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Sproul returns; keeps Blawnox Halloween tradition alive

| Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Bill Sproul returns to his old setting in Blawnox to pass out Yoo-hoo to the crowds of children, including Dylan Ferraro of Blawnox, and old friends on Halloween night.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
A sign hanging on the doorway welcoming back Bill Sproul to the store on Halloween night.

Sproul's Superette closed its doors in 2010, but a tradition lives on for its former owner.

Bill Sproul, 89, who now lives in Allison Park after spending most his life in Blawnox, returned to the site of his former store on Center Avenue to continue a Halloween tradition of passing out Yoo-hoo and candy to children in town.

His former grocery store is now Bunny's Cleaners and Laundry, owned by his son and daughter-in-law.

Sproul said he started his tradition of handing out the chocolate drink as an alternative to soda to children who came past the store on Halloween.

“I just thought it was better for the kids than regular pop,” Sproul said.

Sproul's neighborhood store became a fixture in the community during its 58 years in business.

Sproul said he got to learn his customers by name and regularly handed out gifts to them at Christmas.

Norm Sproul, who owns the cleaners with his wife, Donna, said some parts of the store's layout have changed since they took over but some things have stayed.

The cleaners still has a clock that was at the market, old advertisements for money orders that were sold at the store and some of the gifts that were given out to customers with slogans Bill Sproul wrote himself.

“It's still maintained what we had,” Norm Sproul said.

With a sign on the door that advertised that “Bill is Back,” former customers who now have children of their own and members of the community who wanted to visit with their old friend flocked to the store on a rainy Halloween to get their Yoo-hoo and reminisce about Blawnox's history.

Bill Sproul said he returns to his hometown about once a month for a haircut, lunch and other errands. When asked his favorite thing about Blawnox, he finds it hard to settle on just one.

“Everything,” Sproul said. “I was born and raised here.”

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513 or tmcgee@tribweb.com.

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