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One word or two, it was good



Published: Mon, July 16, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



"Chiptam."

Say it like it was meant to be said. As if it were one word. Only a rookie walking into an Isaly's store during the second half of the 20th century would have enunciated "chipped ham" as two words.

How many companies can add to the nation's lexicon? But Isaly's, a chain of dairy stores with its strongest roots here, did just that. It gave us chipped ham, Skyscraper cones and Klondike bars.

But it gave Youngstown more. Even though the exhibition singing Isaly's praises has been installed at the Sen. John Heinz Pittsburgh Regional History Center, Isaly's began its assent toward being one of the most recognized regional merchandising names in history here, in Youngstown.

And for years the company provided the Mahoning Valley not only jobs and recognition, but leadership. One of Youngstown's most spirited citizens was Walter Paulo, who started in the diary business as a 13-year-old delivery boy and ended it in 1965 as president of the Isaly Dairy Co.

While rising to the top in his industry, and for years afterward, Paulo headed Red Cross drives, savings bond drives, the Fresh Air Camp, Community Chest, and one year was the top candy butcher at Esther Hamilton's Alias Santa Claus show.

Isaly's employees were not only good for Isaly's, they were good for the Mahoning Valley.

Look homeward: Pittsburgh now has the exhibit. It will be there for a year, and it's worth a day trip to check it out. But at the end of the day, you'll be returning to the place that made Isaly's great.

Youngstown may always be best known as one of the nation's greatest steel centers, as the Ruhr Valley of the United States.

But it doesn't hurt to remember that the area also helped change the way Americans enjoy their treats. And it's not just Isaly's Klondike. Youngstowner Harry Burt gave the nation the Good Humor Bar. And another Harry, Harry Stevens from Niles, gave it the hot dog.

That may not be as important as helping to win World War II. But, given the site of the Isaly exhibit, we'd say it's at least as noteworthy as pushing pickles -- no disrespect meant to Heinz.

Since we began this piece with an etymological observation inspired by Isaly's, we'll end with another. Those little pieces of chocolate or multi-colored candy that you could have sprinkled on your Skyscraper cone -- some may call them "sprinkles". But among the cognoscenti, they were "jimmies".




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