Becker Market, Inc. was established in 1925 by Fred H. Becker as a meat market on Front Street in downtown Rochester where the Federal Building now stands. In those days it was a thriving shopping district where individuals and restaurants bought food from small shops. An old daily menu from the Odenbach Hofbrauhaus printed for Saturday, March 12, 1910 has lists of goods and prices hand written on the back, possibly from his father. In a testimonial advertisement proclaiming “America’s Progressive Retailers,” Fred H. Becker is pictured along with a letter proclaiming the virtues of his “Jim Vaughan” electric meat cutting saw. That letter was dated April 10, 1924. The original meat scale from that shop is now on display in our store.
With World War II came meat rationing and the business evolved into a railroad salvage operation, buying goods damaged in train wrecks and reselling them. In the early 1940’s Fred bought the old Union Hall, formerly the Gates Grange at 1461 Buffalo Road. It was here that his hobby of dabbling in railroad salvage became his second career. In those days most heavy goods were shipped by railroad—there was no Interstate Highway System back then. Many times the wrecks included shipments of furniture and Becker’s developed a reputation as a great place to buy ‘scratch & dent’ furniture and appliances, as well as canned goods and another scarce commodity—sugar!
The farmhouse structure built in 1881 still has the original steps that permitted ladies to enter the Grange dance hall directly from their carriages. Today, that Grange Hall is only the front room of our sprawling complex which also includes the carriage house built with hand-cut stone that once served the old Gates Presbyterian Church next door. The cemetery by our parking lot is the resting place for a civil war veteran and two veterans of the Revolutionary War.
By the late 1940’s the Baby Boom was in full swing and Fred Becker (Sr.) opened accounts with furniture manufacturers to sell new furniture. In the early 1950’s, Fred convinced his son, Frederick H. Becker, to come into business with him to manage the growing demand for new furniture. Frederick held the reins of the retail furniture side of the business for more than fifty years, expanding it even further.
In 1969, Frederick’s son, Rick, came into the business and began converting warehouse space into showroom as the industry expanded its offering of different styles. Rick’s interest in quality and design brought an increased awareness of product offerings and an emphasis on special ordering to meet the varied desires of our customers. Rick’s sister, Viky, joined the business in the 1980’s, bringing her flair for accessories and decoration to the store. With their father’s passing away in 2000, Rick and Viky continued to run the business until Viki left Rochester in 2005 to follow her dream in the Virgin Islands.
Since then, Rick has guided the business through the Great Recession and held fast while many of his manufacturers went out of business or became importers of foreign goods. The strength of our upholstery lines has carried Becker’s through the difficult years when people were buying solely out of need rather than want. And as the economy improves Rick continues to expand and refine Becker’s as a resource for quality furniture that exists beyond the limitations of larger chain stores. Moreover, it has become a store where customers are treated like friends—an attitude that hearkens back to the days when the business was founded by his grandfather.