A Short History of Crosby Marts
By J. E. O’Mara
Crosby Dairy Products had its beginnings as a dairy farm founded in 1902 by my grandfather, E. S. O’Mara. E. S. grew the farm and by 1940 opened his first dairy bar in a newly constructed milk plant that currently serves as a store location and our corporate headquarters. My father expanded the creamery and in 1965 we merged with Crosby Dairy.
As the home delivery of milk and dairy products began to decline and retail sales to customers emerged, we turned our focus on the convenience store business to distribute our dairy products. The business blossomed with the guidance of my mentor the late Howard Crosby who had a vision to build a strong dairy program selling milk, cheese, ice cream but incorporating the sales of new products such as groceries, pop, beer, coffee, and tobacco. And he wanted to stay open for 24 hours – a pioneer concept in those days.
On July 1, 1966, Crosby Dairy opened its first store in Little Valley, New York. We took a converted milk plant, used shelving acquired from a local auto parts store, used ice cream freezers, and a register with a hand-crank. We hauled our groceries in a milk truck from Bishop Wholesale in Buffalo, and soon after, opened our second location in Hinsdale, transforming a renovated old ice cream stand into modernized building that ultimately became one of our flagship locations. Since then, the family business has grown from a modest dairy farm into a 12-store convenience store chain serving Northwestern Pennsylvania and the Western New York regions.
Our first gas pump opened in 1972, a single bay gas station acquired from the Kendall Refining Corporation located in Bradford. We expanded into gasoline, remodeling more gas stations and added self-service pumps. During this period we kept adding new products and services to better serve our customers in a continually changing market. In 1992 we were ready to build our first all new store. We broke ground on a hot summer day and opened our new store in Lewis Run, Pa.
We continued to look for new ways to modernize and expand our services. By 1996 we developed a food service program, established a branded gasoline program with Sunoco, refurbished our gasoline islands, and installed ATMs. Most of all, along the way, we emphasized the importance of customer service. Serving rural communities with our roots as a family dairy business, we strive to be the hometown presence with a personal touch for each and every customer.