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Meet Eddie Reddy, Kings Park's Grocer

The name of the deli may have officially been Indian Head Deli, but to longtime residents it was Eddie Reddy's.

Back in the 1930s, Kings Park was a small town with three grocery stores: Bohack's, A&P and Ralston's (in the same spot as the current ). Behind Ralston's was a small apartment occupied by the store manager, his wife and their four children. Eddie Reddy was one of those children born into the grocery business.

Reddy went through the Kings Park School District. Throughout high school, Reddy worked in both Bohack's and Ralston's. He and his 28 classmates graduated in 1944. Upon graduation, he joined the Navy and traveled throughout the Pacific. His ship, an LSM307, transported Marines from Okinawa to Nagasaki. Reddy served for two years before returning to Kings Park.

After a short stint as a contruction worker, Reddy was called back into the grocery industry by the manager at Bohack's. He was asked to help run a store which had opened in East Northport, where he remained for 17 years. During that time, he met his future wife Ruth through a mutual friend Pat Kirby. The two went on a first date with Pat Kirby and his future wife to a softball game. The two were married in 1950.

In 1963, Reddy bought a small building which he transformed into Indian Head Deli in the same place where is now. Many longtime residents simply knew it as Eddie Reddy's. According to Reddy, life at the deli was 14 hours a day, seven days a week.  

It was seven years before Reddy was able to take any time off. Despite the grueling schedule, Reddy loved the deli world. He looked forward to his daily morning crowd of locals Cal Cunningham, Wally Jenkins, Bob Wertz and Buster Toner who would meet every morning and discuss local goings-on over coffee. Although others would sometimes stop in and join the group for a morning sessions, the foursome was a constant for years.

As a storeowner, Reddy was known as a kind man who was always willing to extend credit to those in need. If you couldn't afford groceries until payday, Reddy allowed his customers to write a check and place a big "X" over the date so that he knew not to cash it. When the money came in, Reddy would get paid.  

The Reddy clan began to grow. Ruth and Ed had six children: Ed, Susan, Ellen, Billy, Marianne and Rob. As the boys grew older, they worked many hours in the deli beside their dad. The memories of his time spent in the deli with his sons and his friends are many.  

"I do miss the people," says Reddy. "Now I will be in town or at church and I get to see these grown men and women who used to come into the deli as kids raising kids of their own. I really enjoy that."

In 1988, Reddy retired from the deli and now spends much his time working in his yard and spending time with his family, which now includes 14 grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Reddy says he loves Kings Park for many reasons: its proximity to the water, his home, his church and his nice neighbors. He and his wife enjoy walking the Sunken Meadow boardwalk and seeing old friends.

Four of the Reddy children went into education: Ed, Susan, Ellen and Marianne. Rob, the youngest, is a professional musician working in Manhattan. However one Reddy carries on the family tradition. Son Billy is a grocer connection who now owns his own deli in Guildenlend Center in upstate New York.

Dave Adams June 29, 2011 at 12:17 PM
I grew up a few streets down from Eddie Reddy's and would always stop walking home from St. Josephs school to buy a bazooka joe for a penny. Ahhh the good ole days. A few years ago I ran into Eddie and Ruth on the boardwalk at Sunken Meadow. Was so great to see him and talk to him after all those years. I hope you are well Eddie and Ruth. I don'tt walk the boardwalk anymore, they won't let me take my pups on there :-(
John J. Gallagher June 29, 2011 at 03:25 PM
Denise....you certainly have a nack (or is it knack ?) for journalism. This is so well written....it really "takes me INTO the story"......and I love these specifics you refer to within the article......I really like the "x" over the date on the check.......reminds me of my Mom, back in the 40's.....we, too, had a corner store....Mom would send me, at 8years old, to "Rosenbergs" to get a bag of food....and Harry would WRITE THE AMOUNT OWED onto the brown grocery bag ......using a crayon......Mom would "pay up" every other week.
mark mangiola June 29, 2011 at 05:26 PM
As a boy I would sneak through the hole in the fence at St. Josephs to grab a roast beef on a roll with mayo... and a coke. Eddie would keep a tab for my mom so she could pay him when my dad's "pay-day" came around... What a wonderful memory of a wonderful man. I had a crush on his daughter Susan too... There are a few corner shops in San Francisco's Noe Valley that remind me of home... but there will never be another Eddie... Thanks for the great boyhood experience !
John Patrick Flynn July 09, 2011 at 03:28 PM
Great story. Thank you. The history of Kings Park lies within the life stories of the people who have either been born here or spent most of their days here. Unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer contemporaries of Mr. Reddy still around. So you better get writing fast Denise - get those interviews while you still can!
mary ellen moire June 19, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I worked at KPSH/KPPC back in the early 70's and we frequently went to Eddy Reddy's for our lunch - they made the best tuna on rye ever! Many fond memories of those days - wish we could go back!

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