-ROBINSON TOWNSHIP HISTORICAL SOCIETY-
By Janet Gonter
When Frank Macek arrived in America from Yugoslavia at the turn of the 20th Century, he went to work in the Moon Run coal mines. But he had a bigger dream. A shrewd man who was fairly fluent in Slovenian, German, and English, he soon advanced in the mines.
By the 1920s, he had saved enough to leave the mines and achieve his dream of starting a business in Moon Run. He called it Frank Macek’s General Merchandise. Located on Old Steubenville Pike, it caught traffic between Pittsburgh and Steubenville, and helped local customers in the thriving coal town to avoid the company store’s excessive prices.
In the late 20s, when Moon Run’s Dr. John Burkett advised Frank to close the store because rough times lay ahead, he stood firm, saying that his customers “depended on him.” The store survived, and when Frank’s son Bob returned from World War II, he took over the family business and renamed it Bob’s Complete Market.
The market truly was complete, selling everything from kolbassi (his preferred spelling) and canned goods to hardware and toys. Bob and his wife Cecelia lived above the store where they raised their four children, who learned a lifelong work ethic by working in the store.
Other relatives, locals and teenagers also worked there over the years. Bill Macek, lifetime Robinson resident and Bob Macek’s nephew, fondly remembers the mechanical pony in the store’s small “vestibule,” where he and other students waited for the school bus in inclement weather. He also recalls the famous “yard-long” freeze pops, that were actually only half that length, and going to the store for his mother almost every day for a half-gallon of milk and a “long” loaf of Town Talk bread.
Those who frequented Bob’s Market still remember the mouth-watering smell of kolbassi and other freshly sliced lunch meats. In their small backyard, Bob and his workers cured meat in a 10 x 10-foot cinderblock smoker. Bob’s kolbassi was so well known and popular that soon he was shipping it all over the country.
Bob’s Complete Market thrived until the 1960s, when Interstate 79 cut right through Moon Run, causing many homes to be demolished, and virtually eliminating traffic on Old Steubenville Pike. Like so many other mom-and-pop stores in Moon Run, Bob’s Market could not survive and closed its doors forever in the early 1980s.