By Nancy Tannler
One of the positive attributes to living in the Montavilla neighborhood is having access to Taylor Court Grocery, 1335 SE 80th Ave.
This market supplies the locals with a little of everything to make healthy dinners, lunches, breakfasts, snacks, baking, a pharmacopeia, and the entertainment necessities of chips, beer and wine.
Current owners Mel Hafsos and Errol Carlson have been keeping us from running out food and supplies since 1996.
This corner of the world has a history that goes back over 100 years. It is one of the few neighborhood groceries that has survived from the era when they proliferated in Portland’s neighborhoods.
Originally this plot of land was known as the Kinzel Park tract. The boundaries were Washington St. (formerly La Veta) on the north; Stephens (Mt. Tabor) on the south: 76th (Kinzel) on the west and 82nd Ave. Roses (Anderson) on the east.
In 1902, the house on the Taylor Court Grocery property was built by Rosannah and Fred Burdick. They raised two children here and in 1918, sold the house to Gilbert and Josie Albert, the first owners of a grocery store in this location.
When Gilbert’s work became too physically demanding, he enlarged the garage behind their home and turned it into a grocery store.
It was one of 800 neighborhood grocery stores registered in Portland in 1921. The location was excellent, just one block south of the Mt. Tabor street car line on Yamhill and in between grocery stores on Stark and Division.
The Alberts remained here until 1927 when they moved to a grocery store/house out at 84th & SE Division St.
Carl and Emmy Anderson bought the property in 1928 and operated a grocery/barber shop. They constructed an addition on the south side of the building to accommodate both businesses. The store was called Anderson’s Grocery.
Records show them at this location until 1942 when they sold the store to Grace and Hugh Schull. Then they moved to Anacortes where many of Emmy and Carl’s siblings lived.
The Schulls were successful wheat farmers around the town of Moro in Central Oregon. When they decided to retire, they bought the Anderson’s property and several other small grocery/housing spaces in Portland.
In 1944 the property at 1135 SE 80th was listed in The Oregonian as a rental. In 1945 the Schulls gave up the grocery business and moved to the Overlook neighborhood.
At the end of WWII Lorena and Gus Whitehead purchased the house and store. They also opened another store on 122nd & SE Holgate called Whitehead Grocery.
According to the records Gus managed this one and Lorena, the Taylor Court Grocery. In 1948 they moved to this new location and hired William and Florence Carpenter to run the Taylor Court Grocery only to return in 1956, having sold the Store on Holgate.
Gus ran Taylor Court Grocery for twenty more years and in 1963 the Whiteheads sold three properties in what was still referred to as Kinzel Park, Taylor Court and the adjoining house being one of them.
Ann and Frank Sudar bought the property and another lot at 7917 SE Salmon where they built a ranch style house. Even after Frank’s death a few years later, Ann continued to run the store for twenty-five more years before leasing it to Moon and Henry Hwang.
The Hwangs managed the store for two years before Ann sold it to Mel and Errol on April 1, 1996.
The history of Taylor Court Grocery was presented to Mel and Errol by Kathleen L. McCarter in 2017. McCarter did an amazing job of researching all these people and finding out when they immigrated to the US, got married, had children, who their immediate family was and some of their stories.
Getting to read this thorough document gave me a deep appreciation and lots of information about the community of Montavilla. It was not only the tale of an enduring business, but it weaves together many of the people involved in building the surrounding houses and making this the charming place that it still is today.
Having Taylor Court Grocery here has been a boon to our neighborhood. The locals continue to benefit by this store but what ever the next act is, the zoning can accommodate many different types of businesses.
This location has a rich history that has supported many people’s lives in different ways, and it’s a unique property that still exists in the neighborhood.