Saturday, May 17, 2008

Thanks For Tuning In!

…and welcome to all of those who are visiting from, where I’ve noticed this site is featured today! The Kmart posts are below (just scroll down) and on the next page. Hope that you enjoy these looks at our well-dressed retail past. A number of discount store and supermarket chains have been featured (plus a lot of stuff about Sears) up to now, and they can be searched by chain and in some cases by city on the lower right side of the page. If your favorite chain isn't on here yet, hopefully it will be soon.

The scene above is from a G.C. Murphy store in 1968, where a finely outfitted family is about to drop some serious disposable income on a new RCA Color TV. The family’s first color set, I’d be willing to bet.

Hope you enjoy it and thanks very much again!


  1. Just drifted in from the fark comment thread ( )

    This rocks.

    Now get off my lawn, sonny!

  2. A 25-inch console color TV back then would set you back something like $700, to which you could add a zero to get the equivalent in today's money. Serious disposable income, indeed. This is about a third of what one might have expected to pay for a new car. People would take out bank loans for things like that.

  3. Those bring back memories! True story: when the first Kmart opened in Waterloo, Iowa, my mother put her name into a national drawing for a car - and won! She didn't even have an "official" entry form, just a piece of paper.

    Got here from but also follow a few bloggers on the site. Very interesting series here!

  4. Paul - She's definitely got that "get off my lawn" look!

    Steaming Pile - It was huge money at the time. Stuff like this is much cheaper today in relative terms.

    Blue Opal - That's a great story! I wonder what kind of car it was? I'm picturing a medium blue 4-door Chevy Impala.

  5. I have a funny K-Mart story - one that may astound those of you who have taken K-Mart for granted all your life.

    I lived for a large portion of my life on the island of Guam.

    Even back in the 70's, Guam had quite a few touches of Americana - McDonalds, Shakeys, Ben Franklin Store (remember them?)

    As the 80's and 90's progressed, more and more American businesses filtered into the island - Taco Bell, Denny's, CostCo, etc.

    And FINALLY - in the early 90's, Guam opened its K-Mart. (And, incidentally, the first Little Caesar's Pizza as the in-store restaurant.)

    Guam's location (about 3 hours flight from Japan) makes it a popular vacation destination, particularly among the middle-class who may not be able to spring for the ticket all the way to Hawaii.

    And the Japanese at the time LOVED anything that smacked of Americana. I do not wish to stereotype, but it was definitely true at the time. You couldn't swing a dead crab without hitting a Wild West Gun Club of one sort or another, catering exclusively the Japanese tourists who loved getting dressed up in cowboy duds and firing a six-shooter.

    So the night K-Mart opened, I was an announcer working at the local radio station, doing a remote broadcast.

    And I recall seeing stretch limousines pull up in front - and Japanese tourists in TUXEDOS and EVENING DRESS getting out ---

    ... all for a night of shopping at K-Mart.

  6. Fred - Fascinating story about Guam and their affinity for American culture. I guess I would have expected a degree of that, but wild west shows and a limousine procession for a Kmart opening? Wow!

  7. Hope you didn't mind the increased traffic from I submitted your site hoping to spread some retro goodness around. Looking at the Fark comments, a lot of people enjoyed your site...and I did, too! I can't tell you how good it felt to see a K-Mart as it looked in the 1970s. I live in Texas and K-Mart is gone from the state now. It's too bad because they were a major part of my shopping life while growing up.

    On another note, we didn't have Jewel Osco, we had Jewel T(who are gone as well). They weren't as big here as they were in other states.

  8. PacMan - Thanks very much, I greatly appreciate it! I think a lot of us remember those stores fondly, and I'm glad that people enjoy the site and have shared their own memories.

    I grew up around Jewel, but never got to see one of the "Jewel T" stores. They came and went pretty fast.

    Thanks again!