Growing up at 245 East Street in Bloomsburg in the 70’s and 80’s was a really amazing time. It was a world that seemed to bridge the gap between the scenes you see in movies from the 50s and 60s and the ultra protected world we have today. I was permitted to roam a gradually expanding area that started small, but grew into a freedom that let me go from Nelson Field House to BHS to the Fairgrounds on my bike. In the earliest days, I was restricted to an area that went only from College Hill to Third Street and capped off by the ally behind my house.

I attended Saint Columba School directly down the street from my house. What that meant was that by around second grade I was allowed to walk to school alone. Each morning my Mom would walk me across East Street and I would walk past Arcus Brothers. Keep in mind this is well before the building was adorned with the spray painted signs it is famous for today. Back then they had a much more subtle set of signage, urging customers to come in for “Going out for business” sales and other classics.

As I got older, I was allowed to cross East Street by myself and spent quite a bit of time hanging out with both Steve and Mike Arcus at the store. They let me play video games and would teach me about various electronics if I helped out by running the vacuum cleaner or going to get Steve a Vanilla Coke. They drove me crazy when I’d ask how much a particular Atari game was by asking me, “how much do you think it is worth?” But at the end of the day, both Steve and Mike always treated me great.

So when I heard that Mike had passed away it made me reflective on what the Arcus Brothers have meant to Bloomsburg. You can read his entire obituary online at The Daily Item. Here is a short excerpt:

Born in Danville on Sunday, Dec. 24, 1950, Michael was a son of the late Max and Vivian Simon Arcus. He attended the Bloomsburg area schools. Michael was a self-employed businessman in the Bloomsburg community for his entire working career. On May 6, 1971, with his brother, he established Arcus Brothers, Inc., which he was vice president.

In honor of Mike and the store that has dominated the imagination of so many locals and visitors, I decided it would be a nice tribute to share some recent photos of Arcus Brothers. If you feel like sharing your own memories, good or bad, of the Arcus Brothers please do so in the comments.

Related Posts

7 thoughts on “The View from Here: Arcus Brothers

  1. I remember back in the 80’s I went in to buy a backgammon set and Steve said if I could beat him at a game, he’d sell me the nicest set he had at half price. I lost, but he sold it cheap anyway with the promise I’d come back and play backgammon with him again – I went back for many more games and have some very colorful memories! Quite a unique place, always reminded me of a mideast marketplace.

    1. I remember fondly (NOT) how they removed the front door to our second floor apartment in the middle of winter for over a week before we got the Attorney General’s office involved and they were forced to put the door back on the hinges.

      an eyesore? absolutely

    2. The town should consider demolishing the place when it finally tanks. Poor customer service when I visited so I may be biased here…

  2. Once upon a time, I was unemployed and had student loans. Steve & Mike gave me a real job at 53 hours per week, $1500 per month. They knew I wouldn’t work there forever, so they gave me Wednesdays off so I could job search. They bought me lunch once in a while, and $100 for Christmas. I appreciated all they did for me. Thank you, Mike & Steve!

  3. I lived there from ’87 through ’89 as a student at Bloom and the Arcus Bros were good to us (sort of) as Landlords. Some of my best memories occurred there and my TKE bros. would concur- heat on Nov.1, off March 15. Anything else, additional. IT WAS BLOOMSBURG- IT WAS FREEZING WAY BEYOND BOTH LIMITS!! They were as flexible as concrete. But, decent guys that let us work off the additional cost at the shop. Nice guys. But to b part of a downtown iconic structure, well worth it! That was my room above the door to the store, 1/4-inch wood for insulation and automobile carpet for finish. As bad as they were, I thank Mike for showing me what negotiating is really all about AND they never caught on to our parties (“You are out if we catch you”) that would have made Mardi Gras blush. Really. Anyone remember coming to our parties?

  4. I lived in Bloomsburg from 1971 until 1976 when I returned to my home town which is Wilmington, Delaware. I would browse in Arcus Brothers on occasion; I had lived in Scott Township at the time but often rode my bike in town. Michael and Steven were good to me; they did not mistreat me at all.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *