WARREN - When Paul Trevelline and a cousin returned home from World War II in 1946, the two men decided to open a shop selling "knickknacks" and sandwiches.
It did not take long for the knick knacks portion of the business, and the partnership, to vanish and the shop to eventually become the Hot Dog Shoppe.
The business survived and has thrived for more than 67 years.
Trevelline died Tuesday at his home in Cortland. He was 89.
With a simple idea and hard work, Trevelline helped to create an institution that has become a part of the fabric of the city.
The Hot Dog Shoppe, 740 W. Market St., over the years has employed hundreds of students from area schools.
"Paul was a person who had a sincere interest in people," Raymond Trevelline, his brother, said. "He had a good heart. He lived the life of a good Christian man."
Raymond Trevelline said the four brothers eventually opened hot dog shops in different cities.
Former Warren Mayor Michael J. O'Brien worked for the Hot Dog Shoppe for six years.
"I was very shy when I was a teenager," O'Brien said. "It was while I was working at the Hot Dog Shoppe that I really learned how to work with others and put myself out there."
O'Brien described Trevelline as one of the nicest men he has met.
"He anonymously donated so much to so many," O'Brien said. "He was a giant among philanthropic entrepreneurs. He did things in a quiet way."
O'Brien said the Hot Dog Shoppe always has been successful because it attracted students, blue color workers, lawyers, doctors and anyone seeking a quick good meal.
Councilman John Brown, D-3rd Ward, described Trevelline buying bicycles from Thumm's Clock and Bike Shop and giving them to the Salvation Army.
"He would not allow them to tell where the bicycles came from," Brown said. "He was a real gentleman."
Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd Ward, described Trevelline as a supporter of young people and of area schools.
"Working at the Hot Dog Shoppe allowed hundreds of young people to pay for school," Novak said.
Mark Trevelline, Paul's son, said the store was successful because the atmosphere is great and the food has been consistently good and fresh.
"My father was a straight shooter," Mark said. "He took care of a lot of schools. He fed a lot of sports teams. He was a caring man who never took credit for anything."
The Hot Dog Shoppe is still a family operation. It is now run by Jack and Kirk Doverspike, Raymond Trevelline and Mark Trevelline.