Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Tiny's" Fruit Stand

Remember "Tiny's" Fruit Stand at Cashmere, Washington on Highway 2 between Wenatchee and Leavenworth? Remember the thousands of little "Tiny's Cashmere Washington" signs posted all over the state? And all the bumper stickers? The picture of the bright red apple with the happy little worm wearing a black derby? And once you stopped there, remember the smell of cedar from all the souvenirs and wood chips on the floor ?

I'm not so sure my folks ever stopped there. The first time I'm really sure was after I got my drivers license in the 1960s and was heading back to the coast after partying at Lake Chelan or watching the Apple Blossom Parade in Wenatchee. Tiny's apple cider seemed to quench the thirst.

How about "Tiny" himself? What a genius-- selling millions of apples by using a picture of an apple with a worm in it. He was a marketing genius! He was known as "The Cider King."

Richard "Tiny" Graves was born in 1930 and died of a heart attack (or cerebral hemorrhage) in 1971 at the age of 41. He stood 6-foot-3 and weighed 440 pounds. "He had such a hard time with overheating that his office was in a walk-in cooler and he would plow snow while wearing his trademark Hawaiian shirt."

He started "Tiny's" in 1953 at the age of 23. After Tiny’s death, friends continued to operate the fruit stand. It burned down in July 1972, was rebuilt and reopened in April 1974. Tiny’s officially closed in December 1981.

Tiny's sister Sharon Hall has written a book about his life called "Tiny, King of the Roadside Vendors."

Tiny drove around in a big Cadillac with a big red apple on it. I looked inside the car once and saw that the driver's seat was pushed all the way back so it touched the back seat. These links report that--

Tiny never married, but thought of the school kids as his family. He was known as a kind and compassionate man. If Cashmere's schools needed anything like new athletic lights or equipment, Tiny would foot the bill. He sponsored local concerts by country stars like Waylon Jennings. It's reported that he hated hippies.

He had huge inventories of fruit, cider, Aplets and Cotlets. He once bought 30,000 cans of peanuts and used some of them to build a 10-foot display that spelled "Tiny's."

Tiny put up more than 16,000 of his signs in Washington and other states. It's reported that a "Tiny's" sign even showed up in Viet Nam. He probably sold more apple cider than any other establishment.


  1. Those wood chips in Tiny's parking lot were mostly Ponderosa Pine with some fir mixed in. From the local mill, Schmitten Lumber Co.

  2. I have 5 hats, 4 tshirts (14-16), 2 patches, dozens of Tiny's fruit Orchard of Cashmere
    WA bumper stickers and a few hundred decals. Anyone interested?

  3. I am interested!! I want a Tinys shirt!

  4. Nicely written! I remember all those things from Tiny's. I was a little kid back that then, and now I'm old enough to feel sentimental reminiscing about it. I searched eBay to see if I could find one of those hiway signs that were so common back then - but no luck!