Berkenstock Store – “Berky’s” – Sinking Spring

If you grew up in Sinking Spring during the 50, 60s, or 70s you probably remember Berkenstock’s Store, or just called it, “Berky’s” or “Fern’s”*. The people who have mentioned it to me specifically remember it being a candy store and calling it Berky’s. There is absolutely no information about this place on the web, but I did some sleuthing to find some information about who ran this store. What I had was a last name, location and an idea of a timeframe of when this store was in operation.

*Apparently some called it Fern’s, I have added this info after the original release of the article

It was located on the corner of Columbia and Hull Street, 101 S. Hull Street. Just caddy-corner from the Sinking Spring School grounds, making it easy for students to walk there for candy. I found record in the 1940 census of a Berkenstock Family who lived at that address. I knew it was a lady who ran this store, so I figured it had to be one of the daughters. It ended up being Fern Berkenstock.

At first I thought it might be Ethel but my sources said it was definitely Fern. I found Ethel in her 1946 senior yearbook from Sinking Spring High. I wasn’t able to find Fern in any of the mid-late 30s Sinking Spring yearbooks. Perhaps she didn’t go to high school, not surprising or out of the ordinary, many in that time didn’t.

I was able to find that Fern passed away in 2000. Her obituary was in the April 1st, 2000 Reading Eagle. It mentions her owning the store and gave the definitive time of operations, from 1940-1986. She was married at some point and her last name changed to Eyrich.

I would love to see and share some images of Berky’s if anyone has them. Any added info would also be appreciated. People remember this place fondly and I would love to bring it back to them. If you have any memories of the store please share them in the comments.

1958 Aerial of Columbia Ave and Hull St Intersection where Berky’s operated

8 Replies to “Berkenstock Store – “Berky’s” – Sinking Spring”

  1. I remember Berky’s! I loved going there after school and picking out penny candy. You could get a lot for a nickel or a dime. I still remember the smell that greeted you upon entering – the smell of penny candy. I also remember being there buying candy when the Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series – not sure of the year but everyone cheered. The owner had a tv on in the room next to the candy store.

  2. I remember Fern’s! We lived in the block of Hull Street, and sometimes mom would send us to the store for her. We got lucky when we got to spend the pocket change on penny candies there. Just holding onto that little brown paper bag filled with childhood delights were the best ever! Fern was a kind woman. I think it was she who first introduced me to swedish fish! (it was fun to trade with my sisters, too!)

  3. The booklet put together by Paul and Kathy Miller of the Sinking Spring Area Historical Society for the borough’s 100th anniversary several years ago has this to say: “The store was started August 1, 1941, by David and Stella Berkenstock and was known as Rusty’s or Berkie’s store. Mr. Berkenstock had previously worked for the Sinking Spring Foundry. Here they conducted a general merchandise, grocery and confectionary store and are remembered by the children of the area for its penny candy. David died in 1946 and the business was carried on by his wife and daughter, Fern Eyrich. Stella passed away in 1970 and Fern continued to operate the store until retired in the fall of 1987.”

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