Friday was the last day for a popular DeKalb intitution. A story in the DeKalb Daily Chronicle recounts the history and good times at Ralph’s News Stand & Trophy House, 664 E. Lincoln Highway. Ralph Seats owned and operated the store from 1952 until his death last year at age 83. It was popular with locals but, as the article explained, “With a small number of street parking spots near the store—and an influx of chain stores offering some, but not all, of the same services as the shop—Ralph’s is yet another signature mom-and-pop style shop to shut its doors.”
Like an old-time general store, Ralph’s carried a bit of everything: “Lock de-icer can be found next to chewing tobacco. Toward the back of the store are rows of cards offering warm praises for birthdays, graduations and other life events. Sitting among chewing gum is an old-fashioned rotary-dial phone with a detachable ear piece connected to a cord … lottery tickets, trophy engraving, Western Union service, tobacco, magazines, newspapers and a tube tester from the years when TVs needed tubes to operate.
Ralph’s first opened in the middle of the 600 block before moving to the corner of Seventh Street and Lincoln Highway. For decades it was open 5 am till midnight. Ralph insisted a big-band radio station be on at all times, which it was—until he left! His widow Doris said it’s hard to close, but “it’s a little more than I can take. It’s sad not having him here. I miss him.”