The von Blons: An Addendum
Last month I posted a piece about the Von Blon Bookstore where REH shopped that dealt primarily with the elder von Blon and his wife - The von Blons: An Addendum introduction. But I did find a few nuggets related to one of his sons owning a bookstore in Waco years after his father passed away.
According to his high school yearbook, John von Blon’s ambition was to be a book dealer. I can’t say for sure if he ever fulfilled that dream, but his older brother Avery F. von Blon, Jr. did.
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While working for Hammond Laundry Equipment Company in the 1950’s, von Blon, Jr. thought about opening up a little bookshop in the Baylor area, on Dutton Street, in the evenings to supplement his income. But the idea didn’t come to fruition until the next decade.
In 1961 von Blon, Jr. started a small bookstore, initially stocked primarily with books his mother had brought from her shop in San Antonio to Waco around 1957. They were stored in his garage, along with some shelving and other fixtures from her bookshop. Avery, Jr. and his wife Helen opened their first bookstore on Eighth Street. He still worked off and on for the railroad, leaving his wife to run the bookstore. Their primary clientele were Baylor students.
Advertising was expensive, so a lot of small businesses like the von Blons’ bookstore depended on word of mouth. There was very little rivalry between the various bookshops in Waco because the proprietors passed word to an individual where they could find the books they were looking for. Von Blon, Jr. also would ask his customers to bring books to him that they did not want (particularly hardback books); and once in a while he would find one to three books or more in a single lot of books that he knew other clients would want to read and purchased them for resale.
I am not sure how long von Blon, Jr. was in the book business, but he was still in business in 1986 when the store was located at 1111 Colcord. It seemed to be a secondary source of income for him. His real passion was for working on the railroad and in manufacturing.
John, the youngest son of Avery, Sr. and his wife Lena, passed away on January 17, 1999. Of course, as related in my previous blog post, their middle son died while still a toddler. However, based on my research, Avery, Jr. seems to have inherited his mother’s longevity gene and is living a long life. The photo of his and his wife’s grave marker (shown at the very bottom of page) was taken in October of 2012 and I recently heard from his son he is still alive, despite a recent post online that referred to his demise. That report was greatly exaggerated.