08 March 2018

Foodtown of Hillsborough (1969 - 1990)

William Mazur, an ethnic Pole from what was then the Austrian region of Galicia, emigrated to the United States about 1904 at the age of 16. He learned his trade by working as a helper in a butcher shop in Manhattan, eventually moving to Wilkes-Barre, PA, and then to Manville, NJ by 1916. He opened a butcher shop in the growing Hillsborough Township community which soon became the Manville Provision Company.

Mazur's ads which appeared in the Home News from left to right,
1933, 1955, and 1959

Around 1955 he got into the supermarket business with Mazur's Star Market. The distinguishing feature of supermarkets was that they were "cash and carry." Instead of giving a list to a grocer and paying at the end of the month, shoppers found their own items on shelves and paid at the time of purchase. By 1959, with sons Charles and John on board, they joined the Foodtown family of stores - rebranding the Manville store and opening a Foodtown in Somerville.

Ribbon cutting at the Hillsborough Foodtown - left to right -
co-owners John Plesa and Charles Mazur,
Hillsborough Township committeemen John Guerrera and Elliott Smith,
R.L. Eghertt Refrigeration president and vice president Ray Eghertt and Tom Marshall,
and Mrs. Mazur
Almost exactly seven years after William Mazur's death in October 1961, the cornerstone was laid for the construction of the Hillsborough Plaza Shopping Center at Route 206 and Andria Avenue. The anchor store for the center, which at its opening in May 1969 also boasted a Buxton's, a beauty salon, and a barber shop, was Mazur's third area Foodtown and the first modern supermarket in Hillsborough. Owners Charles Mazur and John Plesa touted the ample parking and seven checkout lines!

South Somerset News 22 May 1969

On November 9, 1977, a fire which is believed to have started in a faulty air conditioning or refrigeration system completely destroyed the interior of the 23,000 square foot store. Most of the food, including the canned food, was ordered by the township's health officer to be removed from the store and buried in the landfill.

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The renovated store was back up and running by February 1978. Both Charles Mazur and his brother John passed away later that year and operation of the supermarket fell to the Paczkowski family. In 1990 they were unable to negotiate an affordable renewal of their lease at the Hillsborough Plaza and were forced to close Hillsborough Foodtown on Saturday, March 17, 1990.

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