by Lisa Tome
Rising Sun used to be "a thriving little metropolis" where those who lived and worked at Bainbridge Naval Training Center were frequent visitors to the town.
"You wouldn't believe what it was like back then," said Bob Shallcross. Longtime, and now retired, Rising Sun business owners Shallcross, 80, and Bud McFadden, 81, are planning to provide a bit of insight into town history from the business owner's perspective. Shallcross and McFadden will speak during a presentation provided through the Rising Sun Historical Preservation Commission. The event will be held on Wednesday, January 10 at 7 p.m. on the third floor of Rising Sun town hall.
McFadden owned Western Auto from 1962-2012. The Main Street business has been closed for five years and the building was recently sold.
McFadden, got his start working for his father-in-law, Charles Adelman, at Western Auto in Oxford in 1959. McFadden came to Rising Sun in 1962, first selling out of the Haines and Kirk store, then later buying property and opening on his own. He opened on West Main Street in the area of the current Bigfoots, before settling in on East Main Street.
"Rising Sun was a thriving little metropolis, with two hardware stores, two restaurants, a little grocery store, a 5&10, and a laundromat all in the center of town," said McFadden. "We had an Acme and an A&P and independent stores."
“Everybody knew everybody," said Shallcross.
Shallcross began working at a butcher/slaughtering business alongside his father, Herb, in the 1950s. That business later became H.E. Shallcross & Son. "I was the son," said Shallcross. The business grew and flourished over the years until it closed about three decades ago. "I cut shoulders, butts, and hams, pork loins, and spare ribs," said Shallcross.
"We had customers come from Oxford. We had Bainbridge (workers) come to the store," said McFadden. The men said it was a different business environment back then.
The men said that Bainbridge had a huge impact on town businesses. Navy personnel moved to the area and bought everything to set up a household in Rising Sun. "When Bainbridge closed, we lost a lot of customers," said McFadden. "We missed Bainbridge."
The Shallcross business continued to grow and expand, to the point that a federal inspector was stationed in the shop during operating hours. The plant sold meat all across the state including serving all the prisons. They also sold to other businesses such as Bob Evans.
After years running local businesses, both got out.
McFadden closed his shop to retire. "It's because I got old and I thought it was time," he said.
"It was too much of a rat race. The federal inspectors? We had to have them. I was getting older and my dad was sick. It was hard to keep everything in line and operating as it should," said Shallcross. "Custom slaughtering was a big part of our business. We sold to chains in Delaware and Pennsylvania and made scrapple for Bob Evans Farms." He also made custom sausage for the Dough Roller chain in Ocean City and expanded operations to other meats.
"I miss the people," said McFadden. "But the retail market has changed."
Neither has plans to start up their business again. "The machinery would cost a fortune," laughed Shallcross.
They said Rising Sun is now far removed from that cherished "everyone knows everyone town."
"Now if I go to the post office, if I know two people it's a good day," said Shallcross. "People forgot about that butcher shop."
"We were in business before credit cards. We trusted everybody and gave them credit," said McFadden. "You knew everybody. That was pretty nice," said Shallcross.
McFadden had a dozen employees. Shallcross more than two dozen.
"Rising Sun changed with the times. Everything has moved toward Martin's and the strip mall. It's a different world," said McFadden.
"It sure is," said Shallcross.
"It was a blooming little town," said McFadden.