104 Central Avenue was once a handsome brick building with a history.
It was still residential until around 1911, when the Holder Manufacturing Company set up shop there. They made “post card holders,” which I assume were the wooden retail display cases of the day.
Sometime around 1915 it became a garage, and then a series of garages – Studler & Davis Auto Repairs, Samuel Germond garage, Fred Hyserman garage.
Come 1922, Orange Motors, already established at 80 Central, bought 104 Central and the residence next door at 106, demolished them both, and built a gigantic new showroom, 104-106 Central. They thrived at this location for the next 12 years, expanding eastward by buying the defunct coal yard next door, and finally moving uptown in 1934.
After Orange came Livermore-Traendly used cars, which morphed into George J. Traendly, Inc., The Chevrolet Man. Don Allen was awarded the Chevy franchise at that address in 1937, and by 1950 claimed to be the “World’s Largest Chevrolet Dealer.”
Don Allen, too, eventually moved uptown, and in 1957 the building became Winn’s Department Store.
Winn’s became Elder’s Department Store in 1959 and folded in 1960.
The next tenant was the Detroit Supply Company, mirroring Orange’s earlier move by also moving from their longtime home at 80 Central Ave. By now the address was listed as 102-106 Central. They were there until 1972, when the business became A&B Automotive.
Around 1984, 104 Central ended its automotive associations and was reborn as World Trade Electronics.
It took another left turn in 1987, becoming Alfie’s Bar & Restaurant Equipment (owned by the former proprietor of Christopher’s nightclub in Northway Mall) and finally, in 1995, Michael’s Bar & Restaurant Equipment.
Sometime between 1997 and 1999, the big brick building that had occupied three Central Avenue addresses was finally demolished and replaced by – all together now – a parking lot.