In January, 2011, we will launch our blog which will show the history of retailing in downtown North America. We will employ our collection of over 10,000 postcards of these famous stores. Our purpose is to bring to life these Grand Dames that existed in major metropolitan areas as well as in small town America. We also want to make this interactive so customers and associates of these retailers can memorialize their thoughts in the Comments Section for the Blog.
Our first series will be about the stores in Southern California. We will feature Los Angeles stores such as Goodman’s Department Stores, Coulter’s, Hamburger’s, May Company, Broadway, Bullock’s, Bullock’s Wilshire, I Magnin & Co, Desmond’s, Mullen & Bluett, and others. San Diego stores will be Marsten’s and Walker-Scott. Harris Stores in San Bernardino is another.
The second series will cover Northern California. This will include San Francisco Bay Area stores such as: City of Paris, White House, Gump’s, Emporium, Capwell’s, Kahn’s, Rhodes, Hale Stores and more. The Sacramento store, Weinstock-Lubin, and the Fresno’s Gottschalk’s will be included.
During the year we will continue to post blogs on other states and provinces in North America.
Collecting the postcards for these Grand Dames has been enormously satisfying. I don’t want this important part of retail history to be forgotten. I hope you will have as much fun reviewing this collection and adding your comments and memories of these institutions in the Comments/Leave A Reply section below. If you have postcards of any of these stores which are different from my collection I would be honored to have the opportunity to post your card on the Blog.
Note: Elmira, New York, like most small towns has variety (five & dime) stores next to local department stores. Sometimes they also had a chain department store such as J.C. Penney, Sears, and/or Montgomery Ward. The variety stores always had excellent real estate in the busiest part of downtown. The local department store catered to both value-oriented and upscale customers with their good, better, and best merchandising program. The rest of the stores included a local drug store, a millinery store, a gift store, a hardware store, an automotive tire & battery store, a cinema/theatre, a candy/soda fountain, a cigar/tobacco/news store, a feed/farm store, a cafeteria, auto dealerships, a barber shop, and a restaurant or two. Of course, there was always a grocery store.
Downtown areas in major metropolitain areas were different as the stores were bigger. Department stores were what we today would call a shopping center. They were large and catered to different customers (budget, moderate, and luxury).