Chestnut & Olive Businesses (C & O Center)

Do you remember the Country Boys Market with its wooden floors? Walter Smiths was the place to go for clothes on the Fulton Mall. Penny Candy had great blacklight posters and don't forget Whitie's Pet Store on Blackstone. What vintage retail do you remember growing up in Fresno?
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Chestnut & Olive Businesses (C & O Center)

Post by TomConnolly » Thu Aug 15, 2013 8:57 am

Anyone have any memories on the "C&O" Shopping Center and it's businesses? It was built in 1963. When we first moved to that area in 1983 it was vibrant with lots of shopping and dining options:

Longs Drugs
Was it Alpha Beta the Country Boy Market then eventually a SaveMart?
The Red Freezer Restaurant
Swiss Chalet Bakery
A ladies clothing store

I think I may be forgetting another shop? Across the street on the south east corner was a gas station. A friend from high school (Randy Blanchette, McLane, Class of 1987) worked there. Across from the gas station on the southwest corner was some restaurant with wagon wheels outside, I think it was called The Outpost or something like that? Behind that was a liquor store. The northwest corner was a busy little corner- Me 'n' Ed's, Winchell's Donuts, a video rental place. Further north on Chestnut was the Moose Lodge. Am I missing anything else?

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Re: Chestnut & Olive Businesses

Post by lendawg1182 » Mon Aug 19, 2013 12:15 pm

I do agree about this corner being a very busy area. I grew up close to Cedar and McKinley and went to McLane also. I do believe I remember a KFC across from the donut shop. Good memory's.

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Re: Chestnut & Olive Businesses

Post by Drakonyx » Sun Oct 06, 2013 8:31 pm

I remember the Long's, but not much else about the center. It seems to me there might have been a steakhouse on another corner of the intersection, but I could be wrong.

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Re: Chestnut & Olive Businesses

Post by flwbdw » Tue Oct 08, 2013 8:55 am

I left Fresno for the military in 1968 so I don't know exactly when or why it closed. I'm guessing it closed because of the downhill slide of the neighborhood or the new freeway system, I don't know. It certainly couldn't be because of the food or the service. I dined there many times and both were always excellent. I remember the bar was a favorite spot for members of the Air National Guard. It was at that location for as long as I can remember. Maybe one of Dan's 3 children will see this site and answer. I knew the family well and they were, and are some of the nicest people you could ever want to meet.

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Re: Chestnut & Olive Businesses

Post by senpaidonna » Fri Feb 14, 2014 11:12 pm

Yes! Finally someone besides me remembers the Red Freezer! The C and O Center was a weekly hangout for me and my Granny. We'd eat at the Red Freezer, which I LOVED, at least once a week. When I was little, I especially loved going to the ladies room there, because it had a lighted light switch. Fascinating. After our meal, we'd walk along and look at the shops. There was a beauty salon with pictures in the window of the "latest" hair styles. Then we'd walk past Cosby's Women's Wear and window shop. Next was a stop in the Swiss Chalet bakery for some cookies. We'd walk down to Long's to pick up a few things. I loved that Long's because they had a great selection of paper dolls, my particular weakness. We'd then back track to Country Boy and buy groceries. Across the street was a delicious Chinese food place called Chopsticks.

My parents would often get take-out there. The Outpost was kitty-corner from the C and O Center. The Vukson family owned it until it shut down in the '90s. The Vukson grandsons trained with my Dad, and I remember them inviting us to one of the last nights of the restaurant. It was later torn down. Now there is a lovely empty lot. Behind Outpost was Didier's Liquor, where my Dad used to take me to get Coke and Dr. Pepper in the little bottles. He left me in the car once, and I played with the gearshift, knocking our VW Bug into the brick wall in front of the store! Next to Didier's was one of the old KFC places, the ones with no tables and a big glass case to show off the delicious layered pudding cups they used to make. I still like driving past that part of town. Even though it isn't the same, I see it as it was. I remember the last time Granny and I went to Red Freezer. I was in high school by then, and we found it had been sold and turned in to a Korean BBQ joint. It broke our hearts.
red freezer.jpg
Fresno Bee ad - June 27, 1963 / Click to Enlarge

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Re: Chestnut & Olive Businesses

Post by MikeS1957 » Fri Feb 28, 2014 10:11 pm

My In Laws were everday regulars at The Outpost for many years. My Mom and Dad took us there often as well. My 1st legal drink was there. Yes many good memories of the Outpost, my wife and kids always liked going there. We were sad when it closed.

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Re: Chestnut & Olive Businesses

Post by technodelic » Mon Jul 07, 2014 6:10 pm

My mom used to get Tiger's Milk from the health food store between Winchell's and Me 'n' Eds. Tiger's Milk had this incredible flavor and I've never been able to find it anywhere. The energy bars came much later but are simply not the same. The only thing that comes remotely close is palm juice that you can find in some of the Asian markets. Longs Drugs used to have Asteroids and Wizard of Wor by the corner entrance when I was in elementary school. The 7-Eleven on Chestnut & Peach had Defender and Centipede, the Alpha Beta on Belmont & Peach had Ms. Pac Man and Galaga. I didn't have much of an allowance so I couldn't play enough to get good at them but they loom large in my memory.

For whatever reason we never went to the Red Freezer much. I remember when was bought by a Korean family. For a time they still had the old menu. I went in there and asked for the Korean menu since I'd never had Korean food at that point. The waitress had to go back to the kitchen and someone poked their head out to see who was ordering. For whatever reason I had to insist that I really did want to try the Korean food. I can't remember whether there was an English menu at that point but I remember enjoying the meal.


Re: Chestnut & Olive Businesses (C & O Center)

Post by rjoejoe » Thu Apr 14, 2016 11:03 pm

I remember the C&O shopping center and grew up in that area from 1968 to 1984. I was born in 1965 in Virginia but my family is from Fresno. I remember the Red Freezer, Swiss Chalet, Longs and Country Boy. Those were the hangouts for me as I grew older and could go there on my own. The Outpost was where my parents frequented when it was in it's hey day. We would also go to Me N Ed's just a little further down Olive across from Country Cousin. I recall Country Cousin burned down and when it was re-constructed it was call Country Cousin II.

I went to Ewing Elementary from 1972-1977, 2nd Grade Mrs. Billings, 3rd Grade Mrs. Fritz, 4th Grade Mrs. Mills, 5th Grade Mr. Weimer, 6th Grade Mr. Crumpacker.


Re: Chestnut & Olive Businesses

Post by PatriceN » Tue Apr 10, 2018 1:02 am

I remember The Red Freezer. I dont remember the food that good but I remember ordering a soft drink called the Suicide. All it had in it was all of the soft drinks into one glass but for some reason being a kid and odering the suicide was cool


Re: Chestnut & Olive Businesses (C & O Center)

Post by Crazeegirl » Mon May 21, 2018 7:48 pm

My grandma lived at the corner of Chestnut and White in a gray cinder block house with a red roof. It’s gone now since Chestnut was widened for the freeway. I remember going to Longs and Country Boy lots of times in the late 70s and early 80s. It was a nice place, country themed. I remember all the markets were smaller and darker then. There was another Country Boy on Barstow & Blackstone where the old Trader Joe’s was, it seemed to me that the one at the C&O was quieter and a little nicer. My grandparents knew all of the neighbors and the people who worked at the store.

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