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Remembering Sattler’s     from a shoe store to notable department store

by Dawn M. Myszka, PBW Historian

On Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022 at The Columns Banquets in Elma, Professional & Business Women of Polonia (PBW) members and guests met for dinner and took a walk down memory lane with our presenter for the evening, author Mary Ann Siuta Voorhees and her husband, David. Mary Ann wrote a book titled "The Sattler's Diary - A Love Story Between a Store and Its Community."

Mary Ann is a genealogist and a Buffalo history buff. Her husband, David, is the great-grandson of John G. Sattler. In 1989 at a sidewalk sale at the Eastern Hills Mall, Mary Ann found an antique dealer who was selling three Sattler's pins. She asked if he had any more Sattler's memorabilia.

The gentleman got her in contact with the man who tore down the Sattler's building. That gentleman found eight boxes in the building's walls and sold them to her. In those boxes, she found documents and hundreds of photographs. The only people they could recognize in the photos were David's grandfather, Charles Hahn, and great-grandfather, John G. Sattler. It has taken her over 25 years to find out only a few of the names of other people in those photos. She is still trying to track down names.

In 1889, John G. Sattler, then only 17 years old, opened a one-room shoe store in his mother's home at 998 Broadway in Buffalo called "The Broadway Market Shoe House" across the street from the Broadway Market. He became the largest commodity shoe dealer between Chicago and NYC. That small store expanded to 365,000 square feet and became a landmark department store called "Sattler's." It spanned most of that block. Sattler's sold everything – from clothing, pets, thuringer meat and even houses. You can't forget that "998 Broadway" jingle or "Sandy B. Thrifty," the character in their newspaper ads.

Voorhees said John G. Sattler treated his employees very kindly and generously. Employees received bonuses, life insurance and a pension in retirement. He wanted it to be a family environment for those working for him. Every Wednesday, the store would be closed. All employees got full pay for that day. There was a rooftop garden on top of the store's building where employees could go and play miniature golf, horseshoes or sunbathe. There was also a library in the store just for the employees.

Many famous individuals visited the store, according to Voorhees, including actors Lee Meriwether, James Whitmore, Imogene Coca, Robert Goulet and Buffalo Bob Smith with Howdy Doody to name a few. Singers Andy Williams, Jimmy Durante, and Tony Bennett also stopped in.

In 1934, Sattler's had its first wedding in their store. The entire wedding, from gowns to tuxes and the honeymoon, were paid by Mr. Sattler. In 1935, a second wedding was held at Sattler's.

Sattler's started a Santa Claus parade in 1947 and over 100,000 people attended.

In 1987, Sattler's was torn down and replaced by K-Mart. Today, on a portion of that huge lot, is a parking lot for a closed business. At the other end of that lot is an Aldi's store. Sattler's was truly a big part of Buffalo's history.

Before Mary Ann's presentation, PBW members made donations to benefit The Response to Love Foundation.

PBW member Barbara Strzepka, gave the dinner prayer and reminded everyone that 28 years ago during the month of November, the Professional & Business Women of Polonia was formed. The very first meeting was held in a community room at St. Joseph's Hospital.

Barbara announced that she is a new juried artist member of The Roycroft Arts & Craftsmen Guild. They are having a Christmas holiday art exhibit at a new gallery on the Roycroft Campus in East Aurora from Nov. 18 until Jan. 5. She will have two of her porcelain paintings on display - "Celestial Gold" and "Song of Christmas."

She announced that the Sunflowers of Solidarity II are holding an online auction on their Facebook page from Dec. 5 through Dec. 10 to benefit Ukraine. The staging for the auction will be held here in Buffalo. Barbara has offered a painting of sunflowers for the auction. She said the inspiration was a pastel (chalk) drawing by Stanislaw Wyspianski. The sunflower is the national flower of Ukraine.

PBW News

PBW President, Christine Lukaszewicz Kibler, was honored as the WNY Polish American Citizen of the Year by The General Pulaski Association at a dinner held on Oct. 11 at Kloc's.

We will be resuming our annual PBW Scholarship for 2023. PBW Board member, Barbara Wetzel, is the Scholarship Chair. The amount of our scholarship is $1,500. The deadline to apply is March 1. Applications will soon be available online. We will hold our fundraising for the scholarship in the months ahead.

We are looking for one or two individuals to chair our program committee. We have decided to divide the responsibility into 1) finding the speaker and location; and 2) taking reservations and sitting at the check-in table. PBW Board member, Barbara Wetzel, has graciously volunteered to take reservations and sit at the check-in table. If anyone is interested in helping to find guest speakers and locations, please reach out to our Board. We would appreciate the help.

Our January dinner meeting will be Thursday, Jan. 26 at The Creekside Restaurant. The guest speakers will be certified care managers from C&V Senior Care Specialists. They specialize in dementia, Alzheimer's, rehabilitation and behavioral health issues faced by aging adults. Please join us for what will be a very informative presentation.


 Add your opinion

C&V Senior Care Specialists, Inc.

PBW members learn about

healthcare options and terminology

by Dawn Myszka,  PBW Historian

The start of a new year is a good time to reflect on one's past and start planning for one's future. The Professional & Business Women of Polonia (PBW) welcomed Katherine Vanderhorst and Dr. Amy Craven of C&V Senior Care Specialists, Inc. On Jan. 26, 2023 at the Creekside Banquet Facility in Cheektowaga. They talked  about utilizing certified care managers when a loved one is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer's whether at home or in another living setting.   

Sister Mary Johnice gave the dinner prayer before members and guests enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner.

C&V Senior Care Specialists, Inc. was co-founded in 2007 by Katherine and Dr. Verna Carson, a clinical nurse specializing in psychiatric mental health nursing. They discovered there was lack of education and understanding in post acute care for individuals with dementia living at home, in a nursing home, or in assisted living.  They sought to change how people get medical treatment as they aged in those environments.   

Katherine is president of C&V Senior Care Specialists and a board-certified psychiatric nurse with over 30 years of clinical experience in behavioral healthcare and Alzheimer's care.  She co-wrote two guides for caregivers, "Becoming an Alzheimer's Whisperer: A Resource Guide for Family Caregivers" and "Care Giving for Alzheimer's Disease: A Compassionate Guide for Clinicians and Loved Ones," both can be found on Amazon. com.

Dr. Craven is vice president of C&V Senior Care Specialists.  A doctor of physical therapy and a certified case manager specializing in geriatric care with over 30 years of experience, she joined C&V Senior Care Specialists  in 2015.

They talked about navigating the health care system and keeping a loved one safe wherever they may be living. This became especially important during the COVID pandemic where they helped families get their loved ones out of skilled nursing facilities and safely back into their own homes.  

Katherine presented an eye opening statistic.  In the U.S., approximately 10,000 people a day turn age 65.  By 2030, all of the baby boomers will be 65 or older and are projected to outnumber children for the first time in history.  

There are about 6 million individuals of all ages diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  That figure does not take into account those who have not yet been diagnosed with the disease.

Dr. Craven told PBW members and guests to think about their plan as they get older – where do we see ourselves as we age?  

The majority of us want to continue to live in our own home. The cost for care in a nursing home in WNY is  $15,000 to $18,000 a month; assisted living is $5,500 to $7,000 a month; day care about $75 to $90 a day and home care about $22-$30 per hour.

When entering either an assisted living facility or a skilled nursing facility, you will be required to provide all of your financial information (income, assets) to them.

It's also important to know the kind of insurance benefits you have.  Many people do not understand what insurance they have or what it covers. For example, if you are a veteran or a spouse of a veteran, have you looked into applying for those benefits?   

We learned the difference between the words "home care" and "home health."  Although they sound the same, they provide different services.   

"Home care" is nonmedical services  for individuals who need help with their daily activities – meal preparation, bathing, laundry, etc.  This type of service is paid by you out of your own pocket.

"Home health" provides medical services in the home setting – treating wounds, administering medications, etc..  Most insurance programs cover this service.

Having your legal documents (health care proxy, power of attorney) in order before you are in a crisis situation is also important.  Without your legal documents, who will be able to help you?

For more information on C&V Senior Care Specialists, Inc., visit their website at:

Come join us at our next PBW meeting!

Dr. Amy Craven and Katherine Vanderhorst.

Presenter Chris Campbell with photo of her grandmother who was a Larkinite.

by Dawn M. Myszka,

PBW Historian

The name "Larkin" is familiar to many WNYers. Located near downtown Buffalo, Larkin Square was once an industrial neighborhood. Today it is known as being an entertainment district with food trucks, concerts and events.

 On March 22, 2023 at Curly's Grille & Banquet Center, Chris Campbell, an attorney by trade and a huge history buff, gave a presentation to Professional and Business Women of Polonia members and guests on the original Larkinville.

Sr. Mary Johnice Rzadkiewicz started out the meeting with a prayer for Spring. It's been a long cold winter this year and all are looking forward to having sunshine and warmer weather.

PBW member Barbara Strzepka donated several Easter themed porcelain pieces she painted for the dinner raffle which benefits our scholarship. The pieces included pisanki and an Easter plate.

Then, it was on to Campbell’s presentation:

In 1875, The Larkin Soap Company was founded by John D. Larkin in Buffalo. It was a very successful mail-order manufacturing business. The Larkin Soap Company made more than just soap. It also made food, spices, beauty products, perfume, furs, rugs, and women's clothing. In any given month, 57,000 tons of product were loaded and unloaded on 1,000 railroad cars, she said.

The company was important and different from other companies back then. For starters, Larkin valued his workers. He believed that if workers were happy it added value to a company. Workers in other factories worked in deplorable conditions. There was no proper air circulation or lighting and work areas were over crowded. Workers worked 6 days, 60-72 hours a week.

The average Larkin office worker worked 44 hours a week; factory workers worked 48 hours a week.  Campbell told us her grandmother, Helen Keating Campbell, worked at The Larkin Soap Company from 1915 until 1920. Employees were known as "Larkinites."

In 1906, Architect Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to design the Larkin Administration Building. It was called "The Temple of Labor," and had inspirational messages as you walked into the building. It had a central courtyard, fresh circulating air, natural light, and an open floor plan for workers. Larkin and three other top management personnel were the only ones who had private offices. Everyone else worked in the open floor space. In March 1907 the company employed 2,022 workers. By 1919 it had almost 4,500 workers.

Larkin was known for his generous corporate culture toward his workers. The cafeteria employed expert dieticians. For only $1 a week workers would get six meals so that they would have at least one good meal each day. This helped workers stay healthy.

The Larkin company had a very low worker turn-over rate. Programs were instituted to help workers – a financial program called "The Larkin Benefit Association," an "Office of Factory Benefit Funds," on-site educational programs, and job training. Life insurance, a credit union, hospital insurance, paid vacations, reimbursement for outside educational expenses, an on-site library, full time medical staff and a dentist office were offered to workers. There were staff dedicated to helping troubled workers. Lounges, restrooms, and showers were also available.

The Larkin Soap Company went out of business in the 1940s. Why did the company fail if it was so successful? After World War I, there was a decline in mail-order businesses. The Great Depression and rapid urbanization also were factors. No one was interested in buying the Larkin Administration Building. It sat vacant for years and fell into ruin.

The building was eventually sold to the Western Trading Company in 1950 for $5,000 and replaced with a parking lot. Some of the building's remnants were used to fill in the old Ohio Basin, the present-day Father Conway Park on Louisiana Street in the Old First Ward.

 As we look back, we can only imagine what an architectural treasure that building was and what it must have been like to work there.

Please join us for our annual scholarship award dinner on Thursday, May 18 at Kloc's Banquet Facility where we will be entertained by vocalist, Mark Swarts, who will be performing “Sinatra and Other Crooners.”

 Life in the original Larkinville