The main things that stand out in my memories of Zayre were the stores’ signs, with their absolutely gigantic lettering. We shopped a lot at Zayre (the Des Plaines Market Place location, at the corner of Elmhurst and Golf Roads) through my early childhood, but pretty much switched over to Kmart for our discount store fix from about age 8 on.
Ironically, I still possess an item bought for me there, which is more than I can say about a lot of the chains I’ve waxed nostalgic about here on this site. It’s the September 1970 issue of the Flintstones comic book. I was recovering from the chicken pox at the time, and my folks bought it for me along with a pair of slippers with a rocketship on them. A few years ago, on a trip back to Chicago for Christmas, my Dad wrapped up two boxes of my old comic books and “regave” them to me as a gift. My kids read ‘em now, and they’re still actually in fairly good shape!