Remember when there was a Studebaker dealership in Redlands?
Richard Foerster does, and he recognized both the business and the men behind it in last week’s photo.
“I recognize the A.C. Almind Studebaker dealership on the east side of Orange Street, just north of the railroad tracks,” Foerster wrote in an email.
“The older man on the left is Arthur Clayton Almind and I believe the other man is his son John Clayton Almind who was known as Jerry. The picture was taken about 1964,” he wrote.
“Working for this dealership as a `lot boy’ was the first job I had after graduating from Redlands High School in 1962. Although that was nearly 50 years ago, I still have many memories of that happy time.
“I was still working there in late 1963 or early 1964, while attending San Bernardino Valley College, when Studebaker moved production from South Bend, Ind., to Canada. About that same time the Almind dealership was moved to the former Lange and Runkel Chevrolet dealership buildings on Citrus Avenue near the downtown post office,” Foerster wrote.
“Later the Alminds built a new dealership on Redlands Boulevard, east of Tennessee Street, for the new Toyota franchise they acquired to replace Studebaker after its demise.
“The dealership was later sold to Tom Bell, who operated the Toyota dealership there until the current facilities were completed near the Empire Bowl,” Foerster wrote.
“The vacated Studebaker dealership became a school of cosmetology and later a business known as Cabin Craft before being demolished for the Vons/Trader Joe’s shopping center that occupies that spot today,” he wrote.
Foerster is right on all counts, including approximately when the photo was taken. It was part of an advertisement printed Nov. 4, 1963, in the Redlands Daily Facts.
The ad was in a section of stories about Redlands’ history, in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the city’s incorporation. And the 1963 photo of A.C. Almind and his son Jerry is superimposed on a copy of a 1921 ad for Redlands’ Gray & Almind Studebaker dealership at Fourth and State streets.
The caption for the 1963 photo is: “A.C. Almind, who has been selling Studebakers for 42 years, and his son, Jerry, currently associated with him.”
The 1921 ad features the Studebaker Big Six – “was $2095, now $1935.”
The 1963 ad says, “Priced at $1935 back in 1921, the Studebaker was a great buy. And now, during Jubilee Week, the Studebaker Lark `Challenger’ two-door sedan shown below – specially priced for this week only at $1935 plus tax and license – is an even greater buy! Regular retail price of the `Challenger’ is $2065 – lower than it was back then – and worth looking into at this special price.”
According to the 1963 ad, the dealership’s address was 402 Orange St.
Almind’s business may have moved around town a few times, but a comparison of the 1921 and 1963 ads suggests that the Studebaker dealership kept the same phone number through the moves and changes in phone systems.
In 1921 the phone number was Main 211. In 1963 it was 792-5211.
And that phone number followed the Alminds to their Toyota dealership at 1429 W. Redlands Blvd., according to the 1970 Redlands phone book.
I don’t remember that phone number, but I remember a Toyota that came from the Redlands Boulevard lot.
The car my father bought from A.C. Almind Toyota in the summer of 1971 took me to college in Northern California that fall and made many trips up and down the California coast and to neighboring states in the 18 years my family had it.
And it’s the car I drove to work when I joined the staff of the Daily Facts in 1986.
Next week: More about the Alminds.
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