Parke’s Coffee / Adolph Fruchter

“Parke’s” as seen on Hope Street

Listed in early atlases as a distillery, “whiskey brewery” and warehouse. Later maps have no record of what is happening at the location. 

L. H. Parke Company started in 1889 as a partnership of Louis H. Parke and William P. M. Irwin. The partnership took over the small provision-pushcart business of Samuel Irwin, a civil war veteran who had lost his arm in the Battle of Winchester, Virginia. Parke started as a seller of coffee, tea and spices. The company grew to be a major institutional wholesale seller of canned goods, and was famous for its coffee (Parke’s Unmatchable Dry Roast Coffees), tea, spices and “Packed to Order” canned goods. In 1961 the company was sold to Consolidated Foods and was merged in 1962 into Monarch Foods. At the time of the sale the company was headquartered in Philadelphia with offices and warehouses in Pittsburgh, Washington DC, Richmond, Virginia and Albany, New York.

Donald Irwin Jr., President of Parke became the first president of Monarch Institutional Foods at that time. In 1946, Consolidated Foods Corp., the precursor of Sara Lee Corporation, acquired Monarch Foods and eventually “US Foodservice” or United Signature Foods, Inc., a broadline distributor based in Wilkes-Barre, PA, acquired former sister company PYA/Monarch for $1.57 billion on December 5, 2000.

Rudolph Fruchter Industries, Inc.
Wholesale Distributors of kitchens, Vanities & Appliances

Building has had a later life as a distributor for kitchen furniture and appliances. Garish purple and white street level paint scheme, which reads:

“Fruchter Industries, Inc. Wholesale Distributors of kitchens, Vanities & Appliances”

This explains some of the other signage found around the complex. For example:

“TAPPAN” with an image of a home cooking range, and…

“Appliances, Cabinets, Vanities” opposite.
Both clearly visible from the elevated train platform hovering over Front Street a few yards away.

There are numerous overlapping signs on the sides of the building, illustrations of vanities and home cooking ranges, and multiple versions of the FRUCTER company name, all visible from the elevated train. Peeking out beneath all of them you can make out a large “PARKE’S COFFEE”.

Front Street just below Girard [map]

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