By Janet Gonter
From the 1960s until the late 1980s, the Kossler Pharmacy on Steubenville Pike was a very popular place. In the words of former employee Alan Andrews, “It was an institution in Robinson. It was a pharmacy and a general store with a soda fountain. Mr. Kossler was great at hiring the local kids to work there, and he was good to work for.”
Longtime Robinson resident Jane Tallon shares the following: “Back in the day, our family doctor was located next door to the pharmacy, so it was easy for people to have their prescription filled after visiting Dr. Stevens. There was no Giant Eagle or CVS nearby, so Kossler’s was a one-stop shop that provided many things a family might need. It was always a happy place.”
Victoria Ciamarella Falerone also speaks fondly of the store.
“I remember going there after church at Holy Trinity with my dad, and we would sit at the counter and have a phosphate. It was a special treat!”
In addition to a dozen flavors of phosphates (a popular 5-cent soda fountain drink back then), it was well-known for ice cream concoctions.
Sports journalist Frank Garland remembers the “great magazine stand. It’s where I always bought my copies of Street & Smith’s baseball, basketball, and football yearbooks.
That magazine rack probably influenced more people than we think,” referring to the hard-to-find fishing and other outdoor magazines.
Next to the huge magazine rack stood a comic book display.
Frequent customer Daniel Besseck remembers, “Mr. Kossler had an excellent memory.
He knew what comics I liked and let me know when the new ones arrived. He also sponsored Robinson Township Little League baseball teams and displayed photos of the teams in the store.”
Owner Larry Kossler was the driving force behind the business’s success, and both adults and kids loved him. When he died in 2010 at age 87, the tributes in the funeral guest book said it all. They described him as an attentive listener; a wonderful man; a kind, loving and gentle man; and someone to look up to with the utmost respect and admiration.
The compassionate man and his unique “hometown” store are both still sorely missed.