Louis A. Zon, who helped to turn a roadside garden stand into a sprawling craft and gift shop that served customers for three decades, died Friday in DeGraff Memorial Hospital, North Tonawanda. He was 87.
The East Amherst resident was born in Buffalo and began his business odyssey as a teenager, peddling fruit and vegetables on the streets of Black Rock.
He opened Zon's Food Market in Buffalo in the early 1940s and introduced Tropicana Orange Juice to the region.
Mr. Zon became owner of Union Garden Center in the 1950s. He and business partner Sigmund Kucewicz later turned the center into Ziggy & Zon's World, an eclectic emporium that sold everything from wedding supplies to gag gifts. The flagship store was in the Airport Plaza in Cheektowaga and operated until 1997. A second outlet in West Seneca closed in 1993 after several years in business.
Mr. Zon also developed Union Village Square and Willow Creek Executive Offices in Cheektowaga.
For almost three decades, Mr. Zon operated concession stands at the Erie County Fair.
He was the driving force behind a "Christmas Wonderland" lights and animation display that dazzled patrons at Summit Park Mall in Wheatfield in 2005. Judith Zon said her father stayed active even in his mid-80s, singing in the choir of St. Mary Catholic Church.
"He was always on the go," she said. "He was very unique."
Survivors include his wife of 65 years, the former Lucille Watson; two daughters, Judith and Ann Marie; and a son, Louis A. Jr.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday in St. Mary Church, 6919 Transit Road, Swormville, following prayers at 9:30 in Perna-Pellegrino Funeral Home, 1671 Maple Road, Amherst.