The Bargain Price Market, 327 Plymouth Av. N., served a diverse section of north Minneapolis from the early 1940s until the neighborhood gave way to Interstate 94 in the mid-1960s. The self-proclaimed "biggest little store in the world” sold groceries, meat, produce and a wide variety of flowers.
Owner Joe Greenstein earned the nickname “Pumpkin Man” by giving away thousands of pumpkins to neighborhood children every Halloween. But his soft spot for kids was evident year round. In May 1956, a Minneapolis Star photographer spotted him handing out free plants to any who needed a little something for Mom on Mother’s Day.
Do you recognize any of the young faces in the photo below? Only one -- Harry Hooker, age 6 -- is identified in the original caption. If he looks somewhat forlorn, it's because he had just dropped the little plant he'd received. The friendly neighborhood grocer (and future Fifth Ward alderman!) is handing him a fresh one.
The original caption:
Joseph Greenstein, grocer at 307 Plymouth avenue N., gives a second plant to Harry Hooker, 6, 1008 O’Brien place. Harry, a first-grader in Blaine school, had dropped his plant. Greenstein gave free plants for Mother’s day to kindergarten and first-grade pupils of St. Joseph’s parochial school and Blaine school today. Neighbors call Greenstein the “pumpkin man” because he gives more than 1,000 pumpkins to children for Halloween each fall.
Oct. 30, 1962: Greenstein gave away pumpkins to youngsters from the Jewish Community Center nursery school, 1701 Oak Park Av. N. (Minneapolis Star photo)
In December 1965, a Hennepin District Court jury awarded Greenstein $38,000 for the building that housed his grocery store at 327 Plymouth. "The property, consisting of a grocery and apartment building and a parking lot," the Minneapolis Star reported, "is being taken through condemnation by the state for construction of the North Ring freeway route." Greenstein had disputed the state's offer of $19,000 for the property, arguing that it was worth $75,000. (Minneapolis Star photo)