Many a kid knew Dot and Mack

By Regina Villiers.  Originally published  October 28, 1992 in the Suburban Life, added October 14, 2014

Dot and Mack's was a mecca for children in Madeira, who could sell pop bottles for two cents apiece, then use the money to buy bubblegum baseball cards.  Dot and Mack's closed and was put up for sale in 1975.

Dot and Mack’s was a mecca for children in Madeira, who could sell pop bottles for two cents apiece, then use the money to buy bubblegum baseball cards. Dot and Mack’s closed and was put up for sale in 1975.


It wasn’t the mall in Kenwood. It wasn’t even Kroger, Thriftway or Bigg’s.

It was just a small grocery store in a small building with a tiled roof located at the corner of Miami and Laurel, now Bank One, just across from Adrien’s Pharmacy.

Known as Dot and Mack’s the picturesque landmark, one of the last “Mom and Pop” stores, has been gone for 17 years now.  But people still remember the store with nostalgia.

The store was owned by Dorothy (Dot) and Mack Baldridge.

Mack had worked for much of his life at Rainbo Bakery, delivering bread and baked goods to stores all over this area.  “He was people person and enjoyed his customers,” Dot said, “but his dream always was to own his own store.”

And so in 1955, they bought the store from Mary Hemsath, and Mack started applying his people-pleasing skills to his own business.

Dot and Mack carried a little bit of everything in their store.  Their meat case was especially good, and they hired their own butcher.

The store made home deliveries, which was a big factor in its success.  “We delivered all over and had a lot of customers in Indian Hill,” Dot said.

Dot and Mack almost literally lived at their store.  Their house was next door and sat against the store.  “We could step out of our kitchen into the store,” Dot said.

While the store was important to its grown-up customers, it was a mecca for the children of Madeira.

Children loved Dot and Mack’s because it had the best selection of penny candy and bubble gum anywhere.  And the store would by the kid’s pop bottles and give them two cents each for them.  That was a lot of money to kids back then, and it gave them power and pride to be able to earn it themselves.

“We’d go out and count their bottles,” Dot said,  “and then they’d come in to buy their candy.  Sometimes, it would take ages for them to make up their minds.  It was a very important decision.”

Mrs. Baldridge still lives in Madeira, and she likes to reminisce about the days when she was one-half of the Dot and Mack team.  She likes to remember their customers and friends, especially the children.

The children liked to stop there on their way home from school not always to buy.  Sometimes, they just needed to visit.  Dot especially remembers Kit Kemp.  When she’d go to wait on him, he’d sometimes say, “I don’t want anything today I just wanted to talk to you for awhile.”

Dot and Mack helped many a Madeira teenager by hiring them as grocery boys.  “They gave our son Gary his first job,” Lavaun Toft said.  “They were good people.”

I have my own Dot and Mack memory, relating to my own children.

Sometime after we moved to Madeira, my oldest son’s new friend, Rick, came to visit and told Kevin about Dot and Mack’s and how they’d buy pop bottles and had all kinds of candy and bubble gum baseball cards.

The two of them spent part of the hot, summer afternoon scavenging all the pop bottles they could find.  They loaded them into Kevin’s red wagon and pulled the wagon down the long trek to Dot and Mack’s where they sold them and bought bubble gum baseball cards with their new-found wealth.

They spent the rest of the afternoon lolling on the back porch, popping bubbles, comparing their cards to see if they got an Ernie Banks or a Sandy Koufax, and trading their doubles.

Life was simpler then for children.  And life doesn’t get any better than those stretched-out days of youth – made more golden, in part by the likes of Dot and Mack.

The store is still missed, and today’s children are poorer for its absence.