German immigrant Henry C. Bohack opened his first grocery in 1887 and over the years Bohack developed into one of the first powerhouse grocery store chains. Grand Union, Key Food and all the rest were to follow. When the Depression arrived in late 1929, Bohack responded by actually opening more stores to provide employment. The founder passed away in 1931.
Bohack was recognizable by the distinctive “B” in the logo. A building now used as a warehouse in the triangle formed by Flushing Avenue and Troutman Street still has those B’s emblazoned on the sides of the building. As this photo from the 1930s demonstrates, this building once housed a Bohack’s restaurant.
Bohack’s prospered until 1974 when the chain went bankrupt. After an attempted merger with Shop-Rite failed, Bohack’s disappeared into the history books in 1977. Occasionally, though, an old awning or sign is taken down and the Big B is in evidence briefly once more.
The former Bohack restaurant really is a handsome building in buff brick. It’s hampered by its location on Flushing Avenue, which on the Brooklyn-Queens border is dominated by auto repair shops and auto glass wholesalers, making it a mini version of the Iron Triangle (or what’s left of it) in Corona across 126th Street (Seaver Way) from Citifield.
Bohack once had a large distribution complex at the Flushing-Metropolitan Avenue crossroads, and many of the brick buildings of the complex remain. “Bohack warehouse” can still be seen on this building at Troutman and Flushing.