After moving to quickly establish the first new Turnstyle West (technically it was the midwest) region stores upon buying out the company in 1962, Jewel proceeded much more slowly through the rest of the sixties. Having opened the Racine, Skokie and Harlem-Foster stores, two more Turnstyles would open in 1963, both of them in the Quad Cities – Moline, Illinois in May and Davenport, Iowa, in August. They would be the last new midwest Turnstyles for four years, when a “mini-Turnstyle” (35,000 sq. feet) was opened in Bettendorf, Iowa in 1967.
In 1964 the original Lynn, Massachusetts store, an outdated unit of only 45,000 square feet, was closed. The following February a brand-new 100,000 square foot Turnstyle opened in Quincy, Massachusetts, a Boston suburb. This was part of a Jewel-owned “Family Center” and also included a Star Market and a Brigham’s. Brigham’s was a well-known Boston area chain of ice cream/sandwich/bakery shops that Jewel acquired as part of the Star Market transaction a year earlier. Brigham’s owned a baking division called Dorothy Muriel’s that eventually supplied baked goods to the Star Markets (I can still taste those great corn muffins from my childhood trips up there!). Things remained fairly quiet on the Turnstyle East front as well, with the only real action being the conversion of two Star Home Centers to Turnstyle stores, in Waltham, Mass. in 1966 and Franklin, Mass. the following year.
From a business standpoint, the early years of Jewel’s Turnstyle ownership were very difficult, with fairly substantial operating losses. In retrospect, it’s hard to say whether or not Jewel held off opening more Turnstyle stores in their key market, the Chicago area (where Turnstyle had barely scratched the surface) in order to refine the concept. It had to have taken longer than they planned.
In any event, their act was together by 1968 when a new Turn-Style (the name was hyphenated by this time) / Jewel Family Center opened in the North Point Shopping Center on Rand Road in Arlington Heights, Illinois, a bustling northwest suburban town. The following year, a new store opened in west suburban Glendale Heights. That year, 1969, marked a major turnaround for Turn-Style with all of the chain’s 13 stores operating at a profit.
In November 1971, two Turn-Style / Jewel Family Centers opened on the same day. One was in Schaumburg, Illinois, at the intersection of Golf and Meacham Roads, near the colossal new Woodfield Mall. This store is the one I remember shopping at the most. The other store was in the new “Jewel Village” Shopping Center in west suburban Westmont, Illinois, at the corner of Ogden and Cass Avenues. The Westmont store was located in a Jewel-owned shopping center that was unique in that it was used for a “proving ground” for some new Jewel retail concepts – “Case n’ Bottle” liquor stores, Village Fashions and a fabric/craft shop called “Stitch n’ Knit”. These didn’t end up flying as standalone concepts, although the liquor store idea was later folded into some Jewel stores.
In 1972, Jewel began to roll Turn-Style stores out to other areas, notably the Eisner territory, which was located in Central Illinois and Western Indiana, and had recently been extended to Indianapolis. They even opened some Family Centers in conjunction with non-Jewel supermarkets, pairing up two Omaha Turn-Styles, one with a Bakers supermarket, the other with a Hinky-Dinky.
The next year, Jewel tried its hand at the catalog showroom business. “Intrigued by (that) $2 billion business”, as they officially put it, the decision was made to open a catalog showroom area within five existing Chicago area Turn-Styles, which would be redubbed “Turn-Style Plus” stores. Deerfield, Niles, Arlington Heights, Schaumburg and Chicago (Grand and Kostner Avenues) were the “Plus” stores, each store setting aside an 8,000 selling floor and 15,000 of warehouse space to accommodate the venture. A 350-plus page Turn-Style Plus catalog was published for customers to use to make their buying decisions at home, call in an order (or write one up onsite) then flee to the store to pick it up. The catalog showroom concept was gaining popularity across the US at the time, with companies such as Service Merchandise and Best Products enjoying tremendous growth. The major catalog players in the Chicago area at the time were Bennett Brothers (still in business) and McDade and Company (now gone). The venture was not a success, and only a year later Jewel referred to it as an “experiment”.
The photos above are from the early 1970’s, that golden era of white wine, ferns, and brown mansard-roofed discount (and grocery) stores. The first shows the Jewel Village location in Westmont, Illinois, the second a Turn-Style / Eisner Family Center in Indianapolis, with a mile-long Olds Custom Cruiser in the foreground. The third photo is an unidentified Family Center and the last is of one of the five Turn-Style Plus stores.
And for more Turn-Stylin’, check out John Gallo’s new site, Stores Forever. John has been a longtime contributor to number of the old retail fansites, and has now started one of his own. John had the foresight to photograph many stores in his native Racine, Wisconsin/North Suburban Chicago areas in the 70’s and 80’s. His current post features a great shot of the Racine Turn-Style store as remodeled in the early 70’s, when the former Jewel had been converted to a “Big E” warehouse food store, a short-lived Jewel no-frills concept that fell under the Eisner wing. John has some great ShopKo stuff on there as well.