graphics and posters. Anyone remember that?i