Updated: Aug 9, 2019
Our last blog traced the history of the “corner store,” which has hosted many businesses in Blawenburg since the 1830s. Beginning in the 1920s, the corner store had some competition from a store built across the street on the northeast side of Rt. 518 at the intersection with Rt. 601. Joe Hillpot hired Allan Weart, a Hopewell contractor, to build the store, and Hillpot was the first owner and proprietor of the Hilltop Store. He chose the name because the new store was at the top of Blawenburg Hill on the ridge where Georgetown – Franklin Turnpike and the Blawenburg Village are located. But some must have wondered if the store’s name was really a play on words from Hillpot’s name.
Thanks to a chronology shared by Dot May in Three Boys from Blawenburg and information from Larry May, we know who the owners of the store were, but not their years of ownership. Here is what we know:
Owner Approximate Time of Ownership
Joe Hillpot 1920s and 30s
Tom and Agnes McGuirk 1930s
Everett and Dot May Late 1930s
Ed Williams 1940s and 50s
John and Ruth Suveg 1950s
The Holbigs 1950s
Jimmy Ajamian owner/proprietor 1950s and 60s
Bill Wellemeyer, proprietor 1950s and 60s
The May Store in the 1930s. Note the White Flash gas pumps. The right portion of the store was torn down when the flat-roof addition was added.
In the 1950s, Jimmy Ajamian bought the building and ran Blawenburg’s first and only officially licensed liquor store in a loft in the back of the store. There had been plenty illegal liquor sales by local bootleggers in Prohibition (1920-33). Ajamian demolished part of the original store and built a flat-roofed addition to the south side of the building. He moved the liquor store into the new building, part of which was leased by Bill Wellemeyer for a convenience store. Ajamian named the liquor store Town Wine and Liquor and then in the mid-1960s moved it to the new shopp