July 1, 2022


Melvin Potash understood households and organizations are more powerful when everyone pulls alongside one another.

He taught his youngsters that lesson with a tale about a group of two horses that in no way received everywhere till they stopped pulling in reverse instructions.

“He set it in phrases we could realize,” his son Art Potash reported, by employing South Shore landmarks the Potash young children realized from their childhood. “He said 1 horse desired to go to the JCC [Jewish Community Center] at 91st and Jeffery, and the other desired to go to Kim’s drugstore at 87th and Bennett.”

Mr. Potash instructed his youngsters the horses designed no development till they agreed: “We’ll go to Kim’s initial, and then we’ll go to the JCC.”

Later on in lifestyle, when variances of view cropped up, Art Potash claimed, “All he had to say was: ‘Remember the two horses.’ ”

Mr. Potash, just one of 3 brothers who established the 71-yr-old chain of Potash grocery shops, died Nov. 1 at Vi at the Glen, a senior neighborhood in Glenview. The longtime Lincolnwood resident worked for the relatives small business from 1950 to 2017.

Youthful Melvin was captain of the basketball workforce at Hyde Park Large College, which also bolstered his perception in teamwork, his son said.

“I was not the very best participant,” Mr. Potash explained to his spouse and children. “I was the captain due to the fact I was the greatest cheerleader for my teammates.”

Melvin Potash (on phone) and his brother David Potash at the cash register in the early days at one of their Potash grocery stores, 1525 N. Clark St.

Melvin Potash (on cellular phone) and his brother David Potash at the income register in the early times at the Potash grocery keep at 1525 N. Clark St.

The a few Potash stores are at 875 N. Point out St., 1525 N. Clark St. and Potash Connoisseur 44 on the 44th floor of 175 E. Delaware Pl., the former John Hancock Middle.

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Till 4 years back, Mr. Potash was nonetheless likely to do the job at the Clark Road keep, the place he’d inventory the shelves and smile and wave at his regulars, numerous who turned mates, his son claimed. When shoppers had young children, Mr. Potash’s spouse Phyllis designed personalized newborn publications for them, with her fragile calligraphy and newspaper headlines from the working day the infants had been born.

Mr. Potash thought in personalized support, taking cellular phone orders for shipping and delivery, stocking special requests and modifying inventory to reflect modifying preferences. He expanded prepared deli items and food selections that didn’t target on meat. Customers could generally located a Potash in their suppliers, including his sister Marian Schuman, who labored for the organization for 60 decades.

One particular time, in the days before mobile phones, a female was robbed in entrance of the Clark Street shop.

“My father built absolutely sure she was O.K. and called her loved ones in Pontiac, Illinois” to support, Artwork Potash claimed.

“He was constantly on the lookout out for the compact male,” said Brian Jordan, director of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association.

Mr. Potash headed a predecessor of the team, the Illinois Food items Shops Affiliation, from 1999 to 2001.

He experienced a diplomatic contact with workers, his son stated. He said that when just one stored coming in late, “He purchased him an alarm clock.”

In addition to his two brothers who have been his business associates, he grew up with 6 sisters. Their Russia-born moms and dads were being the former Sarah Goldstein and Max Potashnick, who shortened the spouse and children title to Potash just after settling in the United States.

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Max Potash was associated in true estate, but the Excellent Depression hit the household difficult. For a time, they were being homeless, and some of the youthful little ones were briefly put in the care of Jewish social expert services, Art Potash explained.

“They all considered in household that’s what got them as a result of,” he explained.

In the early 1950s, Mr. Potash served stateside in the Military. When he was on go away, he’d appear property and spell his brother Herbert — who operated a North Side retail outlet, Plee-Zing marketplace — so he could just take a vacation. Ultimately, Mr. Potash and a third brother, David, adopted Herbert into the grocery enterprise.

In the 1960s, two of their North Clark Avenue outlets were two times displaced by the development of Carl Sandburg Village, his son stated. In 1967, Mr. Potash negotiated with developer Arthur Rubloff to establish the Sandburg Supermart at 1525 N. Clark St., which operates currently as Potash Marketplace. In 1962, they opened Potash Bros., also now known as Potash Industry, at 875 N. State St. The Delaware Position place opened in 2007.

When Mr. Potash satisfied Phyllis Winer, his redheaded long term spouse, “He pointed to the freckles on her arm,” their son stated, “and he explained, ‘You know what they are?’ ”

“Freckles,” she replied.

“They’re kisses from angels,” he informed her.

They were being married for 67 decades.

Services have been held. Mr. Potash is also survived by his daughter Debbie Dobkin, sons Ed Potash and Mark Potash, a Chicago Sunshine-Periods sporting activities reporter, 8 grandchildren and 12 good-grandchildren.

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