LIMA — Howard Pangle started running a tiny grocery store in 1924, and he grew that into a regional chain of stores that continued in this area until the 1980s.And it was an accident.“Some of his friends shook their heads doubtfully when Howard Pangle quit a good job with Ohio Power Co. 25 years ago and went into the grocery business,” a newspaper story reported May 18, 1949. “Starting with no experience in the retail food business, in the tiny grocery store Pangle's first day's business wasn't too encouraging to the novice merchant. Receipts were $7.35!“From what did all this grow? Pangle himself says it was an accident. He stopped for tobacco on his way home from work one day. The owner of the grocery asked if he's be interested in purchasing the store.”First came the tiny corner store. Ten years later, with $1,000 — $600 of that borrowed — Pangle opened Pangles Super Food Market. The Super Food Market was on South Central Avenue between Circular and Union streets. The building's facade was enameled steel by local Davison Enamel Products. The 15,000-square-foot building was five-sided, air-conditioned and state-of-the-art, according to a June 23, 1936, story.A grand opening advertisement from Sept. 4, 1936, tells more:“A sensationally modern new store. This market has every facility for service. Separate refrigeration for meats, vegetables and fruit. Sanitary meat, delicatessen counters, porcelain enamel fruit and vegetable bins. All merchandise plainly marked for price. New visible scales — and quality backed by our guarantee.” The market was open seven days a week, a newer idea in the days when a box of Wheaties sold for 10 cents and eggs were 21 cents a dozen.In 1944, the first Pangles Master Market opened. With this concept, Pangle took modern conveniences a step further. The Super Food store was remodeled to become a Master Market.“Official opening of Lima's largest independent retail food store, Pangles' Master Market, climaxes 25 years of service to Lima's shoppers. The silver anniversary of the business, headed by Howard Pangle, the founder, and completion of the remodeled store will be held Thursday and Friday. The remodeling and addition to the building have added 6,000 square feet of floor space to the original Master Market building which was built in 1944. The present building is the fourth Pangle store to be located on the same site, South Central Avenue and Circular Street, in the quarter century since Pangle went into the retail food business in 1924,” a May 18, 1949, story reported. “Pangles Master Market represents, among other things, a race with Lima's expanding population as well as the tribute to the way the city's residents have supported an independent, home-owned business.”Pangle brought his son, Ray, on to help as vice president. The grocery was becoming a chain.The second Master Market was at 3201 W. Elm St., Westwood Plaza Shopping Center, with its grand opening held Sept. 28, 1955. This grocery offered newly designed carts — which look very much like what we use today — with a child's seat that folds out of the way. A “kiddie corral” at the front of the store offered a place for children to read books or play while parents shopped. The opening itself was an event. Ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his sidekick dummy Charlie McCarthy entertained. There was a contest inviting guests to guess the combined total of cash in each Master Market. The first prize was a 1955 Pontiac station wagon or hardtop convertible. The second prize was a 9 cubic feet deep freezer, and the third prize was a female Dalmation.The next year, the Pangle family announced they would buy three Williams Brothers supermarkets in Lima, Cridersville and Delphos. A warehouse to serve all the stores was on Prosperity Road off state Route 81. Master Market No. 3 would be located on Latham Avenue near Cable, No. 4 was in Delphos, and No. 5 was in Cridersville. The company also bought the Albers grocery in Westgate Shopping Center.The Pangles brand was growing, and rapidly. But when the giant clock on top of the former Albers was being removed by crane, there was an accident. The crane buckled after weight unexpectedly shifted, and it was amazing that no one was injured as the huge clock hurtled back to earth.Was this a sign of upcoming bad luck with the Pangles brand? See next Wednesday's Reminisce to learn more.