Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mish Mish

In February 1970 a group of Tech Architecture students joined forces, borrowed $300, and opened a store in a 2nd story spot on Roanoke street called Mish Mish.

The name evolved in an interesting way. In keeping with "fruity" names of the day, like Apple Records and perhaps even thinking of Strawberry Alarm Clock, Moby Grape, etc., one of the partners suggested they form Apricot Enterprises. Well, as it turns out, a professor of theirs must have known some Arabic because he pointed out to them that the word "apricot" translated to "mish mish" in that language. Thus a unique store name was born.

Now after more than 40 years and four different store locations Mish Mish is still a thriving, vital part of downtown Blacksburg, providing supplies for architects, designers, artists, engineers, and the like ..... and not just for students.

The photo used here is their third site under the parking lot at the corner of Draper and Jackson. Just before that they were tucked back in the adjacent alley near the rear door of the Lyric Theater.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Studio One Theater

In the early 1970's the Lyric Theater got some competition in the form of the new Studio One Theater up on the hill. Perhaps it was in response to the growing population of the college as well as the many cutting edge movies being released.

This cinema was located in the building that now houses Ceritano's restaurant. You can still see where the ticket booth was located on the front left, angled slightly ahead of the entrance doors. Just inside was a lobby and concession stand, along with auditorium entrances on the left and right ... a typical design. The new seats were quite cushy and the showings were mostly first run movies, along with the occasional late night X-rated flick.
Do you remember when "streaking" was popular in the 70's? Yep, there was at least one streaking incident that I know of inside the theater, and possibly more.

In the street photo above you can just make out the marquee on the right. I wish I had a better shot. Can anyone tell what is playing?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A Simpler Time

With all the construction currently taking place downtown, this seemed like a good time to remember what passing through town used to look like.

Forty years ago there were less than half the number of students at VPI .... the same goes for the town population. This photo might have been the extent of the heavy traffic on any given day. What is amusing to me is that anytime I see an old movie or photo from the late 60's into the early 70's you always see a VW Beetle in the scene.

Who knows where the folks in these cars were headed? Radford Brothers grocery? (which became Wades, which became the YMCA Thrift store) .... much beyond that there was little commercialism, and you felt like you were starting to get WAY away from town.

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.