Burt Saltzman Interview, 12 July 2006

Burt Saltzman, owner of Dave's Supermarket, discusses the evolution of his family business in the Cleveland area and how demographic, economic, and environmental changes have impacted his industry. Burt explains his family history, memories of living and operating in Cleveland, business philosophy, interesting narratives, and predictions for the future of the grocery industry. Despite the dynamic changes throughout Cleveland's history, Dave's has endured where many have failed.

Participants: Saltzman, Burt (interviewee) / King, Kris (interviewer) / Overman, Mary-Kay (interviewer)
Collection: Academy of American History
Institutional Repository: Cleveland Regional Oral History Collection

Interview Transcript

Kris King [00:00:00] We're all set. All right, I'm Chris King, and I'm working with Mary-Kay Overman, Cleveland State University, on this oral history project. And today's date is July 12. That's right. All right, Mister Saltzman, thank you very much for coming in today to talk with us. And thank you for all the food, too. That was very kind. It must be because you have Dave's Supermarket. And as you started to tell us before, you have a picture of the first store in 1929. Talk about that.

Burt Saltzman [00:00:38] Actually, our grandpa had a small fruit and vegetable market, actually, right in the same location where our number one store is on Payne Avenue. And I think the date is kind of unclear. It's somewhere in the 1929 30, 31. Right around that era. He opened up. He started out as a huckster. A huckster. Somebody that went at a truck. And he went from place to place, selling his produce, driving up and down the streets. And then he opened up a small strictly, probably about half the size of this room, if I have to guess. And he opened up a small fruit and vegetable market at East 33rd and Payne Avenue. My father, my grandmother, and my grandfather were separated. So my father was with my grandmother for a while. And then he came here to Cleveland from Toledo. And he joined my grandfather, and they started. He joined them in the business. I believe it had to be sometime in the early 1930s, because then he got married, and I was born in 1937. I'm just trying to put these dates together. I assume it was somewhere in the early 1930s that he joined my grandfather and started working with him.

Kris King [00:02:14] Interesting, because I want to continue on... on your early childhood growing up. So your family then came from Toledo, but you were born here in Cleveland.

Burt Saltzman [00:02:25] I was born here in Cleveland, yes.

Kris King [00:02:26] Could you tell me something about your mom, where you lived?

Burt Saltzman [00:02:31] And we grew up in the. We grew up in the. My mom and dad, actually both came over from Poland. They were both Polish immigrants. They didn't know each other, of course, then. And when my mom came to. When my dad came to, my mother came here with her family. My uncle brought my mother over. She had four sisters and four brothers, and they all came over together. And most of them ended up in the fur business. My uncle had a fur shop. My father. My mother was working for my uncle for a while. And then she was introduced to my father by somebody. And that was probably 19, 34, 35, something like that. And that's when they got married. And I was the first child. I was born in 1937.

Kris King [00:03:40] Where were you living then?

Burt Saltzman [00:03:41] Well, we were living in the city. We were living on. Actually, we started out living on Lynn Drive and we moved to Eddy Road. Lynn Drive is right off of 105th in that area. Around 105th and Superior around there. And then we moved over to Eddy Road, which is off of St. Clair. Superior, right across from breath. And I went to Hazel del Elementary School, which is no longer there. I think the building is there, but it's no longer a school. And I went to Patrick Henry Junior High School. My folks moved when I was in the 8th grade. They moved to university Heights. Then I went to a Roxboro Junior High School and then to Cleveland Heights High School, and then to Ohio State University, where I graduated with an accounting degree. Actually, I did pretty well in accounting. I was in Beta Alpha Psi. But I really somehow the business was in my blood. I grew up working in my dad's little store. I.

Kris King [00:05:03] Is that still the same location on East 40th? And Payne?

Burt Saltzman [00:05:06] East 30th and Payne, yeah, East 30th, right. And I grew up working in the store. And when I graduated, I think my folks, at least my mother wanted me. Go on. She knew how hard dad worked and she wanted me to go into something maybe a little easier. I just. I mean, truth. I went to one interview and they were going to hire me, but I said, you know, why waste my time? I love the business. I mean, and I really want to grow the business. And I came to work for dad right away. And at that time, because of that.

Kris King [00:05:42] Makes you love the business.

Burt Saltzman [00:05:43] I know, I think I kind of like people. I mean, I just can't envision being an accountant, you know, working in an office. I mean, today I own nine stores, but I still love to be with the people I'm not. I don't sit in my office and I hire people that do that. I don't, you know, I enjoy the people, I enjoy the customers. I enjoy the employees most of the time. Not all the time, but I mean, that is. I mean, people kind of make fun of me. They say, why are you up front? You know, sometimes packing bags or, why are you up front? You know, something spills, why are you picking it up? You know, you should not be doing this. But, you know, we meant, why shouldn't I be doing it? I mean, that's my life. That's what I enjoy. Once in a while, I'll carry something out to somebody's car and the lady will remark, do you know who he is? He owns all these stores, and look at him, you know, he's carrying this stuff. But so what? I mean, you know, does that make me bad? I mean, I think that's why, you know, that's what I enjoy.

Kris King [00:06:52] And actually, if you look at it from another angle, you're keeping your eye on the whole store at this particular time. And so, you know, know what's going on.

Burt Saltzman [00:07:01] Rather than sitting in that office, right. There's a lot of people that like to sit in offices and like to play with numbers and figure out what's going wrong. But I think I could figure out better being there, right out with the people and handle complaints. I mean, I don't think there's ever been a complaint where I couldn't handle it and make the lady walk out feeling good about herself and not being angry. I mean, you know, there's ways of handling complaints and there's ways of just brushing them off, but, you know, like, once in a while, a customer will say, you know, she cheated me. And, you know, pointing to a cashier, the cashier made a mistake. Of course, you know, I would just say, whoa, whoa, what happened? You know, she'll tell me. I said, well, let's start all over again. Let's first start by saying she made a mistake. And she said, okay, she made a mistake. And then I explained to her that we have computers and it wasn't really her fault. Somebody didn't put the right price in the computer, and I apologize, and mistakes are made. And when I'm done with her, basically, she feels, I think when you spend time with somebody and explain to them everything, and they realize that mistakes can be made occasionally, and I think they walk out with feelings or same thing on a phone call. We have eight other stores, and, you know, people call me and complain about this store and that store not very often, but when they do, I take the time and try to, you know, make them feel. I mean, it might even cost me sending them a $25 gift certificate. But so what? I mean, when, you know, when I'm done with them, I don't think we lost a customer. I think that they'll stay with us, and I can handle them.

Kris King [00:08:52] Going back to your early, you know, early one. Before you started working at the stores, as far as taking over, growing up, you probably had a lot of friends in the neighborhood.

Burt Saltzman [00:09:07] Yes, especially on Eddy Road. We had a lot of. I had a lot of friends. Truthfully, I worked. I mean, a lot of them played baseball. They were in different leagues and that. But I always worked. I mean, I enjoyed it. I mean, I got up in the morning many times with dad and went to work. And on my days off in summertime, I would actually. I first started out with a little wagon. In those days, there were no supermarkets. There were just little corner stores, and the people would do their shopping, and they would live on East 33rd. East 34th. A lot of them didn't have cards. You know, I'd put the four or five bags on a wagon or boxes and just wheel it home for them, and dad would pay me $0.15 an order for every order that I, you know, that I took, that I took home. And, you know, at the end of the day, maybe I paid $3 or something, you know, and it was. That was my pay then. And, I mean, I could still remember doing it. I remember some of the ladies that I delivered to. I mean, in fact, it's kind of funny. About a year or so ago, I was reading the obituaries, and there was this lady that lived on East 34th street, and I still. When I read her obituary, I still remember the address where, of course, she didn't live there anymore. I still remember the address, which was 1522 East 34th street. I remember, you know, delivering there, and, you know, certain things you just don't. It sticks in your mind. And when I went to the wake, the daughters were all grown and everything, and I explained to them who I was. They remembered. I mean, it's just. It's kind of funny.

Kris King [00:10:56] Did you enjoy going to college?

Burt Saltzman [00:10:58] Yes, I did. Of course, I went to Ohio State. Everybody enjoys going to Ohio State. I did. Well, I was in a fraternity. I went to the Rose Bowl one year. While they were there. I studied hard. I enjoyed accounting. It came rather easy. I really didn't have to kill myself. I thought numbers always came easy to me. It was fun days, actually. I had a checking account that dad put money in for me, so if I want to go out and buy something, there was always.

Kris King [00:11:47] You were living well at Ohio State, right?

Burt Saltzman [00:11:50] And, I mean, not like a rich man, but I never had a worry. I think when my checking account got lower, I think the bank would call my dad. He would have to put some more money into that. That was my. They were really fun days. And actually going back, I almost forgot about my wife. We started dating. I was a senior in high school, and she was three years younger than me, and she was only in the 9th grade, and we were dating all through high school. And then I went away to college, and we continued dating. And then when she started Ohio State, unfortunately, we were only there for three. She was only there for three months, and we were going back to Columbus, and we were in a very, very bad car accident. We got hit head on and by a couple older ladies. It was a very bad night, and they lost control of the car, and we got hit head on. And fortunately, you know, I ended up with a broken nose. And my wife, Judy, ended up with a concussion, but we all. The one fell in the backseat, had a broken foot, but we all lived. And Judy, after that, Judy never went back to school. She was laid up for quite a while with a concussion, and I felt sorry for her, and I married her. So I'm sure you loved her. No, I'm only kidding. No, you know, I mean. But we did. Right after I graduated, right after I graduated that year, I was an ROTC. I went into service. And right before I went into service, we got married, and Judy came along with me. I was only in, of course, for six months. We were down at Fort Lee, Virginia. I was in the quartermaster corps. And actually, when we went down there, she was already, I think, two months after we got married, she became pregnant. And of course, her mother didn't want her to have the baby on the army base, God forbid. So she came back to Cleveland and had the baby. And of course, I came back.

Kris King [00:14:18] And I would like to touch upon this. You mentioned that your parents were both from Poland.

Burt Saltzman [00:14:27] Yes.

Kris King [00:14:28] When you were growing up, did you have any big connection with the Polish community here in Cleveland?

Burt Saltzman [00:14:35] Not really. I mean, they were from Poland, but they weren't really Polish Polish. We're Jewish. We're. We're Jewish. But a lot of Jewish people came over from Poland, but we weren't Polish. Polish. In other words, their origin is from Poland. But my mother's father was a very orthodox scribe. He worked in a temple. He was very, very, very intelligent. He wrote the Torah, which is our religious. He was very, very, very intelligent. In fact, both of my sisters are very, very good artists, and that's probably where they got their skills from, was from my grandfather, because he was very. In fact, some of the things that he wrote and some of the. Their treasures, our family fought over them. My uncle, actually, my cousin, ended up with most of them, the originals, and he gave us all copies. But he was a very, very, very scholarly. Very, very scholarly man, and he raised the kids.

Kris King [00:16:01] So you really didn't have any connection that big a thing with the Polish.

Burt Saltzman [00:16:06] No community here in. No. No.

Kris King [00:16:09] Okay. I just was wondering, what about this fur business that your relatives were in? Did that succeed?

Burt Saltzman [00:16:15] Oh, yeah, yeah. Actually, yeah, that for a lot of years, they were called up. They were called Andre Schwartz and Singer. My uncle was Harry Singer. They were very well to do it in those days. They had a big fur shop on, I think it was 18th in Euclid. Then the days when everybody went downtown, actually, the whole family worked for them. I mean, all my uncles became furriers. My mother worked in the fur shop for a while in the office, and they had a lot of people working. It was a very, very big. And they did very. I know they did very, very well. Then later on, they ended up selling the business or something their sons went into. Actually, they owned some discount stores called Mister Wig's Discount, which was. They had, like, eight or nine stores in those days. So he left the fur business and went into the discount business the days before Super Kmart and all the rest. There were really many big.

Kris King [00:17:30] Well, I'd like to talk about your business, the Sam's Market days. Sam's days. Sorry.

Burt Saltzman [00:17:40] That's okay.

Kris King [00:17:42] Anyway, we had the opportunity to visit one of your markets in Ohio City was last summer, and it was very, very nice. And walking through the market, everybody was extremely pleasant, and the customers were well taken care of. Is this a philosophy that you have about the customer comes first and make sure that they're well taken care of?

Burt Saltzman [00:18:07] Better be well. That's kind of like my. You know. I mean, I. Unfortunately, it's not as good as it used to be. I mean, I think when two people used to stand in line and there were some registers that weren't open, I would get nervous. I would say, open up another register. But today, I think in today's society, my wife says, don't worry about it. People go into stores, they don't mind staying in line for a few minutes. But it makes me nervous. I think if all you checkouts are going and people stand in line, then they'll wait, you know, if, you know, if they're staying in line and you have empty checkouts, if there's only two or three, I guess I shouldn't get upset, but I always open up another register. I just. You know, that's. I mean, that's kind of been my theory. And, you know, I mean, unfortunately, you know, today, the food business is not a lifetime career for most people, because, you know, the salary. The salary basis isn't wonderful. I mean, you know, we wish we could pay more, but, you know, we're up against competition that doesn't pay more. The non union stores and, you know, so, you know, we have to pay their benefits. We're strictly union stores. We pay all their benefits. But, you know, the base pay itself is not wonderful. So it really is a, I think it's like a stepping stone for, you know, for most people. I think if you become a department head or store manager, of course you're going to probably make it a career. But in this business today, I think that it's kind of like a, people start working in high school or shortly after work for a few years and probably go on and try to find maybe a better paying job. But in the past, I mean, I have people who have been with me for 25 years, for 30 years, I mean, a lot of them now, but I don't think the future is going to be that way strictly because, you know, it's not a great, you know, the cost of living has gone up and unfortunately, you know, the, you know, the wages have not gone up in proportionate to the, you know, to what somebody really needs to support a family and that, but we're union stores. We pay what the union says and, but we do, you know, they are covered by their medical costs, their, their pension. That's all taken care of.

Kris King [00:20:52] That isn't your part time employees, though.

Burt Saltzman [00:20:55] No, that's not my part time. Those are full time. The part time people do have, but the part time people are only covered for themselves, not for their family. So in other words, if you go to work and you have a family, unfortunately, the part time people only covered their hospital bills and medical bills are only for themselves, not for their.

Kris King [00:21:17] If I was a part time worker at your store and I had needed some hospitalization, that would be covered under your policy.

Burt Saltzman [00:21:24] Right. But not your family. But not your, not your, not your family. So you take a man that is the breadwinner of a family and he's working and he has kids and that it's really, unless he gets full time hours and we try to give the better people that have families full time hours strictly to keep them.

Kris King [00:21:54] Do you hire a lot of high school students?

Burt Saltzman [00:21:58] Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. That's a big part of the people in our store are hiring.

Kris King [00:22:03] Yeah. Those aren't covered by any kind of medical.

Burt Saltzman [00:22:06] No, not until they actually finish, you know, finish high school and then they go into a different category. In fact, the new contract was just changed. I'm not even quite familiar with it, but it's not, it's not wonderful, you know what I mean? But it.

Kris King [00:22:22] Have you had success with your high school students?

Burt Saltzman [00:22:26] Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean, a lot of the high school students have stayed with us. But, you know, there are other professions. You know, if you go out into the trades at all or anything like that, you know, they're better paying. You know, they're better paying jobs, you know, I mean, our, like, our. The highest rate a cashier can go to under the new contract today is probably, like $12 an hour. The old contract, they could be making 14.75, I believe, but under the new contract now, it's only $12 an hour after three years or four years or something like that, to get up to that. And that's not, you know, so my grandkids babysit, and they make $10 an hour babysitting, which, when I heard that, I said, what? You know, I used to pay these kids $2 an hour, and if I was a real sport, I'd give them a 50 cent tip at the end. Now they're paying kids $10 an hour to babysit. I mean, it's just. It's.

Kris King [00:23:31] But the wage is only that you have to pay by the government is what, 5.75?

Burt Saltzman [00:23:38] Yeah, but I think that's gonna be changed, I'm sure. I mean, I. That's kind of. And we don't have even the young kids that we bring in. We don't start them at 5.70. That's, you know. Yeah, we usually charge them, you know, start them at 6.50 an hour. You know, I mean, that's. And that's not wonderful, but, you know, 5.75 is.

Mary-Kay Overman [00:24:00] I'm going to intervene. I just have a quick question. Not a quick question. The progression. Like, for instance, your name is Bert. Obviously, your father's last name was Salzman, and your grandfather also, who is Dave? And then how did you go from that East 40th store to the 9th that you currently have?

Burt Saltzman [00:24:19] Well, my grandfather was Alex, my father was Dave. And then after my father joined and we expanded the store, our original store was called. Our original old store was called up to date fruit and vegetable market. That was our first store. And then with dad, we modeled it, and we put in a few groceries. I remember at the time, we put in a cooler in the back room where we would stick a little milk in it, but we had to go out and get it for the customer because it wasn't on the floor. And then Dave changed it, and then we started getting some groceries. I could still remember that's when my father changed it to Dave supermarket. And when I joined dad, when I graduated college, we just had the one store on Payne Avenue, 33rd and Payne. And at the time, A & P went out of business in Cleveland. They sold their stores, and we picked up a store on 74th and Harvard, which was our number two store. There was an A & P store. And we remember at the time, my father was kind of getting ready to retire, and then he said, what do you need another store for? You can make a nice living out of one store. What do you need another headache for? I guess if there's ever a life after death and I went into my father, he'll really kill me because, you know, now I have nine stories, and he's probably right, you know, you get a lot of, you know, if I would have kept the one story, I'd probably be, you know, just this one store here on Payne Avenue. I'd probably, you know, be home earlier, be home earlier, be, you know, probably financially better off. But, you know, you do. You do what you. What's the word? You do what you think is right. And, you know.

Kris King [00:26:34] What about what time, like, the A & P, was that, like late sixties, early seventies?

Burt Saltzman [00:26:39] Oh, that was probably. Probably close to 30 years ago, 28 years ago, something like that, yeah. And then after that, other stores became available. Our third store was in Euclid at on Shore Center drive in Euclid, which did very well for a lot of years. And actually we still do fairly well, but they opened a brand new top store right across the street from us, but they're not going to be there much longer. So we kind of eliminated that. You know, we're hoping that maybe we can get that store, you know, and close up our store on the other side of the street, which I think the people in Euclid really, one of the ladies from the council, from the Euclid city council that works for the Salvation army, she was in the store. Serious, she said, I sent her on an official. An official, official business. You get that store across the street and, you know, you know, take over when Tops goes out. So, I don't know, we'll see what happens. I mean, there's a lot of. We're working on it and see what happens. And then the other stories just basically came along. 152nd in Lakeshore Boulevard was. I'm trying to think what that was. That might have been. That was a Fisher Fazio. I think that store closed up, and we took that store, and then the Denison and Ridge store was an old Zaire's, probably remember Zaire's. It's a big store. And I was able to buy the property there, which was good that I bought the property, and we put a big store there. That store today is predominantly probably 80% Hispanic. And the Hispanic community is very, very fast growing community. We do very. It's a great store. We do very cater, you know, all the Spanish Hispanic items. There's specialty vegetables and the beans and the codfish, and we're pretty good at that. And we know what they buy, and that's a great store. And then recently, of course, we, you know, Ohio City was one of our last stores. They were after us for like, three or four years. You know, the development director kept calling me, come on, you know, we need a store. We need a store. You know, West 25th and wherever it is. I mean, at the time, it was all winos hanging around there, and it was a real dilapidated neighborhood. I kept saying, no, let's see, you know, let's see, let's see. And he came and he showed me a location. I said, yeah, we'll see, we'll see. And then one Saturday morning, someone said, mayor White wants to talk to you on the phone. I said, I thought someone was kidding me. You know, what is. Mayor White wants to talk to me. It was him. And he said, look, he said, you come down to my office next week, and we're going to talk. You're going to go into West 25th street and go down there. I said, well, okay, sir. You know, I don't know what to say talking to the mayor. Okay, sir. You know, we went down there and we were able to work out a nice deal, and that was one of our better. Thank you, Mayor White. That's one thing he did not. He said, good. No. And, you know, today that area is just, you know, it's a super area. They build those condos right outside our front door that are selling for that. Sold like that for $400,000 a pop, right on west. The only mistake I made when we went there, I should have bought a bunch of property around there. No, I mean, just because everybody wants to build condos down there. I mean, the value of the land has increased greatly down there, and the store could be a little bit bigger. It's a small stowage there. Also. We help quite a bit of Hispanic trade, and that's like the League of Nations down there. You know, you have the hoity toity professionals that, you know, that live in those expensive condos. You have the Hispanic people. You got your everyday people. It's a real mixture of, you got the seniors that live over there. So, you know, you really have a. It's really kind of difficult to cater to, you know, to everybody in that size store. But we try, and I think. I think even the well to do people that live down there, they can probably afford to live somewhere else. But I think they accept, you know, shopping with everybody else, because if they didn't like the area, they wouldn't be living down there. And, you know, they don't mind standing in line and somebody that's on welfare and they're paying for it in food stamps. And, you know, I think they enjoy the diversity of the area.

Kris King [00:32:07] It's exciting down there. It's very revitalized.

Burt Saltzman [00:32:09] Right? Yeah. Right.

Kris King [00:32:11] Is that unique to your stores?

Kris King [00:32:13] Like, I mean, this particular neighborhood right now, the Easter ether. I know. You know, you see building. You see the art community, St. Joseph, you know.

Burt Saltzman [00:32:21] Right.

Kris King [00:32:22] The different condos around here possibly happening?

Burt Saltzman [00:32:25] Well, they're trying. Of course, our councilmen, Joe Sifferman, has been trying to. They're trying to. We buy, like, some of the arts on around 40th street there. And, you know, some art studios are opening up over there, and there are some condos. Of course, they're talking about building one on 12th in St. Clair, some high rise, I guess, some new, you know, new development down there. And that's all exciting. I mean, I think we're in a good, you know, we're in a good area. The future, you know, probably has to get better. I mean, you know, it hasn't. I mean, while we. We have done very well on 33rd and Payne, strictly because all our competition has closed. We had a store on 38th in Payne that closed. We had a. A Pick-N-Pay pay here on St. Clair, on 60th in St. Clair. They're closed. There's really nobody. We're it. I mean, there's a Save-A-Lot, a small Save-A-Lot, I guess.

Kris King [00:33:29] So you really have seen a great transformation in the neighborhoods with.

Burt Saltzman [00:33:37] Yeah, with everything. I mean, there's just, you know, years ago, I think, people came over to work in the factories. That's when I first started out in the business. That's when everybody was working for Ford and Chevrolet, and the business was booming. The Hispanic people came up from Puerto Rico and got jobs in the factories, and they replaced a lot of the foreign element that were there. The german people were the original ones there that came over. You know, they all moved out to Parma. Then Hispanic people moved in. Now a lot of the Hispanic people moved to the west side. Now you have the Asian community, and there, we're right in the middle of Chinatown over there. So now, you know, I guess, kind of like we've seen it all, I guess. You know, went from one, one ethnic group to the other. But I think as far as being Chinatown now, it seems like the value of a lot of things have gone up because I know the homes around there, the people that own homes, they're able to sell their homes pretty fast because the Chinese people are looking for places to live that, and.

Kris King [00:35:03] You find the neighborhood is really being kept up better now as the years go on in comparison to when you started, or has it changed kind of reversed?

Burt Saltzman [00:35:14] I think it depends on the people. I mean, there are nice areas. I don't think anybody kept the homes as nice as the old German people. They came over and, in fact, there was a lady that lived behind my store. You could eat. I mean, she was out there every morning hosing down her sidewalk. I mean, you could eat off of. Literally eat off of her sidewalk. I mean. Cause she, you know, there was that, you know, walking her home. Everything was spotless. I mean, you know, today, I don't think you have many people like that. But, you know, I think with the revitalization and the nice things that are happening in the neighborhoods, that somehow entices people to maybe take better care of their front lawns, their property, paint their house. And actually, as we invested money on Payne Avenue, we noticed that a lot of the neighborhoods are. The neighbors are fixing up their home, you know, fixing up their lawn. And, I mean, I think, you know what? Things spread off one another, and if you have something good happening, I think, you know, people, a lot of people want to join and to make things happen.

Kris King [00:36:37] Your family, you have sons and daughters, or are they in the business with you?

Burt Saltzman [00:36:44] I have two sons. We're all buckeyes, by the way. We all graduated from Ohio State. Yeah, my two sons. My oldest son joined me right after he graduated from Ohio State. My youngest son decided to. He was in Chicago for three years. He had a seat on the Chicago board of trade, and the girl that he was dating was from Cleveland. And at the time, we were expanding our business, and I called Steve and I said, Steve, it's really not fair to your brother. You're down there and we're buying stores. We could use you here. You can't come back 15 years from now and say, well, I want 50% of this business. It's not fair to your brother. And I think his wife wanted to come back to Cleveland, too, even though he had a great life in Chicago. He went rollerblading. Never after. He keeps reminding me about that. You know, when you have a seat in the Chicago board of Trade you've done at 04:00 in the afternoon. And you have the rest of the day off. You don't work Saturdays, you don't work Sundays. Well, that's really not like our business today. So he kind of misses it. But they're both good asses. My oldest son kind of is in the stores all the time. He goes from store to store. My youngest son is more of an office person. He takes care of anything that has to do with the. My oldest son likes to build stores and put in real nice things. And my youngest son tells him, wait a minute, Danny, let's think this over a little bit. So they kind of have a good. What's the word? A good balance. Usually my oldest son wins because we keep building new stores and making them nice. But so far we're able to handle it. And I also have two daughters, which I don't want to forget. They're both in Cleveland. Also. They married doctors, which every mother loves. One is an OB-GYN doctor, and the other one is an orthopedic surgeon. They both do very nice, very nice. Very nice boys. And I would say, because they make a lot of money, which they make a nice living, but they're just nice. You want nicer grandsons and her son in laws. And I have twelve grandchildren. They're all in town. They're. All three of my kids live in Seoul. And the other one lives in Pepper Pike. And they're fun. I don't have to jump on a plane and go out to San Francisco to visit any of them. And, I mean, they're all here. I think they all decided to stay here. Because poppy had the food business. They'll never starve. So I think that maybe that's why they decided to stay here.

Kris King [00:39:55] Where do you live?

Burt Saltzman [00:39:58] Actually, we lived in Lyndhurst up until. Up until about 20 years ago. And then when the kids were all married, we bought a condo at the village behind Beechwood Place. Their condos. It's nice. We were one of the first people there. I remember at the time, it was a lot of money. I called my accountant. I said, les, can I go for it? Go for it. But today, account is probably worth three times what we paid for it. But you never know what the future is. But we're happy. We reached a point where I don't want to cut grass. Working seven days a week. You don't want to go home and cut your grass anymore. Shovel snow. I just outgrew that. And I noticed there's a lot of.

Kris King [00:40:55] Advertisements just as a resident of Cleveland area myself. And a lot of times you'll see that Dave Supermarket is one of the sponsors or the patrons or anything. Does your business have, like, a focus or you just like to sponsor various community events? For instance, you're mentioned in the year the dog in the back pamphlet from this particular development corporation.

Burt Saltzman [00:41:18] Unfortunately, I never say no. And that's a very, very bad habit of mine. I just, you know, when people call, they ask. I, like, tell people, as long as they don't call Stephen. But. No, but it's the truth. I mean, you know, you love to. I mean, I got a beautiful award two years ago from the Salvation army. It's called the. I don't know, but it's one of their real prestigious awards. Slip my mind right now because I love to. There's so many great organizations and I love to, whether it's the school up the street here or, I mean, the hunger centers, the daycares. I give them all special prices. Half the times it's lower than what I pay for. But, you know, when you're in business and you make a nice living and you're comfortable, is this really going to change your way of life, being a nice guy? It won't. You know what I mean? Whether it's the old age home that I'm on a board in Menorah park, or I'm on the board of Mental Health Services, which is right here on. We just bought a new building and I. One of their nice sponsors. I mean, it just. Unfortunately, there's so many organizations and, you know, sometimes I wish I was a Sam Miller or something and had all that, you know, all that money where you could really. You know. But I really try, you know? You know, I don't think anybody will ever say that. They called me and he asked me an album that I didn't say. Okay, sometimes they ask a little bit too much, and I have to say, you know, if you were the only one, I gladly do it. But, you know, I mean, I try to teach that to my oldest son. I think has. His theory is a lot like mine. My youngest son still got to kick him in the rear end once in a while because he's very different. I don't know where he takes after my mother. My mother was kind of cheap, too, I think. I don't know. I should say that. Take that off. Take that off. She's up there. She'll probably strike me with lighting. No, but it's the truth. My mother was funny. She lived in a complex that had a little grocery store right down there. And if she needed a quart of milk, she never would. I would have to bring her home quart of milk. You can't bring me home a quart of milk. Well, but, you know, I'm tired. Bring me home a quart. Okay, mom, I'll bring home a quart of milk. You know, and she was like that her whole life. I mean, she just never. I think she grew up through the depression. I think she never believed in spending. You know, she always want to save, save, save, save, save. Unfortunately, when she passed away, she never. We never realized what she had. And even the attorney that took care of her estate, she never really told him all that she had, because she figured that if he knew all the money that she had, he would probably charge her more money. So she kept it a secret. And when she passed away, we ended up paying a nice chunk of money to the government, which, if she knew what we paid to the government, she wouldn't want to go out and spend. Or if we spent a birthday present, she would say, spend $10. If my wife would spend 15. I told you, spend $10. Why are you spending so much money? But that was the mentality of the people that grew up in the depression. They valued that to make her bad. But unfortunately, even she would come over our house, and she would ask my wife, do you have any old purses? That, come on. My mother could have went out and bought Gucci or whatever, you know, but she never. You know. But that was. That's why we're over the diem now. And I do have two sisters. One lives in Toledo. She's married to a doctor also. He's a urologist. And my other sister lives in Philadelphia. She's an artist, and she has a couple kids also. It worked kind of nice.

Kris King [00:45:55] Sounds like you have a very fine family and that you're very proud of them and very happy with them. I have nothing. I have nothing else to really ask you, but I was wondering if you have anything that you would like to add to this or tell us any more stories. If you have a favorite story about your family or favorite story about your business.

Burt Saltzman [00:46:20] Well, I can tell a humor story. Everybody kind of gets a kick out of this. This happened two winters ago. It was a real snowy night, and I was going home, and I went in my car across the street, and I pulled out, and there was a lady at the bus stop there waiting to go up toward 55th street. And she, like, waved to me, and I figured she knew me. But I looked at her. I didn't know her. And I rolled down my lunch. She says, can you drop me off on 55th and Chester? I said, sure. You know, she didn't know who I was, of course. Well, I got in the car, and we're driving about two or three blocks, and she looks at me. She says, do you like steaks? I said, you know, once in a while. Well, she opened up her coat, and she had five big packs, a family pack, whip steaks that were just stolen out of my store. And, you know, and I just. I was shocked. I just stood there. I mean, I just sat there and I said, I don't know if I really like steaks. You know, I figured, what am I gonna do? If I grabbed her, she could have a knife. She could have a gun. She could. If I turned around, you know, took her back to the store. I mean, I was just so in such shock. I said, no, I really don't like steaks. When I got to 55th and Chester, she said, you know, she walked out of the car, and I closed the door, and I said, God, this really didn't happen to me. But I got a good look at her. And the next several days, I was waiting for her to come back. You know, she never came back. But I was. It was. I mean, that's a tale of tales. You know, you be nice taking somebody home, and she wants you to buy your own steaks back. That she just throw. But anyways, I think we're really proud of our. Of our family. I mean, there are. I guess there aren't many businesses that can go from a grandfather to a father to a son to my sons in hoping that my oldest son has two sons. My youngest son just have two daughters. But even my daughters have a couple kids that maybe someday would be interested in going. You know, you just hope it can last. Unfortunately, the supermarket business today is what it is. It's not like it was before. Your big boys are coming in the Walmarts of the world and everybody else and throughout the country. There aren't many of us left. Either you're a big giant eagle or you're a corner mama, papa store. But somebody like us, there just aren't many of us, unfortunately, left in, you know, what the future will bring. I don't know. I mean, I think it would be nice to be able to stay in business and, you know, continue something that has been in our family for so long, but you don't know. I mean, somebody said that told me that they said, probably in seven, eight years, if you mentioned the word supermarket to somebody, they're going to say, what are you talking about there? There may not be any supermarkets because you're just going to have the big box stores that sell everything from food to everything else. And what is the future of a supermarket? I mean, if I had a guest right now here in Cleveland, I think you're going to have the giant eagles left, but I don't think anybody's really going to come in and buy the top stores that are for sale. They may take a couple of them or something, but as far as a big major chain coming in like Kroger to buy these stores, I may be wrong, but I just can't see it. There's just not enough business for these super guys that come into town and do so much business, and they have a bunch of other supermarkets, and Cleveland doesn't really have the growth right now to support that much business. It's different if you're in a growing community right now. Cleveland has been on the decline for quite a few years, and let's say get off the ground and bring more people back here, whether it's in the arts or whatever, it's just the future doesn't look thank God like for the clinic and university hospital and Cleveland state and a few others that keep people here. But you take that away, there's really not a whole lot of everything else here, and it's just sad and what the future will bring. If I had a crystal ball, I tell you.

Kris King [00:51:39] Do you have anything that you'd like to ask?

Kris King [00:51:41] No, just. I really enjoyed this.

Kris King [00:51:43] Thank you. I do. I just have a couple of questions, but if you could remain. I know it's weird to not face me when I'm asking a question, but if you can remain facing the microphone.

Burt Saltzman [00:51:54] Okay.

Kris King [00:51:55] Where did your, where did your grandparents live when your grandfather started the store on Payne?

Burt Saltzman [00:52:03] I believe they lived on Parkwood Drive in Cleveland, which is. Which is right off, like I said, right off 105th and Superior, right around there.

Kris King [00:52:15] Why Payne in 33rd?

Burt Saltzman [00:52:17] Why did they set, why did they open a store? And Payne in 33rd? I think that was an area where he did a lot of his huck, when he was a huckster. He drove up and down the streets there, and I think, like I say, in those days, there were a lot of german people moving in, foreign people, and I think that was a big part of his trade. And instead of staying as a huckster or driving a truck, he decided to pick a small location and open up his store.

Kris King [00:52:51] Did you have any memories of going downtown, into downtown Cleveland either, for shopping?

Burt Saltzman [00:52:58] Oh, of course I have memories.

Kris King [00:53:01] Can you just tell me about.

Burt Saltzman [00:53:04] Well, when we lived on Eddy Road, in those days, there was a streetcar. We would get on the streetcar on Eddie in Arlington, and we would drive, take the streetcar. And then whenever my mom decided to buy me clothes, we would go downtown and we go to. Well, there was bonds, clothes. I remember it was everywhere. It was downtown. Higbee's, Halley's, May Company, Sterling-Linder-Davis. We would go to Mills cafeteria, and that was a cafeteria that we would always eat at. It was funny. Today you don't see any cafeterias left anymore, but you go through the line and pick out what you want. I remember being on a streetcar with mom. I mean, downtown. Everybody went downtown then. That was exciting. We would go to the movies on 105th in Euclid, where they had those days, there was six or seven movies. The Keats, 105th, the park. Oh, my God, the Alhambra. There were like six movies there, the circle. And on Saturdays, we. You know, for $0.10, we go to the show there, and another $0.10, we'd have popcorn. I mean, I remember Christmas time, you know, being downtown and looking at all the displays in the window. I could still remember, like yesterday, you know? I mean, it was so colorful and so picturesque and just. God, it's another lifetime ago. I love to go back. I love to be that young again. But, oh, yeah, the Christmas tree is sterling at the Davis breakfast with Santa. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. I mean.

Kris King [00:55:09] Okay, do you remember? Because people have mentioned it, but they've never given me any details. Francis the Talking Mule, does that ring a bell?

Burt Saltzman [00:55:18] No, they don't remember. No, no, they don't remember. I mean, I remember going to Euclid Beach park, which is. I remember the fun house and the two characters out front laughing. And now you mention Euclid beach to the kids, and they look at you. What's Euclid beach? You don't remember Euclid beach? But how many years ago did they close? I don't know.

Kris King [00:55:47] What about that baseball stadium?

Burt Saltzman [00:55:49] Wasn't there one, like, around League Park? Yeah, League Park was right here. That was closed many, many years ago. That was right on Wade Park here, right off of Wade Park. I mean, you really forget how old you are. I mean, I think back when my dad was getting close to 70, I always thought he was an old, old man. I think I'm 69 now, and I'm going to be 70. My God, am I really that old?

[damaged audio]

Burt Saltzman [00:57:09] That name is awful. In fact, he might have even been in my class. Huh.

Kris King [00:57:13] He was.

Burt Saltzman [00:57:15] I'm sure his father was a band leader. Okay, did graduate in probably in 55. Yeah, that name was definitely familiar.

Kris King [00:57:24] He had his nickname, inky.

Burt Saltzman [00:57:26] Inky, yeah, definitely. He definitely was in my class. Absolutely. He wasn't at our reunion, though, last year. We had fun while that reunion was. I just loved it. I mean, girls talk to you now. Before, you know, now everybody's so friendly and everybody talks to you, you know. I said, how come you never talked to me then? Why you never talk to us? I said, well, I was scared of you guys. You know, in fact, it's kind of funny. I went over our ex bishop. I was very nice, very nice to the catholic charities and that. And so when Bishop Hillary retired, he bought his, he had his mother's home in Cleveland Heights. And the first day he came shopping, which was many years ago, I said, you know, how can I charge, how can I charge the bishop? You know, I mean, you know, so I packed up his groceries. Well, he's been coming in ever since, and I've been, you know, please don't say this, because I'm just making it, you know, I mean, I don't want you to, you know, to put this in, you know, that's not really, you know, but I'm just saying. So he invited me over his house two weeks ago, his mother's house. And it's a real treat being with a bishop and just he and myself. And he cooked his pasta and some chicken, and he fried it for me. I was telling him, I said, you know, I said, last night reminded me of when I was in high school and I had to call a girl for a date. I said, I was up all last night thinking, what am I going to talk to you about? And I said, I started taking notes, you know, what am I going to talk to the bishop about? What do I have in common with the bishop? So he laughed and he said, what are you talking about? But it was a fun night. It was. I often with the dishes. You never do dishes at home. Well, I said, just he and me out. I let the bishop do dishes. But no, you enjoy being. See, this is what life is. You enjoy being respected, you know. You know, being a nice guy and, you know, it was a treat. It really was. You know, how many people could say that they had dinner? Just the bishop and me, but he's a nice guy. He's another fellow that grew up in the. Grew up in Cleveland. He went to Patrick Henry, then he went to. Transferred to a catholic school, but he went to same junior high school that I went to, but he was about five years older than. About five years older than I am. But I mean, it just. This is what life is. You figure that you work hard, but it's nice being respected and being someone that someone really can't say anything bad about. I don't. My wife said, how come you're nice to everybody, except you're not nice to me? But, no, but that's life. I mean, I think it's fun. I was talking about retiring, but I really don't know anything. I worked on my life. I joined a country club. Several years ago, a friend of mine talked me into joining a country club. Well, I went there. I paid my $15,000 initiation fee, which was stupid, and I really felt out of place. All these people talk about is they're going to Africa on a safari, and they're going here, and they're going there, and they're going. I had nothing in common with these people. The first day we went to eat there, we went to the country club, and people are sitting around. I'm with my friend that asked me to join, and one of the ladies that's serving there came up to me. She says, mister Dave, she know. My name's Burt. Mister Dave. She says, what are you doing here? I said, I joined the country club. Oh, that's wonderful. You know, she's working there. She said, she ran, and she grabbed another lady, and she's working. She says, look. Look who's here, you know. Mister Dave is here, you know. And they went to the kitchen. I swear, they bring out one of the chefs. Look who's here. You know. So I told my friend, see, I know people, too, you know, maybe maybe not the same people, you know, but I know people. And that's why, you know, that's, you know, these are my people, you know, I don't have to know hoity toity, you know. I mean, I have a lot of friends that are, you know, well to do, but, I mean, this is my life. I don't think I could ever retire because I don't know what I would do. I work. I work and we go on a few vacations. But my wife kind of lives her own life. She plays canasta. She plays Ma. She has to because I'm never home. So she really. So when I talked about retiring, I said, come on, you teach me how to play Maj, I'll play Maj with you and the girls. And she's right, because when I was talking about retiring to a cousin of mine that already retired, he says, what are you going to do? And I said, well. He says, do you read? I said, not really. Do you play golf? No, I don't play golf. Do you do this? I said, no. Well, what are you going to do? I said, I don't know. He said, well, you better think about that because, yeah, I could do volunteer work, but I guess you can only do so much volunteer work, and then that gets. I guess, as long as I.

Kris King [01:03:22] What made you feel that you had to retire?

Burt Saltzman [01:03:25] Well, truthfully, I was a little worried about the business with the Walmarts of the world coming in and that, and we thought that maybe we would have a chance. Our stores are all doing wonderful. We thought that maybe we would, you know, maybe it's smarter to get out of business and, you know, live happily ever after, you know, if the monetary reward was big enough, you know, from selling the business. But then after I thought about it for a while, and then. And, you know, and my oldest son was devastated when I talked about that. He, you know, and I probably would have been devastated if I was his age also, you know, even though we probably could have. Probably could have lived a nice life with what we could have got out of the business, he just. He said, I'm too young. You know, what am I going to do? All I know is the food business. And the more he thought about it, then I looked at a lot of the people that have been working for us, and I don't know how, but the rumor started traveling amongst some of our people that maybe Bert is thinking of selling. And the more I thought about it, the kids that have been with me for so many years, and they were kids, and they're so dependent on making a living through us. And I just, you know what? As long as I. We'll just chance it. We'll see what happens when competition comes into town. That's going to be tough. We'll just fight it out and do the best we can and try to. Some people say it's going to be tough. Some people say, don't worry, you've been around for so long, people will continue to patronize you.

Kris King [01:05:15] For people that go to grocery stores. People usually.

Burt Saltzman [01:05:19] Right. I mean, and I think in Cleveland, people, when they want to go grocery shopping, they go grocery shopping when they want to go somewhere else. I think there's certain days to grocery shop and certain days to do other things. And, you know, when you live out in the sticks of that, you know, you go once in a while to a store. Yeah, you stock up. But, you know, in Cleveland, I think, you know, for a lot of people, grocery shopping is every day. I mean, a lot of people like to run in, get their supper, or go two, three times a week. So, I mean, I think there's still a place for us. And, you know.

Kris King [01:05:57] Have you ever visited a Trader Joe's?

Burt Saltzman [01:06:00] Oh, that's right in our backyard. Yeah. That's a great operation. Yeah. My daughter in law, she lives in that store she loves. It's great. Now, see, there's a concept that is, that is great. I mean, you know, they have good quality stuff, unusual stuff, priced very, very, very reasonable. And their store is not very big. They don't have the overhead. They do pay their people good, though, because I think the people that work there, someone said they pay them. They start at like $12 an hour, which is very, very nice for just somebody that comes to work in a store. It's unique. I mean, they're, you know, back where they are, they're, you know, they've heard some of the supermarkets out there. Not devastated, but, you know, they do a big business and, you know, it's going to, it's only taking it away from, well, out there would be hidden and, you know, giant eagle.

Kris King [01:06:55] And I happened to visit the first store, the main store in Santa Rosa. It's big.

Burt Saltzman [01:07:04] It's bigger, huh?

Kris King [01:07:05] Yeah.

Burt Saltzman [01:07:06] Yeah, it's a great concept. You know, I mean, and this is what the supermarket is against today. You know, you have the Trader Joes of the world. You have the Marc's that are selling now. They're not drugstores anymore. They're, you know, they have meat, they have produce, they have deli, they have, you name it. They have it. And, you know, and then you have your gas stations today that sell that, sell everything. You have your save a lot. You have your Aldi's, you have. I mean, in the old days, it was so much fun to compete against another supermarket because you're all on the same level. You're all paying your people the same. You're all. But today it's just. And it can't be everything. Yeah, you love to try to sell cheap, but if you sell cheap, what about, what about this? What about that? You can't sell cheap. You want to sell quality. You want to give them good service. So, you know, you got to. What's the word? You got to study your territory and say, you know, which is the best way, you know, for people to try to be everything, try to sell cheap and, you know, give them good service and it just doesn't work. You can't. You can't do everything. And unfortunately it's. But, but I love Trader Joe's. I mean, my wife gets their onion soup, which. It's really good. I mean, they have different. It's something different. Like I say, when the Walmart comes into town and starts selling produce and meat in deli and everything else, yeah, it's going to hurt for a while, but I think that we might have to consolidate a little bit. We may have to close up a couple of our stores, but whatever it takes, it takes. We'll try to stay in business, try to succeed. And I think that if I had a guess, we'll make it. Because not everybody loves the big, big stores and we're not that much higher than. Yeah, we can't sell at their prices. But there's other things. Our meats are better quality meats. The produce that we sell will be better quality produce. We'll give them better service, you know, I mean, all that, it's got it, you know, sway. It's got to help a little bit, but it will be fun. We'll see.

Kris King [01:09:43] Well, we really appreciate you taking this time, coming in and talking to us.

Burt Saltzman [01:09:48] My pleasure.

Kris King [01:09:49] Really interesting. And that word interesting bothers me, but entertaining. Really enjoyed meeting you and thank you. Especially since we went to the Dave's Market in Ohio City.

Burt Saltzman [01:10:06] That's a great store, you know. [crosstalk] Yeah, I know. I know exactly where it is. Yeah, right there. Yeah, that's great.

Kris King [01:10:19] She loves it. She wants to Susan river, but she's thinking about buying one of those high end. Just because she loves the pulse. That's what artists call those neighborhoods, the pulse of the neighborhood.

Burt Saltzman [01:10:30] Actually, truthfully, we were probably the start of everything happening down there, because I remember when we opened up the first, during our grand opening, a real estate guy came into the store, and he came up to me. The guy wasn't queer, but he gave me a big kiss, and I said, what are you doing? He says, let me tell you. He says, I sell real estate down here. And the first thing people ask me is, where do you, if I move down here, where do you, where do I, where do I shop? And you say, well, you have to go out. You know, there's a Lakewood, there's, and there's a Tops or whatever is down there. And he says, now with this, he says, my business is going to boom. It turned out nice. I mean, it was really, it's a fun story. Areas like that are, I mean, every area has its problems. We have opened up in Shaker, which is another store, very similar to Ohio City. City. And. But, you know, unfortunately, you know, you're in an area where you got a lot of nice people. It's got that little bad element. You know, people come in early in the morning, and they, you know, they grab meat and they run out. [crosstalk] You're probably in Shaker, maybe Ohio City. Yeah, but, you know, you're, you know, you're right on the border, you know, and I'm not saying Buckeye people are bad, because the 99% of the people are good, you know, but you have that little bad element, you know, when they have, when they find it a place where they can go in and steal, they're gonna, you know, it's like that in any area, you know? You know what I mean? But that's the only thing that takes away from that, the fun of that store, you know, in a little way, you know? Right. We're trying to, you know, when people come into the morning and, you know, and you have to have, like, a fella checking bags when they walk out to make sure, you know, you don't like to do that. You know what I mean? That's not operating. But unfortunately, you have to do what you have to do. And most people don't mind it, you know what I mean? They know, in a word, you're going.

Kris King [01:12:41] To find stakes wrapped around your waist.

Burt Saltzman [01:12:43] Oh, God. That was, I remember I got home to my wife, I drove in the driveway, and I kind of, I said, Judy, you will not believe what just happened.

Kris King [01:12:54] What was her reaction?

Burt Saltzman [01:12:56] She couldn't believe it. She said, well, why didn't you? You know, why don't you why don't you turn around and go back to the store, Judy, you know, she can accuse me of trying to rape her. She can choose me, you know, anything. It's not. Is it worth it? So she had $30, $40 worth of steaks. Is it really worth it to, you know what I mean? Let her take the damn steaks and, you know, she should only choke over them. But. No, no, no, but like I say, there's all kinds of funny stories that you could remember being in business, but that was the way that I could.

Kris King [01:13:28] Mister, did you ever have any disaster in the store, like mechanical dysfunction or blackout?

Burt Saltzman [01:13:35] Oh, yeah. Well, during. Well, being in the business that we were in, you know, when the lights went out that time, remember when all the. Everything went out? I mean, we were. I mean, I was at the store just, you know, praying, you know, there you have all your ice cream, all your. Everything, you know, fortunately, you know, it wasn't out. If you keep the doors closed and, you know, don't open anything. We covered everything up, and, you know, it. The loss was, you know, anything that was questionable, we threw out. But the loss was really minimal. You know, if you lost, you keep things, you know, keep things closed. You know, being in business, we, you know, there were some problems along the way. In Ridge Road, which was one of the worst days of my life, a shoplifter came in, and he had a bag, and he put a bunch of meat in the bag, and he was going out, and my security guard caught him. And I guess he started hassling with the security guard. And one of my guys came over to help the security guard, and the guy pulled out a gun and shot them both. And the security guard died right away. And the fella that was my assistant produce manager, a nice fella, he was at Metro, he started getting a little better, and then something happened, and he died also. And there was. To this day, I mean, I got so close to the family, it was like, you know, we sat there, sat there every day, and it was just. It was like, you know, and he started getting better, and then, I don't know, it just. He had a turn for the worst, and he, you know, you have a lot of enjoyment in business, but no, something like that is just so we have a policy now. We don't, you know, if somebody steals, you know, when I. You know, you don't run after them anymore. Or, you know, if we have a security guard, let the security guard handle it. Don't. Don't butt in. You know, it's just not worth it, you know, for $30, $40 worth of meat, you know, to lose two lives. It was just, I mean, I didn't sleep for.

Kris King [01:15:55] Were they able to prosecute the police?

Burt Saltzman [01:15:57] Oh, they got ahold of the guy and the police shot him because he tried to run away from the police after this was probably like three, four weeks later, they found him and he tried to run away, and the police, he started shooting at the police and the police killed him, which it was just, it was just, it was terrifying. It was just, it was, I remember sitting at Metro with his mother and what do you say? You know, your story. What do you say? You know, I just had to. And they were very nice. I mean, you know, they never held it against us or our store or our business, but it was very, very.

Kris King [01:16:55] Those are things that you never know when it's going to happen, but it just happens, like anything.

Burt Saltzman [01:17:06] All right.

Kris King [01:17:07] Well, thank you again for coming.

Burt Saltzman [01:17:09] My pleasure. I'm over time. You got to charge me overtime. I start talking and I forget when I finish up.

Academy of American History

These interviews were conducted between 2004 and 2006 by public school teachers in the Teaching American History (TAH) grant-funded Academy of American History summer institute at Cleveland State University, sponsored by the US Department of Education. The project was a collaboration between CSU, the City Club of Cleveland, Western Reserve Historical Society, and St. Clair-Superior Community Development Corporation. Interviews in this series focus on the Civil Rights movement in Cleveland, Carl…