Monday, July 13, 2009

We're Woolco. Deal With It.

A more resolute group you’ll never find than this Woolco store crew from 1966. Focused on maximizing your discount shopping experience, they don’t suffer fools gladly. The “captain of the ship”, the store manager, stands at the fore, clipboard in hand. His look-alike deputy (hair excepted), who I like to call “the enforcer”, stands to his left, ready to address any Woolco playbook infractions. And that guy seated in the second chair on the right, leaning forward and wearing glasses, needs to wipe the smile off of his face - this is serious. Of course, the very staging of the picture lends itself to all manner of cracks about “the women behind the men of Woolco” (this is 1966 we’re talking about), which I’ve wisely decided to steer clear of here.

The moral of the story? Have fun, shop at Woolco, enjoy the great deals – but watch your step.


  1. Another great post. It makes me think of all the generations of store managers that worked in these great discount houses. Interesting that the 'seafoam green' smocks were similar in color to the ones we used back in the day at KMART!

    1. I was just 7 when my Dad was one of the managers of the Las Vegas Woolco. In fact i cant say with 100% certainty but that appears to be my Dad standing on the far right of the three men standing on the store managers right side (wearing glasses) does anyone have any info about this picture

  2. I wouldn't mess with them in a dark alley. Geez.

  3. Mr. BlueLight - "Seafoam" green must have been the closest to an industry standard color for discount store uniforms, that and "Goldenrod". Thanks!

    Kendra - You can almost hear the photographer - "I'm gonna have to take a couple more shots, the first ones aren't menacing enough". I have a few other large group photos of store crews from various chains, and the facial expressions are generally pleasant. I think it's pretty funny.

  4. Long live the seafoam green uniforms! How do we start a campaign to bring it back? I'm tired of seeing the reds and khakis at Target (It's just sooooo Gap ad circa 1996!) and the drab blues at Walmart and I think they do red at Kmart too. So boring!

  5. Hi, Dave! Was Woolco here in the Chicago area? I don't remember them at all, just the one I mentioned in an earlier post that was located in Nashville, TN.

  6. That's...intimidating! Too bad they'd all lose their jobs in about twenty years...will we get to that point?

  7. Didi - We need to start a grassroots campaign. Power to the people!

    Kim - There were a handful of Woolcos in the Chicago area, and most of them weren't opened until the late 70's. Because of that, of course, they weren't open very long. The locations I'm aware of are Niles, Hanover Park, Villa Park, Homewood and Rolling Meadows (a former Topps store). I don't think they had anything in or near Joliet.

    Jonah - I'm not sure how many of them even bothered to stick it out the twenty years. My guess is not all that many. "The end is near" for Woolco, at least as far as this series of posts goes.

  8. One last thing on Woolcof. For those who are curious (like me) the list of Chicago/Chicago-area stores are as followed:
    -8716 S Cicero Oaklawn, IL
    -4204 S Lincoln Highway, Matteson, IL
    -1975 Irving Park Road, Schaumburg, IL
    -2801 Kirchoff, Rolling Meadows, IL
    -17920 S Halsted, Homewood, IL
    -200 W Roosevelt, Villa Park, IL
    -9000 Golf Road, Niles, IL
    -2500 Sycamore Road, DeKalb, IL
    -200 East Geneva Road, Wheaton, IL

  9. Didi - Thanks for that list. The Hanover Park location I referred to was actually Schaumburg.

  10. Good one. Check out the black dude at the VERY back, right in the center! Who's weird idea was that?

  11. Otto - I hadn't noticed that at all. This certainly elicits a number of thoughts - and seems way behind the times, even for 1966.

  12. I worked at the one in Homewood from June 1976 to November 1977 when they deemed I was not "Woolco" material and let me go. Ironic that in
    a few years anyway that store would close.