In October 1953 two World War II veterans, Bernie Radin and Herm Zeitlin opened Syracuse's first discount retail store, Ra-Lin. Just think, it could have been Zeit-din?
In the early 1960s Ra-Lin moved from Butternut Street to 625 Burnet Ave., east of downtown Syracuse. The increase in sales of both appliances and electronics had created a demand for more space.
This week, 56 years later, Ra-Lin has just been completely remodeled and is celebrating with a grand re-opening sale.
The central New York retailing landscape has evolved in the last five decades, with many local retailers closing their doors and a never-ending stream of regional and national chains entering and leaving the market. One of the few consistent factors has been Ra-Lin. And the demand for appliances and electronics has continued right along.
The business is still locally owned and operated by Radin and his sister Marsha Poushter.
"We were warehousing merchandise that was never on display due to space limitations," owner Lewis Radin said. "We sell loads of higher-end electronics without being able to show it properly. Now that we can show the public what this stuff can really do, look out."
And consider that Ra-Lin has the largest inventory of appliances in Central New York. "Our appliance inventory is central New York's largest. Finally we can show it all to you," Radin said.
Another advantage to shopping at Ra-Lin is the knowledge of their sales staff. When Annette Hogan wanted to purchase a camera, she said she had been out of the picture taking game for awhile.
"In the photography department you can tell they all are experienced photographers and are really into it," Hogan said.
The gentleman at the counter, asked her what she would be most likely doing with the camera, and then gave her options on camera models that what would work best for her needs. She said she also received a free invitation to a class of instruction and free print processing with her purchase that was good for up to a year after purchase.