Sunday, July 4, 2010

Tiny's Fruit & Cider Stand in Cashmere Washington

You are looking at an old postcard of Tiny's Fruit Stand in Cashmere, Washington.

Richard Graves was "Tiny." Tiny was 6 foot 3 and weighed 440 pounds. Due to Tiny's heft and the Eastern Washington heat, Tiny's office was in a walk-in cooler. In winter Tiny would plow snow wearing no coat, just his trademark Hawaiian shirt.

Tiny was born in 1930, died in 1971, 41 years old, of either a heart attack or cerebral hemorrhage.

Tiny's Fruit Stand, with a focus on apple cider, opened in 1953. Tiny's Fruit Stand quickly became a Washington iconic location. Thanks in part to the fact that Tiny was a marketing genius, known as "The Cider King." Tiny had thousands of "Tiny's Cashmere Washington" signs posted all over Washington and beyond.

I remember seeing Tiny's signs all over the west on family vacation trips.

Tiny also put bumper stickers on the cars in his parking lot. You also saw those all over the west. I wonder if the Sea Lion Caves in Oregon still does the bumper sticker thing?

Tiny sold millions of apples, somehow managing to do so even though his marketing image used a picture of an apple with a worm in it. A cute worm wearing a black derby. Tiny drove a big Cadillac with a big apple on it. I don't know if that apple had the worm. I suspect it did.

Just a sec, is that Tiny's Cadillac he is standing in front of in the Tiny picture? It appears the big apple, on the car, does have the trademark worm.

I remember stopping at Tiny's many times as a kid. I do not have any memory of actually getting to see Tiny. I do remember the free cider samples. I also remember stopping at Tiny's with my little sister Jackie, just a baby. Tiny's filled up her baby bottle with apple cider. That was her free sample.

After Tiny died, friends continued to operate his fruit and cider stand. Then in 1972 Tiny's burned down. I remember this as being shocking at the time. Even more so the next time I was driving past Cashmere to see Tiny's gone, with blackened ruins remaining.

Tiny's was rebuilt and reopened in April of 1974. But, it was not the same thing. I remember the "new" Tiny's as being a metal shed building. Tiny's closed for good in December of 1981. The loss of a Pacific Northwest Washington icon.

Cashmere survives just fine, despite the loss of Tiny's, what with Aplets & Cotlets being even more well known than Tiny's.

I take it as a sort of tribute to Tiny that on the bridges across the Wenatchee River, that one crosses to enter Cashmere, there are boxes of apples, in artwork form. I have never looked close enough to see if any of the apples have a worm. With a black derby.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for this. Tiny's meant so much to me. My favorite times from childhood were summer trips to Alta Lake with a stop at Tiny's. I remember the feel of the place, the petunias out front. Remember the barrel full of surprise packages you could buy for a nickel, a dime or a quarter? Pat & Mike's Ice Cream in Chelan (5 cents a scoop) was another traditional stop on these trips, but it's Tiny's ambience that's etched in my memory.

Anonymous said...

Tiny's has fruit stands at every Seattle Farmer's Market I have been to. I used to boycott them due to their fruit being substandard, but last week after 4 years of not buying anything from them, I broke down and bought some peaches from them that cost $7. They started to rot before they got ripe. We went back today (after giving them a week to ripen) and they refused to refund our money and said "it's against the law". Well, then a lot of people are breaking produce laws, because we were allowed to exchange a rotten head of garlic for a new one and have complained to farmers before and they have either replaced the item or refunded our money. Please... buy from more deserving farmers who care about their fruit.

Anonymous said...

While cleaning a clients house in the Seattle area recently, I came across the picture of Tiny standing next to his Cadillac. It was on the floor near the bed in an unused area. It sat in a glass frame with the edges burnt and smudged to make it look old fashioned. I was captivated! I sensed this person was somehow familiar, jolly. I was in some kind of time warp deja vu.

I was born in 81 so I'm not sure how I may have seen these photos before.

Glad I found your blog so I now know who Tiny is.

Durango Northwest said...

Latest Anonymous, interesting that Tiny seemed deja vu familiar to you. I am older than you, I remember being at Tiny's Fruit Stand shilst Tiny was alive. I seem to remember seeing Tiny in person, but this may just be a memory of seeing photos of him.

Sally Harris said...

We visited Tiny's often, on our way from Seattle, two kids in the back seat on the way to going camping. By the time we made it over the pass, we were ready to stop. I remember seeing Tiny, big as life. It was a wonderful moment- he stood for all that was good- cider, aplets and cotlets, the treat bag and more. Thank you so much for posting this!

Amber Regan Ball said...

I grew up in Wenatchee with family in Cashmere. Tiny was a family friend! A nice man. He was jovial, enjoying a good laugh as we all visited at my uncle Ray Regan's home! To this day, I still miss seeing Tiny's Fruit Stand as I drive by! Tiny's was an icon in those days.

Anonymous said...

My parents often took trips (1960's) from Bellevue to Cashmere and stopped to see Tiny. In 1974 I traveled to Europe. In a small German town was one of his bumper stickers. "Tiny's Cashmere Washington"!

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid in the 60's, we often went on vacation from Seattle to Alta Lake, or Lake Curlew, or Lake Conconully, or Sun Lakes, or Lake Chelan, or Dry Falls, or you name it, in HOT, HOT eastern Washington during July. The thing that my brother and I looked forward to most, and nagged our dad ceaselessly about, was to stop at Tiny's for some ice cold apple cider. So WONDERFUL in that hot weather back in the days when air-conditioned cars were only for rich people and vinyl seats prevailed. I also remember the Eat at Tiny's little signs, like Bermashave signs, for mile after mile after mile along Highway 2 and vicinity. Great memories! Yes, I too miss Tiny's.