Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Famed Dominick's Arch, 1971

Welcome to those who have come here by way of Eric Zorn’s Chicago Tribune column today. This website is a tribute to retail chain stores of the past – mainly supermarkets and discount stores, with a few others (department stores, toy stores, etc.) thrown in just for fun. Some chains are gone altogether. For the ones that remain of course, the stores look radically different today.

My name is Dave, and I grew up in the Chicago area during the Ray Rayner/Family Classics/Svengoolie period (which was somewhere between the Mezozoic and Paleozoic eras, I believe). Many of the chains profiled are from the Chicagoland area and can be found at this link. Extended postings on Korvettes, Sears, Turn-Style and the early history of Jewel are here so far, along with a few Dominick’s tidbits. Also Shoppers World , Kmart and Bargain Town, just for good measure. My travels through the years have led me to a general fascination with retail history across the country, and you will find info on chains from many other regions. If your favorite chain isn’t here yet, hopefully it will be soon.

Regarding the photo above - no, the St. Louis Arch has not sold naming rights – this was the original sign from the Dominick’s distribution center in Northlake, Illinois, shown in a 1971 photo. This sign was a landmark for I-290/294 commuters throughout the sixties and seventies. The facility was originally a Kroger distribution center, and when I was very young the Kroger block letter logo (white letters on individual blue square backgrounds) existed where the Dominick’s logo appears in this photo. The sign was replaced with a more conventional version in the early 1980’s.

Thanks so much for stopping in, and please come back!


  1. As a fellow Illinois Boy, I should point you to Aside from being nostalgic about the same old store as you, I am sure you'll enjoy the video nuggets on that site.

    Keep up the great work, Dave.


  2. Kroger is sort of back in Chicagoland. They own Food 4 Less stores. Kinda sounds kitchy, like the old independant gas stations from pre 1974, "Gas 4 Less"

  3. We had a sign similar to this in my neck of the woods.

  4. Congrats, Dave! I love this photo. I have never even seen that sign before. Too bad Kroger nor Dominick's ever adopted that arch sign at their store locations.

  5. Jack - Thanks, buddy. I really appreciate it. You know, I actually have seen the "Fuzzy Memories" site, and I should probably put up a link to it. I have to stay away from it, though because I'm guaranteed to spend an hour on it every time!

    Tomcat - I've seen the Food4Less stores in L.A. and had no idea they were in Chicago. Thanks!

    Steven - The same thing, very cool!I wonder what the original signage looked like.

    Didi - The thing was absolutely huge and would probably have had to be scaled down to work on a store location. Unless it was in California, where huge and outrageous (i.e.: the kind I like)signs were the norm!

  6. Maybe a smaller scaled versian would of work. Alas, though, it is too late for any of that.

    I shop at Food4Le$$ for precisely the reason the same states. I didn't know they were owned by Kroger until actually setting foot inside one a couple of years ago. When I saw the Kroger brand products, I made the connection. Great place to shop for some cheap groceries.

  7. The original Crossroads Mall signage was blue neon channel letters on a sold white background. The sign was renovated when Waccawaw Pottery came into the mall in the 1980s and refaced when Waccawaw became HomePlace.