Tradition Crumbles; Cahalys to Move

As the world goes, so goes Cahalys' Infected by the spirit of the large, stark, and controversial buildings springing up everywhere, the Cahaly brothers will soon move their retail grocery story next door, to 47 Mount Auburn St., and there turn it into a "modern superette," about twice as large as their present establishment.

"I feel wonderful," says Ralph Cahaly about the move. He expects to double his business. When the new store opens about Nov. 1, the old one will be used as a storehouse.

Return to Glory

Cahaly apparently views the change as a return to past glory. During the 42 years he and his brother Mike have operated stores in Cambridge, only the past three have been spent at the present small site. For more than 20 years before then, the Cahalys were at 79 Mount Auburn in a store approximately twice as large. They only left when they were forced out by the Health Center, refused an alternative site offered by the College because it was too small, and moved to their current location "temporarily." "We are centrally located for Harvard students," notes Ralph.

Mike, the elder brother, will retire. His place in the store, which is open 17 hours a day, seven days a week, will be filled by Ralph's son John, a '63 graduate of Tufts.


The five Cahaly brothers grow up in Damascus, Syria, "the oldest city in the world," Ralph boasts. Their parents worked in a silk mill. Mike, "10 or 12 years older" than 60-year-old Ralph, came to America in time to fight in World War I. Ralph arrived in 1920, at the age of 17, and found his first job in a Liggetts drug store. The brothers opened a small grocery store in 1922 on Oxford St. in Cambridge, but after six years made a fateful move. All of their four succeeding stores were on Mount Auburn St. Old graduates can recall endless Cahaly wanderings, and rumors that they were once going to buy the yellow house now used for the Radcliffe Institute, once the house now Master Crooks' residence. They reminisce about the old Cahalys' and the old 15 cents Cronin's beer--"they (sigh) used to be twice as large."

Club 47 Mount Auburn will also double its size, reports Cahaly, moving to "a junky old building" at 47 Palmer St. and the corner of Church St