Simmons Center Market celebrates 80 years

The Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon-cutting at Center Market on Sept. 7 to honor the business for 80 years of service to the community. In the photo, Len Foxwell of the Maryland comptroller’s office presents a proclamation to Ricky Travers, who stands along with his wife and mother and father, Joan and Calvin Travers, and members of the Travers family.

CAMBRIDGE – Family, friends and the local business community congratulated the owners and operators of Center Market on Sept. 7, during a Chamber of Commerce event marking the store’s 80 years of service to the city.
Before 1937, when shoppers in Cambridge and most other places bought groceries, they stood at a counter, said what they wanted, and a clerk would collect the items. The self-service concept was new, and not seen in the city until Jimmy and Libby Simmons opened their store at 600 Race St.
That location is important to the store’s continued survival in this age of mega-markets. It also makes a big difference to downtown customers, not all of whom have cars to bring them to supermarkets.
“For the past 80 years it has been our pleasure to serve you and this community,” a statement from the market’s management said. “We realize that in this day and time, that we don’t always have the lowest price, but what we do have is customer service.”
Center Market has employees who cut the store’s own meat, and others who create unique gift baskets. A visit to the old-fashioned store reveals products and displays not often found in larger markets – in fact, the site is so unique, it has been featured repeatedly in regional publications as a tourist attraction.
“It’s no accident that we have been here 80 years, after all we have stayed true to Mr. Jimmy’s vision and we’ve had the good Lord’s blessings,” the statement said.

Dave Ryan is editor of the Dorchester Banner. He can be reached at

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