Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Suburban Shopping in the 1970's!

…and now for something completely different! Here’s an overview of the chain retail scene from a single suburban town from the year 1976 – the town in this case being Addison, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago. Since the majority of the chains shown in this post are (or were) national or at least multi-regional, many of you will probably get a kick out of this. If you’re from the Chicago area, these photos should be a special treat, as nearly all the companies pictured should be familiar, and if you grew up in the Addison area, I suspect the floodgates will open.

These photos are the work of Mr. Joe Archie, longtime Addison resident. Joe and his wife, Jeanette, have put together an incredible photographic record of the area’s history through the years, along with the history of their family. Be sure to check out their wonderful Flickr page to see more of their photos, including some very nice downtown Chicago views. Joe took this set of photos in 1976 as part of a project to document their hometown during America’s Bicentennial year. My utmost gratitude goes to them for allowing us to enjoy these great photos, and for continuing to document these all-too-often overlooked aspects of American life.

Some of these chains have been covered in depth here before, and others I eventually hope to get around to, so we’ll dispense with the hardcore history this time around. Instead, I’ll just toss out a few facts and throw in some memories here and there. As always, I welcome your own memories in the comments section.

Also, we’ll make an exception to the rule here, and expand the site’s normal scope just a bit to include some of the popular chain restaurants of the day. I mean, we have to eat, don’t we?

And we’ll have the radio on as we drive – with any luck there’ll be something decent playing – maybe some Steely Dan or Queen or Boston, or even some 10cc or Wings. Of course, there’s always the likely chance that Dad will pop in his 8-track of Neil Diamond’s “Hot August Night” (1972 double-live album) for the 3,700th time. Oh come on, it’s not like you don’t sing along with every word!

First up is Zayre, a suburban Chicago fixture with 27 stores in the area by that time. The store pictured is the classic early Zayre with the massive glassed storefront and the even more massive signage. I particularly like the Auto Center close-up, with very nice glazed brick and blue flashing (just like the main store) and a simple, clean appearance. As I noted at the beginning of a series of Zayre posts done last year, my family pretty much dropped Zayre like a hot brick when Kmart came around. Seeing these photos years later, with that beautiful row of blue diamonds above the entrance doors (and it also looked great after the 1978 brown-and-orange revamp), I’m sitting here with pangs of regret. Were we too hasty?

Come back Zayre, I’ll let you be my store!!

The Mighty Jewel - then as now, Chicago’s supermarket powerhouse - looking mighty well in classic 70’s aggregate and mixed brick in this location at Addison's Green Meadows Shopping Center. The bold orange signage for this store was rendered in a font that the company had been using for over 40 years by then. The following year, it would be replaced with a new logotype that would eventually grace the Addison store when it was remodeled a few years later. Interestingly, both Jewel and their top competitor Dominick’s would switch from orange to red-orange logos in the 1980’s.

Jewel, pronounced correctly, is a one syllable word – “Jool.” It’s just another one of those fun, idiosyncratic Chicago pronunciations, like “melk” instead of “milk”. (I’m not kidding.) And as noted before, “Jewels” or “The Jewel” are perfectly acceptable forms of usage. Never “The Jewels”, though, lest one risk jumping the shark.
Donimick's Finer Foods (Pronounced Dah-min-ick’s, with heavy emphasis on the first syllable. Typical usage: “Oh, we’re out of melk? Crap, I just got back from Dominick’s!”) was a fairly small chain as recently as the late 60’s, but by 1976 was growing like wildfire, with over 60 supermarkets by then, bypassing such longtime Chicago stalwarts as A&P and (the newly departed) National Food Stores on its way to becoming number two in the market, second only to Jewel, which is still the case today. This very attractive store, located on Army Trail Road in Addison, opened in 1973, and is typical of the stores they were putting up all over Chicagoland. I drove by this store this past January, and sadly it is now closed. The two stores we shopped at were older, one at the Market Place shopping center in Des Plaines on the corner of Elmhurst and Golf Roads, and the other in Rolling Meadows on Kirchoff Road, but they had the same “letterboxed” signage. Nearly all Dominick’s stores flew the orange flags in those days, a great touch.

As said in a previous post, Dominick’s strength was their excellent selection of ethnic foods, and the chain held an Italian food fair for years that always managed to attract lots of customers and press attention. Also mentioned previously were the great Heinemann’s bakeries, with their superb Butter-Ritz cakes and homemade cookies. Ironically, the Heinemann’s line is not available today at Dominick’s, but is at Jewel. I still can’t get used to that.

Guido’s was an independent chain in the Chicago area. We shopped at the Hoffman Estates store once in a while during the year or so we lived in the area. Don’t know a lot about them, other than the fact that they had four stores in the early 70’s - this Addison location, Westchester, Berkeley (honored by Progressive Grocer magazine in the mid-60’s as a “Store of the Month”) and the above-mentioned Hoffman location which was closed due to poor profitability in 1973. I’m assuming that the rest of the chain ceased operation sometime not too long after that.

It’s interesting to note that Guido’s also had the Heinemann’s bakery franchise. The once-mighty (and by 1976, gone) National Food Stores had it as well, but certainly it was associated closest with Dominick’s.

Goldblatt Bros. was a classic, full-line department store with deep Chicago roots. This store, located in the Green Meadows Shopping Center in Addison, opened in the spring of 1962. Like a couple of other Chicago department store institutions, Marshall Field & Company and Wieboldt Stores, Inc., they chose green as their corporate color. Of more substance, perhaps, is the fact that like those other two companies, Goldblatts was early to establish suburban branches, as exemplified by this store and several others, including the one we shopped at in Mt. Prospect Plaza, and other locations such as the Scottsdale Shopping Center near Burbank, Illinois and at Elmwood Plaza in Racine, Wisconsin. In the early 60’s there were 31 Goldblatt’s stores in total.

Since Randhurst Center, with its triple-threat of Wards, Carsons and Wieboldt’s was just down the street from our local Mt. Prospect Goldblatts, our family usually gave them the short shrift, I’m sorry to say. Goldblatt’s seemed to target a slightly lower income demographic than the chains I’ve just named, and for a time the strategy worked very well. In time, it was competition from the discount chains rather than other department stores that caused them the most problems. Pulling out of a bankruptcy in the mid-1980’s, Goldblatts hung on for a long time but never really hit its stride again, finally closing up for good in 2003.

Sporting a nice example of one of my all-time favorite retail logos, the Addison JCPenney Catalog Outlet already had a vintage look by 1976. Unlike Sears and Wards, whose catalogs dated back to days of old, for Penney’s it was a relatively recent venture – a business they entered through acquisition, when they bought out Milwaukee-based General Merchandise Company in 1964. That company’s catalog essentially became the “Penney’s catalog”. Several of these catalog outlet stores were actually attached to the company’s distribution centers. Later on, this store was replaced by a new store at nearby North Park Mall, which itself is now closed.

We’ll talk about Portillo’s, the restaurant to the left of the photo, (Dig that “hot dog” sign! It’s long gone but lives on on all Portillo’s packaging.) in a bit, but for the moment I wanted to focus on the Ace Hardware store. Before the days of the all-inclusive “home center” – currently active firms like Lowe’s, Home Depot and Menards (primarily Midwestern locations) and now-defunct companies such as Grossman’s, Courtesy, Home Quarters, Hechinger’s, Handy Dan, etc., one pretty much bought lumber at a lumber yard and hardware at a hardware store. For us, that hardware store was the Ace Hardware in the Rolling Meadows Shopping Center. My Dad was (and is) the consummate handyman, so it was the rare Saturday morning that we didn’t stop in at Ace at least briefly. The Addison Ace looks to be of 1950’s or very early 60’s vintage.

Anyone who watched much TV in the 1970’s would have to remember the commercials with sultry-voiced actress Connie Stevens singing “Ace is the place with the helpful hardware man”, after which she would put her arm around some guy in a red Ace vest who was trying his best not to smile too broadly. In the early 80’s, Connie was replaced by NFL coaching/broadcasting legend John Madden with a modified slogan suited to fit his regular guy persona – “I gotta tell ya, Ace is the place for me.”

“The old 5 and 10’s” were definitely a dying breed by the mid-70’s, though most of the venerable old names, including the once-great Ben Franklin, were still hanging on by a thread at the time. My own family had long since passed them by in favor of Kmart, The Treasury, Venture and the other much larger discount stores.

It’s interesting to see how the Addison Ben Franklin was by then trying to position itself as a “hobby and craft” niche supplier. In light of the competition, it was probably a wise move. (Notice one of the signs mentions macramé. I remember my family selling a huge macramé wall hanging at a garage sale in the early 80’s, and a lady came up asking “How much for the ‘ma-crayme’?” I thought we were gonna die!)

In truth, I know next to nothing about the Big “R”, but it sure has that wild, kooky discount store look, and probably was a fun place to shop. Close to Addison, this store was actually located in nearby Villa Park, on North Avenue near Addison Road. The earliest newspaper ad I’ve located for the Big “R” dates back to 1962, but the store might well be older than that. Notice the colonial flags (with the famous “Don’t Tread On Me” flag to the far left) – a nice touch for the Bicentennial year. Sadly, the store appears to have been in the proverbial “throes” based on the liquidation signs in the windows. If anyone can fill us in on the Big “R” experience, I’d be glad to update this section. Thanks.
Update 10/6/09 - Several people have written to inform us that the Big "R" property was the birthplace of an important piece of Chicago-area pop culture - Dick Portillo's first hot dog stand, "The Dog House", forerunner to the wildly popular Portillo's chain, was located at the edge of the store's parking lot! Opened in 1963, the hot dog stand, which as mentioned was actually a trailer, didn't even have running water, and actually used a 250' long water hose hooked up to an adjacent building. "The Dog House" is a revered part of the company's heritage, and I believe every modern Portillo's has a picture of it somewhere on their walls. The Big "R"'s place in history is secure, and I, for one, am very relieved!

A sad sight indeed is this vacant, boarded up Topps Department Store on North Avenue in Addison. The original Topps at this location opened (to great fanfare, as was their style) in 1962, but was completely destroyed by fire four years later. The replacement store was built in the updated Topps image. This store closed in 1974 along with the rest of the chain, and so had already sat empty for some time when this photo was taken. Later on, the store became a Syms clothing outlet, which it remains to this day. I shopped there a few times, and remember their commercials featuring company founder Sy Syms with the well-known tagline – “An educated consumer is our best customer”.

Almost forgot this one, because these stores weren’t around long. Robert Hall Village was intended to be a successor to the well-known Robert Hall clothing stores, the retail face of a garment manufacturer called United Merchants and Manufacturers, Inc. Mr. Archie, in his original photo caption sums it up: “Robert Hall was a city chain whose slogans alluded to "Plain pipe racks" and "Low rent". They didn't do so well in the suburbs.” My Dad shared that view (that they carried “low end” clothes), and because of that didn’t shop there much. I personally made one significant purchase at Robert Hall, though - when I was seven years old, I bought Dad an electric yellow pair of golf socks for his birthday. I couldn’t understand why he wouldn’t wear them all the time!

Robert Hall Village was UM&M’s attempt to broaden the appeal of Robert Hall by expanding it into a “total discount store” concept – clothes, sporting goods, automotive, electronics and even groceries. The Chicago Tribune’s George Lazarus explained the rationale: “If Robert Hall can attract milady with an apparel special, the firm stands a good chance of selling her some groceries while she is in the Village.” Several Robert Hall Villages were opened across the country, including five in 1973 in the Chicago area – Downers Grove, Homewood, Crystal Lake, Hoffman Estates and the pictured North Park Mall unit in Villa Park. If they were trying to emulate a Turn-Style, Topps or Korvettes, they did a pretty good job, unfortunately, since those chains were in awful shape by the mid-70’s, and were “tubesville” before decade’s end. “Milady” wasn’t impressed. Upon the chain’s closure in 1977, two of the units, Downers Grove and Villa Park, became Kmarts.

For me, one memory of Robert Hall Village stands out. We visited the Hoffman Estates store during its grand opening (1973), and it’s the first time I remember seeing an electronic digital calculator. These were beautiful desk models, manufactured by the Japanese firm Miida (My-eeda), and were priced heftily at around $200 up to $350 or so. Of course, you can now get the same functionality at Dollar Tree for…well, a dollar!

You’d think that my main interest in this photo would be the great-looking, antebellum style “Type-C” Sears store, with the classic 60’s serif version of the logo. As nice as that is, having grown up in the Chicago area, the “Playback” store to the right (unfortunately much of the sign isn’t visible) is a rare, wonderful sight. For anyone who came of age there in the 70’s and 80’s, Playback, a now defunct stereo/electronics chain, was legendary. Oh, the hours spent there, drooling over $500 Pioneer car stereos and $1200 Blaupunkts, when the car I was driving at the time was worth somewhere between the two! Playback also had one of the most memorable commercial jingles of the day – I wish I could find a copy of it to link to. It was simply the company name and tagline - “Playback – the electronic playground!” sung in a cool layered-harmony, a cappella, stretched out style, sort of like the opening verse of the Kansas song “Carry On, Wayward Son”.

Fayva was a deep-discount shoe store chain, very similar in concept to Payless. As far as I know, my family may have shopped there once or twice, but I only vaguely remember it. Fayva was division of Massachusetts-based Morse Shoe, Inc., which also operated shoe departments in a number of discount chains. (As a kid, I did visit the bizarrely fascinating, long-since closed museum founded by Ira Morse in Warren, New Hampshire. The guy loved to hunt, let’s just say.) Fayva was a major TV advertiser in Chicago, and I assume elsewhere as well.

Next door is a Rexall drug store, sporting a very nice sign with the brand-new ‘70’s Rexall logo. A national institution for decades, Rexall ‘s glory days were by then largely past, and their parent company, Dart and Kraft, was royally ticking off loyal Rexall franchisees around this time by opening up the product line to other chains. Not long afterward, the franchisees were dropped altogether, their contracts cancelled. Ironically, Dart and Kraft “invited” them to continue to keep their Rexall signage installed as a means of promoting Rexall products. Most declined, understandably, although a few drugstores still fly the orange and blue to this day.

Kinney was easily the best known “family shoe store” of the 60’s and 70’s. We shopped there a bit, but most of our shoe bucks went elsewhere, mostly to local family owned shoe stores. They were another mega-TV advertiser.

From 1962 on a division of the F.W. Woolworth Company, Kinney had over 600 stores at its peak, the majority of which were the “roadside” style buildings that looked exactly like the one pictured - an extremely familiar sight for millions of Americans. Family shoe stores, like family restaurants, are largely a thing of the past, and it seems (in all but the luxury shoe market, at least) that the key to success for a shoe store chain is to follow either the sports or discount model. Woolworth themselves realized this some time ago, so by the end of the nineties the Kinney stores were history. From that point all resources were poured into Foot Locker.

You’ve heard of Walgreens, right? Pretty hard to miss ‘em, seeing as they’re popping up on prime street corners everywhere in what has to be the most aggressive real estate strategy in all of retail - one that has all the appearances of a 50-to-100 year plan. It’s interesting to watch as they battle it out with CVS in the drugstore version of “last man standing”, but if the old adage “location, location, location” holds true, it’s hard to see how they can lose.

Even thirty-some years ago Walgreens was a big player, especially in their home market of Chicago. But as you can see they weren’t nearly as picky about locations, even to the point of taking over an existing store in a shopping center that would easily been 10 to 15 years old at the time, as this photo of the “new” store in the Green Meadow Shopping Center in Addison shows. Perhaps they took over one of their old “Walgreen Agency” franchised stores, a category that was being phased out at the time.

“When you run out, run out to White Hen!”, the classic commercial went. White Hen Pantry, the franchised convenience store division of Jewel, had been around 10 years by this time, and had multitudes of locations in Chicagoland, especially in the Northwest and West Suburbs. Home of a basic selection of groceries, newspapers and magazines, a great deli and brownies extraordinaire, these were always a great place to stop.

Looking at the photo, the “Open 6 to 11” sign jumps out at me. Gosh, I wonder whose competitive nose they were trying to tweak? Unfortunately, the competitor eventually won out, and this store, like most all other White Hens in Chicago, is now a 7-Eleven. Somehow “When you run out, run out to the Sev!” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. Many of the New England area White Hens, the chain’s other major market, are still going strong.

Wow, looking at the picture of this Denny’s restaurant, the design is even nicer than I remembered! A worthy successor to the famous first-generation “Googie” Denny’s stores, this is seventies design at its finest. Inside it was all orange and brown, red and purple. The Rolling Meadows, Illinois Denny’s, where we usually went, looked just like this Addison unit.

We ate there a lot in those days, my dad, brother and I, usually for breakfast on Saturdays. Of course, later on in college and my early twenties, I learned just how late (or early) “Always Open” really meant! “Last stop of the night”, so to speak, after a concert or other late night activity. These days, with kids of my own, Denny’s is pretty much back on breakfast duty, at least every now and then. Sure wish our local one looked like this!

Three mainstays of the 1976 fast food scene against a backdrop of cloudy skies. Dunkin’ Donuts (“World’s Finest Coffee- Donuts made fresh every 4 hours” – Awesome!) we’ll talk about them in just a sec. The Burger King, sporting the 70’s sign in the parking lot and the 60’s lettering on the building, needs a bit of shingle work. All that’s visible of the McDonald’s here is the famous “Golden Arches” sign. “10 Billion Served, it reads. Nowadays there are 10 Billion McDonald’s restaurants, aren’t there?

In this day and age, I think it would be really cool if McDonald’s switched to a satellite-fed digital readout for the “Billions Served” portion of the sign. Many of these haven’t been updated in years, or feature the “Billions and Billions Served” copout. The technology isn’t that expensive anymore, and it wouldn’t even have to be updated in real time - weekly or even monthly would suffice. I think it would be a fun gimmick, and the numbers would no doubt be impressive as heck.

(Special note to McDonald’s executives: Information on where to send royalty checks for the aforementioned idea can be obtained by contacting “Dave” at the email address in the Profile section of this website. Thank you.)

Long before America ran on Dunkin’, we still liked it a whole lot. Dunkin’ Donuts is a much revered institution in the Chicago area, possibly just slightly less so than in their native New England, where they’re as common as fire hydrants. This particular prototype brings back such wonderful memories for me. The ones we frequented the most – Des Plaines on Elmhurst Road and Rolling Meadows on Kirchoff – looked just like it. This was another proverbial “Saturday stop”, oftentimes between Ace Hardware and Dominick’s. (The thing I’m really digging about these photos and writing this post is reliving the old routines, and the way they’re coming back to me in such detail, which hopefully I’m not boring you with. Wow, has time flown!) When we were very young, my brother and I would peer through the window where we could watch them make the donuts and occasionally the cook, who didn’t look at all like that little guy on TV, would give us free ones hot off the press (and those suckers were hot, trust me), the chocolate honey-dipped type. Those must’ve been fast sellers, because that’s the only kind we ever saw them make!

In recent years Dunkin’ Donuts has received a good bit of acclaim for their coffee. Long overdue and well-deserved, in my opinion, but of course I’m partial to the stuff. The lack of a mermaid on the coffee cups doesn’t bother me in the least.

Never convenient were these, but we did hit the Jack in the Box once in a while, and the food was decent. They did have a lot of appeal for kids, with cool giveaways and a “kid meal” that predated McDonald’s Happy Meals, if I remember right. And they made Rodney Allen Rippy a star, for a while at least. My apologies to those who can’t get the Jack in the Box jingle out of their heads as a result of reading this.

And the store is very sharp looking, no question about it. The Grand Prix in the foreground reminds me of my second car, a ‘76 GP bought in 1983. With my Pioneer stereo, Audiovox equalizer and Jensen Triax speakers, I could deafen whole blocks. Didn’t even need the Blaupunkt! Today I pretty much just run with whatever factory stereo comes with the cars, though.

One of the coolest aspects of this Pizza Hut for me personally is that the fact it dates from around the first time I ever ate at one. Almost exactly year after this photo was taken, our family - grandparents and aunt and uncle in tow, stopped for dinner at the Mt. Prospect Pizza Hut on Algonquin Road (like this one, long gone) after my eighth grade graduation ceremony in 1977. I don’t remember ever setting foot in one prior to that. I believe that restaurant had the newer logo (as on the folding sign to the lower right). Still like ‘em, although I’ll take a good old Italian mom-and-pop made pizza over any chain’s product every time.

The big news now is that Pizza Hut is floating the idea of simply calling their restaurants “The Hut”, just like Radio Shack is testing out “The Shack” as a new banner for their stores. (Don’t worry, I’ve resisted any temptation to start calling this site “The Blog”. But you’d know what I’m talking about if I did, right?......……………..Hello?)

My prediction, if Pizza Hut’s name change is successful, is that ten years from now we’ll just see the familiar red roof with the word “The” on it.

Another one I don’t have a great deal of personal experience with, but I do remember their TV commercials. Arthur Treacher’s was a division of National Fast Foods, who licensed the famous fish and chips recipe from the British family who created it in the 1860’s, the Malins-of-Bow. They chose distinguished British actor Arthur Treacher as their corporate pitchman (and as he got older, strictly their symbol – he passed away in 1975). Treacher was a distinguished character actor who was very active in the 30’s and 40’s, often playing a sage-like, quip-ready butler. One of his last roles was as the Constable in the 1964 Disney film Mary Poppins.

In the late 1960’s, Fisher Foods, parent of Fazio’s supermarkets in Ohio and Dominick’s Finer Foods in Chicago, bought a major interest in National Fast Food, gaining as part of the deal the franchising rights for Arthur Treacher’s in the Cleveland and Chicago markets.

Ah, the Ponderosa – my family ate Sunday dinner after church here for years on end. The Ponderosa chain was originally started as a knock-off of Bonanza, another steakhouse chain in which one of the original investors was a star of the famous Bonanza TV show - Dan Blocker, who played Hoss Cartwright. For many years now, both chains have been owned by the same company.

The one we went to was in Arlington Heights off of Golf Road (near Kmart), and looked very much like the Addison unit pictured here. You stood in a cafeteria- style line, got your tray with a little plastic number, picked out your side dishes and then ambled over to your seat (with a woodburned “P” on the seatback!), waiting for your steak to arrive on a black plastic and stainless steel plate. (Charles Hathaway, “Romleys” on Flickr, recounts a similar recent experience at a Bonanza restaurant, so obviously the drill hasn’t changed much. I probably haven’t eaten there since the mid-90’s.) Ribeye was my standing order, and was usually good, or at least not beyond “A.1. redemption”, an extreme but sometimes necessary measure. The one thing about Ponderosa that sticks out in my mind above all else is the fact that they charged for extra butter pats! I believe it was either six or twelve cents each, don’t really remember. The strange flipside of this was that Ponderosa was the very first restaurant that I ever remember giving free soft drink refills. Of course it’s now a constitutional right, but up until the early 1980’s (in my frame of reference at least –the Chicago area and the New England states), if you wanted another Coke at a restaurant you had to order a second one. At other restaurants, if the folks were in a good mood and my brother and I hadn’t committed any major infractions, e.g.: blowing straw wrappers in the waitress’s face, etc. (These were less enlightened times, friends.), they would spring for the second Coke. Then there were those rare-as-hen’s-teeth occasions where they would buy us a third one. Of course, my brother and I were thrilled, but all the while would give each other nervous “Have they gone nuts?” looks.

At any rate, that was the great “Ponderosa Paradox”, if you will – you got your fill of drinks, but if you needed any more butter pats, you’d best pony up, Pardner! As Hoss Cartwright would say, “There’s a mess of irony out there, Pa!”

Ok folks, this is it! This is the one. Woo-hoo! At this point (as you may have figured out), my objectivity goes straight out the window. Portillo’s is a Chicago-based chain of restaurants whose main specialties are incredible Vienna Beef hotdogs and classic style Italian Beef sandwiches, and I simply love the place.

From a single hot dog stand (it was actually a trailer) called “The Dog House” which opened in Villa Park in 1963, Dick Portillo’s restaurants had matured to sit-down units like the one pictured by the mid-70’s. Today, with 32 restaurants in the greater Chicago area, plus one in Buena Park and one in Moreno Valley, California, the Portillo’s units are a feast for the eyes as well – they tend to follow one of several themes - a 1920’s “boardwalk” theme , 1930’s gangster theme, 50’s, 60’s,etc.. Of course, many restaurant chains today are into retro artifact decor, with “leaf blowers glued to the wall” (as so aptly put on Dumpy Strip Malls, one of my new favorite sites) and the like, but Portillo’s artifacts are rarer, often larger, more plentiful and more interesting than I’ve seen anywhere else. (And the Niles Portillo’s, with the ‘30’s Prohibition theme, has two killer porcelain A&P signs hanging up – a must see.)

Another great thing about Portillo’s is that it alone provides a great reason to travel to Chicago. Seriously, if a local asks “What brings you here”, all you have to say is “Portillo’s”, and you don’t have to bother with any further explanations, such as: “Oh, I’m here for a conference”, “to visit family”, “to go to a Cubs game”, “to see the museums”, yeah yeah, whatever. Gotta plan my next trip!

Well, I guess that wraps it up, and there are still four songs to go on the Neil Diamond tape. Guess we’ll have to save “Cracklin’ Rosie” for another day (although that one’s almost worth sitting in the car another four minutes for, ice cream notwithstanding). Hope you’ve enjoyed this as much as I have!


  1. Ironically I caught a few minutes of "The Bad News Bears" on TV over the weekend, and I was also mesmerized by the very same vintage Pizza Hut signage.

  2. Love this post! I wish someone had driven around Regina with a camera during those years.

    Bonanza is still in business here, but sorry to say, the cool plates have been replaced with regular ones.

    Also sorry to say, McDonald's claims to no longer care how many burgers it's sold, explaining that the only burger that counts is the NEXT one. The other version of the story I heard though is that they actually LOST COUNT not long before the odometer hit 100 billion, and they scrambled to put "99" up on whatever signs still had the numbers.

  3. Thanks for telling some of the Goldblatt's story. We had them in South Bend, Indiana, where I grew up.

    There was a Big R store in Kokomo, Indiana, until maybe 10 years ago. I had no idea it was part of something larger.

  4. Do we know the location of the Jewel?

    What that also Addison?

  5. A real 70s-o-rama. Robert Hall had made a big push in the 'burbs in the mid to late 60s, with semi-colonial styled buildings. these were mostly freestanding stores away from major shopping centers. They weren't very popular. Their older stores were plain, brick stores on the fringes of existing neighborhood or inner ring suburban shopping areas. these were stores that made sense in the 50s, but were probably losing trade by the 70s.

    Sears built a number of Type C stores in the suburbs during the 50s and early 60s, but they were a rarity in the mall era, so the colonial was a "prize". they probably used Chicago as a place to experiment with trying to again start building them.

    Rexall had been supplying chains for years. the Gray Drug and Cunningham's chains were long time Rexall customers. It may be that they tried to stop the departure of these chains by turning away from independents. These chains and others had dropped Rexall by the early 70s.

  6. Arthur Treachers still exists albeit with far fewer stores than in their hayday

  7. If only I had vintage pics of old restaurant and retail establishments in my neck of the woods. All the memories I could share would be better realized with visual examples.

    Kohl's for example, was a very different department store in the 1970s/early 1980s (under BATUS' ownership) than it is today. I'd daresay it was slightly more 'upscale' in terms of store design and signage. No one but us cheeseheads (and some locations in IL and other states) got to experience this version. Most are only familiar with the current prototype and merchandise mix.

    Instead of Zayre (only got up as far as Milwaukee), Topps (only got up as far north as Kenosha WI) and Robert Hall Village, we had the likes of Copps (Stevens Point WI-based discount / grocery 'supercenters' of the era) Prange Way (Sheboygan, then DePere WI-based discount spin-off to H.C. Prange Co.), and another, Tempo, comes to mind for regional discount stores. The latter was gone before I was born, but the other two I remember still today.

    Even so, you had some gems in this post I've never seen before of chains that were commmon in my state. Never seen a Ben Franklin with a sign like that before. The stores here, most of which opened in the 1960s, sported signage utilizing individually-lit squares, with a 'key' symbol somewhere. I'm sure I saw images of this online.

    We had plenty of Sears locations that were just hardlines (electronics, tools, appliances) with a catalog ordering / pick-up desk (usually towards the back) and there was almost always an Auto Center, usually at the rear of the store, at these locations. I'm not sure if these were classified as "C" stores or not by the retailer...they were probably "B" stores ("A"s would of obviously been the full-line mall-based department stores in the 1970s)

    Kinney was about as common, if not moreso, than its competitor Thom mcAn around here, as both had hundreds of stores, though I was a bit late for corner stores like this. They all flocked into enclosed malls around here by the late '70s.

    I don't think Dunkin' Donuts wound up in my town, but Burger King and Pizza Hut sure did. They were making huge expansions into the Wisconsin area at that time, so I'm sure many of our early locations looked just like these.

    7-11 will never make headway up to this part of the state...they do have locations in Milwaukee, but that's about all. We have many independently-owned convenience stores and small chains here. The biggest chain by far is LaCrosse WI-based Kwik Trip.

    Even if not all the chains I grew up with are represented online (..yet), just seeing and reading about others' memories helps to keep mine fresh in mind.

  8. Morse also had regular women's show stores under their own name. these continued, even after they opened Fayva stores.

  9. Oh, where do I begin! This post definately brings back a ton of memories for me as a child in Ohio. These pictures are simply amazing. I must say this everytime you post something, Dave, but it is as if I can step into the past.

    I think I have mentioned many times how awfully fond I am of Zayre. But I must admit I had to laugh when you wrote "Come back Zayre, I’ll let you be my store!!" LOL! I concur 100%!

    Jewel and Dominick's: Upon moving here in 1989, my parents started off shopping at Jewel. One located on Broadway and Addison with a garage on top and it's still there today. When we moved to Rogers Park we were just a couple of blocks away from the Dominick's on Damen and Pratt (former Kroger), we began that love affair but atill shopped at the nearest Jewel on Howard and Western. Now though my parents have abandoned Jewel (they almost never go there) in favor of shopping at the Dominick's in Lincolnwood. I remember going to some of the Jewels sans the combined Oscos still clinging onto life in the early 90s and they always, always looked stale and outdated. Now I wish i had appreciated it more!

    Would love to know about Guidos and Big R sometime.

    Goldblatt's, my one experience was the very outdated location in Uptown that I blogged about a while back. Lowest of the low. Even my parents (as cheap as my dad was) did not want to be caught dead there again.

    To this day we still shop at JC Penney, though in Ohio my mother adored The May Co.

    One of my memories as a young tyke is going to the hardware store with my dad. No one can trade any of that with me, it was always fun even if the store was always True Value. I miss those small, friendly hardware places. A total rarity at the big box stores.

    Fayva! Another shoe place we used to shop at when we moved to Chicago. Years later in college, I actually had a friend who worked at Fayva for a while. Cheapie shoe place. I thought it was even lower than Payless on the cheap shoe barometer scale.

    That picture of White Hen Pantry brings tear to my eyes. Though I discovered them late in the game, I still miss their coffee!

    We occasionally ate at Denny's when Iw as a kid, but it was rare, McDonald's was more the norm and occasionally Burger King. My dad worked a late shift so when I work up in the mornings on occasion, he'd bring me a crown from BK.

    Gosh, if I remember correctly the Dunkin Donuts we usually went to in Ohio looked a lot like the one pictured. Now my family practically lives at DD and I can't stand it most times.

    Another place with fond memories was Pizza Hut. I loved the shape of that dang building. Somewhere out in suburban Cleveland we used to go at least one Saturday night a month and the outside looked like the one pictured and the inside was complete 70s kitschy of course. Once, after eating, we drove away and as a car sloped down the winding road, I could see it fading away in the distance. Nowadays, you'd be hard pressed to find a Pizza Hut that actually looks like a hut!

    My parents and I usualy went to the occasional Ponderosa in Ohio. I don't really remember too much about them except them always complaining about how dirty it was.

    Portillos is another one I disocvered late in the game, but I LOVE them!

    All in all, great post to bring on some wonderful memories.

  10. If you're ever in the Canton, Ohio area, check out the Denny's off of Exit 109-B (Everhard Road East)--the exterior is IDENTICAL to the one pictured!

    Other than that, this has been a most interesting trip down memory lane!

  11. WOW! What a visually stunning post! Incredible pictures!

    That Dunkin' Donuts looks like one in Billerica, Mass. with the old round donuts logo that remained looking like that and was finally remodeled in maybe 2003.

  12. Wow, Dave! I feel like we just took a car ride in the old '78 LTD with Dad at the wheel, four kids squished in the back seat and no one wearing a seatbelt. Instead of Neil Diamond, my father is listening to the smooth sounds of WLAK on the radio (okay, elevator music.) (I think it is now WLIT.) And our trip is through the southwest suburbs of Chicago, though my dad was a northsider and we did occasionally stray up that way to Randhurst. The signs! The stores! The memories! Okay, does anyone else remember Dominick's giving away lollipops at the cash registers in the 70s and early 80s? In pastel colors? My siblings and I recall this practice but can't find anyone to back us up. What a great trip it's been, Dave! Thanks! Being southsiders, we'll wrap up our outing with a stop at Rainbow Cone at 92nd and Western. It has been there for 83 years and if you've never gone, or sampled one at the Taste of Chciago, you simply must go!

  13. @Didi: If you're still living in Chicago, you probably know that there's at least one White Hen still open. It's on Chicago Avenue, close to the red line station. They still had the good coffee, at least as of this past spring, the last time I stopped in for coffee before moving to the suburbs.

    Question of my own-is the Jack in the Box the same chain that's big out west, that I see commercials on the teevee for, but can't actually go to?

  14. To Doug, yes, I am still in the Chicago area. Thanks for telling me about the Chicago area location. There is one not too far from my parents on Kostner and Howard. I have been there a couple of times since the buyout by 7-11 and I think it just may be this location but the coffee and the feel is not the same at all.

  15. Hey Doug, you can take a little day trip down to Alton or St. Louis to get a Jumbo Jack...those are the closest to Chicago that I know of. We used to eat at the one on Cicero in Oak Lawn. First place we ever went with a drive-thru. The clown/speaker box frightened me to death as a child, but the kids meal and uninflated balloons they gave out at the window made up for it. I visited the JITB in Nashville this summer and it wasn't nearly as thrilling as I hoped it would be.

  16. One of my favorite posts off all time! Grew up in Pittsburgh, but many pics resonated with me! Excellent post!

  17. Lots of the pic are in my area, Elmhurst/Addison/Villa Park.

    The old Zayre is now a mix of buinesses, and one is a nightclub. The Jewel is still there, but the old Goldblatts is split into different stores. One is a Halloween Shop every fall.

    The JC Penney outlet pictured became a Lay-Z-Boy store in the 80's, then a Bingo Parlor, and a Forest City Auto parts in 90's. It's now closed again.

  18. With White Hen now 7-11, their only competition is gas stations' stores. Such as AM/PM and Shell's with Circle K farnchises, [though they don't advertise them as such, but they have the 'k' logo seen all over Arizona.]

    Convenient Stores are around, but not as many and are dated.

  19. Great 1970's rewind, but I would have never expected to see a Ben Franklin in the burbs of Chicago, it always seemed like a small town store. Would have loved to gone into a 1970's Jewel or Dominick's, but never ventured to Chicagoland until the 1990's and only in passing. But we did get a short lived Jewel T in a former Winn-Dixie in the late 70's/early 80's after WD moved into its rendition of a superstore to keep up with Kroger.

    The Big R is intriguing and so far no one has any insight about the store. The Nashville area JITB seem to strive to be more upmarket than vintage Jack, though I believe the chain has made that move company wide in its more recent expansion efforts. But it loses something not quite tangible that the old time "Crack in the Box" stores had, though at times we substituted a similar sounding word for Crack.

  20. Great Post. It was worth the wait. As you said, it opens the floodgates of memories. Where do I begin?...

    Are you sure the Addison Topps burned down in 1966? I thought it was a year or two later. I think I'll have to trust you on that since I was only 5 yeas old at the time. The Syms in the space now still runs commercials on the radio with the "educated consumer.." tag line, only I believe it's Sy's daughter who's the spokesperson now.

    The Big R was almost directly across North Ave. from the Topps. North Ave. is the border between Addison and Villa Park in that area. Sorry I can't help you with what the Big R was like back in the day. (I'm relying on the memories of a 7-8 year old child) I also can't remember what, if anything, moved into the space after the Big R closed. I do know that in recent times it was a Wards Catalog Outlet. When Wards went out of business. the space was converted into Safari Land, an indoor amusement center.

    The Denny's in the picture, sadly, is gone. It was torn down a few years ago. It stood out in front of the North Park Mall. Denny's had moved out many years ago and It had been vacant for a long time. I think the main reason the building was finally demolished is that the nice wide grassy area in the picture is now the westbound lanes of North Avenue. A recent widening of the road put traffic literally feet from the building.

    That's all I have for now. I'll be back with more.

  21. This post is pretty cool, but a few things:

    - "The City" didn't work out too well for a certain big box electronics retailer...

    - Crystal Lake's location (it was in a mall called Crystal Point Mall) became a Kmart and in-line space.

  22. Danny – I believe that “The Bad News Bears” came out in ’76, the year these photos were taken. I was probably the only one in my junior high school not to see it! Makes me want to rent it just to check out the roadside scenes.

    Geoff – Thanks very much! Oh man, Bonanza without the steel plates – wouldn’t be the same!

    And I think all McDonald’s would have to do, if they wanted to, would be to extrapolate their sales figures over the years and estimate a “number sold” as a starting point. Coca-Cola, for example, still officially states their sales volumes in terms of “unit cases” (24 each 8 oz. glass bottles) even though most of their product is sold in plastic or cans or as fountain drinks.

    Jim – Thanks. I wanted to at least cover the minimum basics on Goldblatts since many outside of Chicago may not have heard of them. The story deserves to be told in much more detail - maybe I can do something here someday.

    I’m guessing if the South Bend Big “R” was part of the same company, as you suggest.

    Mike – The Jewel’s in Addison’s Green Meadows Shopping Center. Sorry, should have included that. It’s on there now.

    Anonymous –
    The Robert Hall stores I remember had a stripped down appearance, similar to the Kinney store pictured. A colonial look would have made sense to offset the “cheap” image, although they seemed to embrace it. By the 70’s I agree they were pretty much toast.

    And this is by far the nicest “C-style” Sears I’ve ever seen, most were plain-jane storefronts.

    Rexall’s sales to Gray and Cunningham helped bring about their downfall. Once those companies realized they could do just as well with their own private label, they left Rexall in the dust, sticking them with huge inventories.

    Anonymous 2 – Good to know a few of ol’ Arthur’s restaurants are still around. Thanks!

    Matt – It would be interesting to see what the original Kohl’s stores looked like. I do remember the old Kohl’s grocery stores, but the earliest predecessors to the modern day Kohl’s I’ve seen were the “MainStreet” stores in the Chicago area that they later took over. I shopped there a bit in the mid-80’s. I wish I knew more about need Prange and Copps. I do have quite a bit of stuff on Tempo that I need to put on here.

    The Ben Franklin signs you mention are the ones that (and I would say most people) are familiar with. Those were used from the late 60’s into the 80’s, although the number of Ben Franklin stores had drastically dwindled by that time.

    Sears “B” stores were somewhat smaller than “A” stores, but pretty much carried the full line. This “C” store, nice as it is, is very small.

    Hopefully I’ll be able to get to more of the ones you remember before too much time passes. Thanks!

    Anonymous – I remember the Morse store in Woodfield Mall, right near JCPenney. My mom shopped there occasionally.

    Didi- Thanks, and I appreciate your sharing those memories of your own! And if Zayre came back, I would let them be my store. I promise. ;)

  23. Phil – Glad you enjoyed the trip! And thanks for that note on the Canton Denny’s. Will have to check it out next time I’m up that way.
    Nick – I agree, the pictures are phenomenal. And wow, I had no idea that any DD stores existed with the round logo at that late date. It was discontinued before 1980, if I remember right!

    Adrienne – Oh, we heard our share of WLAK as well! You can only listen to the Ray Conniff Singers so much, though. :) And I never wore a seatbelt until I was 23, but always do now. My Dad would get a new car and immediately stuff them under the seats. Even he wears them now, at least part of the time. We’re all so much more safely conscious! Glad you liked this, and thanks for sharing your version of “the ride”! I’ll have to check out the Rainbow Cone!

    And about Jack in the Box – they came into Nashville in the late 90’s, a few years before we moved away. We tried them, and I didn’t have high expectations in this case, but was disappointed anyway. I know of one there which has already closed down.

    Doug – I wonder if they’re keeping the White Hen name on that one unit just to maintain trademark rights. And Jack in the Box is likely the one you’re talking about.

    SB – Thanks very much! Pittsburgh was Zayre country, big time! Glad that you liked this.

    Tomcat – I appreciate the update on those stores! Interesting to hear some of the old Convenient Food Marts are still around. Am/Pm was an old Arco brand, I wonder if BP has it now.

    Ken – Ben Franklin was actually based in a Chicago suburb at the time – their original parent, Butler Brothers, was sold to City Products in the 60’s, and their HQ was in suburban Des Plaines. One of my Mom’s closest friends worked there back in the day. You’d never know it was their hometown from the smattering of stores in the area, though.

    So there was a Jewel T in Dalton – cool!

    And I’m trying to figure out the similar sounding word to ”crack”- m I missing something? :)

    Mike CS – Very glad you liked it, especially seeing as you’re from the area!

    The Topps burned just before Christmas 1966, on December 21, according to the Chicago Tribune.
    I really appreciate those details and look forward to more when you get the chance.

    Jonah – I forgot all about “the City”, what a classic! (Not.) I’m not endorsing the name strategy at all. I think it’s silly. You can’t force a nickname (or really any sense of familiarity) on customers, It has to work the other way around.

    Speaking of Crystal Point Mall, there’s a fantastic You Tube video made in 1987 made by a guy (and I’m guessing his girlfriend) goofing off in the mall with lots of great store shots in the background. It’s a real hoot to watch, and about as “80’s” as it gets!


  24. I don't know what Big R stores were like back in the day, but I have been to one recently (maybe 6 months ago). There's one sort of in downstate Illinois. I want to say it's either in or near Morris, IL. Very cool store!! Kind of like a Farm n Fleet but with more hardware and clothes (clothes I'd actually wear too!) and less farm supplies. If you ever come across one, go! It's fun!

  25. The Denny's in the pic was empty for a few years in late 90's and then had a fire. Was finally torn down.

    The Zayre Auto Center building is still there too! Was many different businesses afterwards. Was a small Volvo dealer in 80's, then a Blockbuster Video from 1994 til last year. Building was remodeled again and has brick siding and now part Dental clinic.

  26. Hey Adrienne-
    I am from the far southwest side of Chicago. I too remember the pastel suckers from Dominick's.FYI we were at Rainbow Cone last night. Too funny!! This site is great.

  27. I'm back for more, but first, thanks tomcat for the info on the Denny's. I was unaware of the fire. You would have to agree though that the recent widening of North Avenue put the building way too close to the road to make it attractive to any prospective tenant or buyer.

    I can remember shopping at the Kinney Shoes in the picture. We would stop there after shopping at the nearby Penney's outlet. Those Kinney Shoe stores were quite unique in an architectural sense. Their design has proven to be resistant to any alterations over the years. Along with the one in the picture, I know of two others in my area that all still look the same as they did when they were Kinney's.

    I also remember Ponderosa well. I worked as a dishwasher at the Carol Stream Ponderosa during my senior year of high school (1978-79). My standing order was the chopped steak which I usually wolfed down before my shift. All employees received a discount on there meals. We had terms for those plastic & steel plates. The plastic sections was referred to as "woods" and the stainless steel sections were called - oddly enough - "steels".

    Can anyone tell me why there a no longer any Ponderosas in the Chicago area and when they all pulled out? I know the chain is still around. I recently ate at one in Wisconsin Dells.

    And finally - Portillo's! What more can I add? It certainly was a destination for me when I was living out of the area. I like the fact that, despite all the advances in order taking technology, they still write your order on the back of the bag they serve your food in - a practice that goes back to the days of the original "Dog House". They also use to give you one of those "Take A Number" tags, but they now print your order number on your receipt.

    Once again - great post. I'm glad I stumbled across it.

  28. Oh my gosh! I remember the Crystal Point Mall! I went there once with my parents in the mid 90s. Tiny place and that Kmart looked ancient. The mall was already kind of dead by then. I believe it is no longer there. I have to check that video out.

  29. I can never decide what I like best about this blog...the wealth of information, the incredible photos, the intelligent, interesting and witty writing style, the deluge of pop-culture references, or the use of phrases such as "dropped Zayre like a hot brick." Hmm...

    Great stuff as always, Dave!!

  30. Question of my own-is the Jack in the Box the same chain that's big out west, that I see commercials on the teevee for, but can't actually go to?

    Yes, it was. It was during the period when J-Box was owned by Ralston Purina, who attempted to make it a national chain. (I remember the checkerboard logo on the food wrappers) That ended when Purina sold off Jack, who retreated to its primary markets-The Far West and Southwest.

  31. Wow!! I just discovered your blog this weekend and am amazed to suddenly find a post about my old home town!
    I was a checker at that Jewel for many many years... Form around 1987 to 1996. Supposedly, that used to be "the" big store... and was the first to go online with scanners in 1973 ( I guess before that, everything was punched in by hand). Those things were real work horses, and we were still using those original scanners up until '95... We might have been pretty close to the last store using that type of scanner. First to get them and the last to get rid of them.

    Anyway, thanks for an amazing post!

  32. I have lived in Addison since 1965 and have shopped or ate in everyone of those places. They missed showing Hubs Hamburgers on the corner of Lake St & Mill Rd. The best hamburgers. And what about the A&W Rootbeer stand drive-in on Lake St where the golf range is now. They always closed in the winter and went to Florida. Addison was great back then. You had your choice of shopping for whatever you needed without leaving town. I have always shopped at Jewel but remember going into Guido's for quick shopping. And when K-Mart came we thought we had it all. Also there was Venture on Rt 53. Yes those days are gone but glad to see the history. Who remembers a soda fountain in a Walgreens?

  33. I know a great deal of Bonanzas were swapped out for Ponderosas in 1991. Ponderosa and Bonanza must have hit the rocks sometime in the 1990s, as I found a TON that closed around that time. They also had a mass exodus in 1998; nearly half the stores listed on the Wayback Machine archive are gone, and that's just Michigan. (And somehow, the tiny ones in Clare and Essexville, both of which have the smallest Pondo buffets I've ever seen, are still open.) Strangely, in Marquette, they kept the Bonanza (still the only one left in the state!) but axed the Pondo...

    Also, Robert Hall Village extended into Michigan at some point. There were some in Detroit, and I've found two former ones in Flint. I think they took over Federals locations here; the one at Courtland Center was a former Federals, and lasted only a year or so as a Robert Hall. It later became a JCPenney until just last year when JCPenney moved to the former Mervyns, and Steve & Barry's took over the former JCP... for a whopping SEVEN months.

  34. That was quite interesting. Having only traveled to the Chicago area in the last 10 years or so, I learned quite a bit. Some of those food chains are a bit closer to home, as Jack in the Box is a San Diego based chain. Just seeing that 70's JITB makes me salivate for a Jack Steak sandwich or a Bonus Jack with the fries and rings the way they used to make them!

  35. Mike CS-there is a Ponderosa in Aurora (on New York Street, near whatever they call Fox Valley Mall now), if you want to actually go to one. I think the local Ponderosa (here in the far west burbs) closed in the mid 90's. I have to admit that I was surprised when I noticed it, as I'd thought the whole chain had gone under, since the restaurants near me all closed so fast.

    I remember, maybe ten or twelve years ago when my closest Portillo's was in Addison. There are several around here now. Did that location move since the mid seventies?

    1. I live in Aurora. That Ponderosa is now closed, and has been for some time (as of June, 2014). Sorry.

  36. WOW! What a thorwback, I grew up in Addison, and visited each and every one of these stores on a regular basis. The things I remember most was that the Goldblatts had a VW Bug (Beetle) inside that I used to climb on, and the Fayva had a mery-go-round to entertain verry BORRRRED kids while shoping for shoes. I remeber the Big R, but most of my friends don't, now I actually have proof that it existed! Thanks!

  37. I forgot to mention, I worked at that Ponderosa in high school..

  38. Having lived in Addison for most of my life, this pictures brought back a wealth of memories! My family used to live on Michael Lane, behind the Zayre, and I remembered my mom choosing to shop at the National rather then the newly opened Jewel. I also remember when the National closed and became the Addison Roller Rink.

    As I got older, and gained several more siblings, my mom swore that she and my aunt, and the eight kids between them, helped close down the Ponderosa because of their "Kids eat free" policy.

    One of the places still around is the Ace Hardware - expanded now, but still a mainstay in Addison.

    The only thing missing from your post are pictures of two Addison landmarks - Louie's and the Pink Pony. Louie's was famous for getting flooded out by rain since it was so close to Salt Creek. "The Pony," as it was known to us natives, was special because it marked the pony express stop along US 20.

    Thanks again for the trip down memory lane!

  39. WOW, what a trip back retail memory lane. Living in various parts of the Midwest as well as the MidAtlantic, I was quite familiar with almost all of the retailers featured in your EXCELLENT post.
    Goldblatts was a great clothing and home furnishingsdiscount department store, much more lower end than Gimbels, more upscale than Robert Hall, sort of a 1980's Kohl's or Burlington Coat Factory.
    ZAYRE, who could ever forget the mothball smell, the great specials, and the burnedout neon lighted sign. If the Y burned out first, the Z was soon to follow.

    All great images of store fronts of 33 years ago. A very impressive historical look back at a happy time in American Consumerism.

    Maybe you could feature MurphyMart in an upcoming post.

  40. Anonymous – I saw a website for the Big R stores you describe. I’m not 100% sure that they are the same chain as the 1960’s Villa Park store. They look to be more of a Farm and Fleet or Tractor Supply Company kind of thing. It would be cool if they were the same company, though!

    Tomcat – Thanks for the update on the Denny’s. I’m sure that most of these are long gone by now. And about the Zayre Auto Center, that’s a nice reuse! I’ve several of the Korvettes auto centers in the Chicago area that have been converted to great little strip centers for the likes of Starbucks, cell phone stores, etc. The service bay doors have been replaced with standard store windows and doors. With the glazed brick and all, those little buildings were built to last!

    Snoopygirl – Thanks very much! And what was up with my Dominick’s not doing that? :)

    Mike CS – Very good point about the unique design of the Kinney Shoe stores – It was a unique roofline (sort of a “lazy L" from the side at least, and I can see where it would be expensive to change that.

    And now I know the “official” terminology for the Ponderosa plates - cool! There seem to be far fewer of those restaurants everywhere. I think families today are much more inclined to go to for a Chili’s/Fridays/Applebee’s kind of thing, while steakhouses have gone a bit more upmarket - Outback, Longhorn and the like. The cafeteria line model seems to have fallen out of favor.

    You hit it right on the head re Portillo’s – they’ve done an incredible job of preserving the old school feel despite their huge scale and modern systems.

    Didi – Never went to Crystal Point, but they made it look like a fun place, whether it was or not!

  41. Kendra – Thanks so much again! I think the photos are incredible as well, and I always hope that people learn things of interest or at least enjoy reliving some memories despite all the digressions and swiped lyrics in the posts! :)

    Jamcool – Forgot all about the Ralston Purina connection, I certainly do remember the checkerboard logo on the fry bags. Thanks!

    Scott – Thanks very much - glad you found it and that the timing worked out so well! This definitely looks like a state-of-the-art Jewel as I remember them in the mid-70’s. The stores near us were a bit older.

    Diane – Glad you stopped by, and thanks for mentioning those additional Addison hotspots. I spent a lot of time in Addison in the mid-80’s (my sister-in-law is from there), and was always impressed with the town and what it had to offer.

    I don’t remember soda fountains in Walgreens personally, but I know they played a huge part in their history and believe that a few at least survived into the early 70’s.

    TenPoundHammer – Regarding Ponderosa, I think they’ve been a victim of changing times and tastes as much as anything. People like the nostalgic experience with “stuff on the walls” as mentioned in the post, but they also like innovation where the foods itself is concerned. Ponderosa probably still does reasonably well, depending on local competition, with older folks and families with young kids (the self-serve ice cream fans – not that I dislike that, of course), but they’ve lost the massive demographic in between.

    Robert Hall Village had stores as far north as Michigan and as far south as New Orleans. Didn’t know they’d taken over some former Federals, thanks for that info! About Steve and Barry’s, when they went under, I read a lot of negative commentary about the merchandise quality, which kind of surprised me because the stuff was incredibly cheap! At 5 to 8 bucks a shirt one should temper their expectations. And where else could you find Cheerios t-shirts?

    David – Thanks, glad you found it interesting! Regarding Jack in the Box, the way they used to make them apparently is key, or maybe my own tastes have changed. “Jack Steak” and the “Bonus Jack” – forgot about those – thanks again!

    Doug – Thanks for the update on one of the few area Ponderosas. About Portillo’s, the restaurant is at 100 W. Lake Street (Green Meadows SC), which I think is very close to the original location. It’s been completely rebuilt as a modern (which really is to say “retro”) Portillo’s.

    Pwwalter – Thanks for sharing those great memories! Hopefully the Ponderosa pic brings back good memories of working there. As I recall, the restaurant crew at the one we ate at often appeared to be having fun. The merry-go-round thing at Fayva – cool! Reminds me of Shoe Carnival, where my 8-year old son would “spin the wheel” all day if we allowed him to! Also, that VW bug in the Goldblatts store would have been fun to see.

    And make sure your friends see the Big R photo – there’s nothing like vindication!

    Laura – I’m so glad this brought back some good memories for you! I remember the National Food Stores as well. at least in my early grade school years. I don’t remember the “kids eat free” policy in our local Ponderosa (shoot, they charged for butter pats!), but they may have switched to one later on.

    I’ll have to ask my sister-in law about the Pink Pony and Louie’s – thanks!

    Andy – Thanks very much, and I certainly agree that it was a happy time in American consumerism. I’m sure that many folks out there remember the Zayre signs and their little (and sometime not-so-little) quirks. I sure do!

    And funny you should mention Murphy’s Mart……

  42. Hi, doll! I love your blog. Francine and I were just speaking so fondly about Market Basket!

    I'll have to search around and get to know your site better, but I was wondering where you find your pictures and etc?

    Where on Earth did you find that Market Basket ad? I'd loooove to use it in my blog!

    We also had another similar market in my hometown called The Pantry. Does that ring a bell?

    Take care now!

  43. When we first moved to Addison from the chicago area I had to get a job, We had three children and I had to help with the bills, I got a job at Big R and worked there for a year or so. It was a very nice discount store. Had a lot of competition with K-Mart and Topps so it didn't survive thay long. I remember my husband picking me up every evening and stopping by Portillo's Hot dog stand on North Ave in front of Big R. That was the only stand Portillo had at that time. In fact him and his wife worked it by themselves before he opened all his other places. Them were fond memories!!

  44. Dave -

    What an incredible post that hit me right "where it counts" - I graduated Addison Trail in 1976 and was raised near the "dead end" where Lombard meets Villa Park!

    I worked at Ponderosa and my older sister worked at Robert Hall Village, let alone all those stores that we frequented (remember Korvette's?) - I love it!!

    I will be forwarding your post to my family and some of my friends from the ol' neighborhood.

    Thanks for the wonderful trip down memory lane!!

    so old i almost need a cane

  45. Doug - Thanks for the info on the Aurora Ponderosa. I'll have to check it out for old times sake next time I work up the courage to fight the traffic around Fox Valley.

    And yes, the Addison Portillo's has moved. As Dave said, it's still in the Green Meadows SC not far from its original location.

    One parting shot on Porillo's - whenever I place an order there, I'm always asked "here or to go?" Whenever I say "here" I wind up getting my order wrapped to go no matter what I tell them. What's up with that?

  46. The original Portillo's was in the parking lot of the Big "R" in Addison on North Avenue. It was, in fact, nothing but a small trailer with a window. My parents took me there as a child. If I remember correctly, for a while he got his water through a garden hose that ran to the shopping center. They later put up a brown brick store, and finally a 50's diner-like place.

    I think I also remember that Topps made french cruller doughnuts at the front of the store, but that was long ago, so I could be mistaken.

  47. Dave, Thank you so much for this post. As a child of the '70's/'80's that grew up in Addison, this is a real treat. It looks so different than it did 30 years ago! I just wish there werre some photos of the west side of Addison. Anyone remember Ventures and Daniels restaurant with the pool connected to it? Thanks again!

  48. Mike CS-I think the difference between "here" and "to go" at Portillo's is whether or not you get a tray and napkins in the bag. Potbelly's is the same way-the sandwiches are always wrapped up and bagged.

  49. More about Robert Hall Village: The one in Lapeer, Michigan was a former Yankee discount store, Yankee being a local 1960s discounter that got snapped up by Zody's out of California in 1974. Zody's didn't last long here in Michigan, and most of their stores went separate ways. Some went Tradeway->3D->Hills (no idea what Tradeway or 3D were), and I think there might have been others that went to Robert Hall Village.

  50. Vicki – Well, thanks very much! Is “The Pantry” you’re referring to in the SoCal area? I’ve heard of one chain by that name, but I think they’re only located in Eastern states. Most of the pictures are from old trade magazine or corporate publications, the MB ad you’re referring to is from the Pasadena Star-News via Newspaper Archive.

    Imhkki – Thanks!

    Anonymous – Wow, a Big R veteran – thanks very much for commenting! I’ll make a note to add the Portillo fact to the post – definitely elevates the importance of things!

    Susan – I really appreciate it, and am so glad it brought back some good memories for you! Hope your friends and family enjoy it as well! Oh come on, we’re still young! ;)

    Mike – I’ve experienced the same thing at Portillo’s, guess it must be their policy.

    Inkydog – I will make a note on the post. I’ve heard the “garden hose” story is actually the official version events. Just never knew until now where their first restaurant (trailer) was located! And it seems you never see crullers anywhere these days.

    Anonymous – You’re very welcome, and thank you!

  51. Thanks for the memories! My family moved from Chicago to Addison in 1958. I was in 7th grade and attended Oak School on Addison Road. I worked in the old Jewel Food Store all thru high-school, and remember all of the stores in Green Meadow Shopping Center. I remember Tony Lulu was the builder and owner of the shopping center. Although I heven't lived in Addison since 1983, I still try to get back there, and of course, have to have a Portillo's hot dog to eat at the restaurant, and a beef to take home to Wisconsin. Yum!!!

  52. Drive down lake street now and see how many abandoned buildings you can find. Sad to see what Addison used to be, I'm too young to remember any of it. ...So that's what used to stand in all those empty lots! Now it makes sense.

  53. I really hope you cover toy stores one day. Love to see a front pic of Play World and Child World again.

  54. I worked at the Big R store in the late 60's...the store, if I remember correctly it was a westward migrant from the city...the R?, Resnick's, the owner's name and former store name in the city.

    At the time that I was there, I believe that two brothers were running it along with wives and close friends and long time employees that made the move to Villa Park.(They all commuted from near the city daily.)

    Trivia note: former Chicago Cub 'Moose' Moran ran the sporting goods dept.

  55. met a man here in meridian idaho that said mr. portillo also owned "browns fried chicken" next to the big r. (he used to work for mr. p and opened his own italian beef stand here)

    probably where he ran his hose from browns for the original portillos.

    1. Actually they are brothers, one owns Browns the other owns Portillos.

  56. What..... no Gaylord's? They were HUGE out in Aurora, IL back in the day!!

  57. Hi, I wanted to post some more updates.

    The Jack in the Box is an empty lot now. The Denny's in the pic is next to an Arthur Trecher's, which I don't remember being on North Ave. Maybe a different site?

    To counter the 'Addison has gone downhill' post, there is a nice newer shopping area on Lake Street west of Green Meadows [which is still doing OK] near route 53/I-355.There was an empty Venture for years and now is WalMart, Best Buy, Sam's Club there.

    Also, there is a Marcus Cinema that does good business and has an IMAX screen. And by Marcus are a few newer restaurants: IHOP, Applebees, Culvers, and Aurileos.

    The old KMart near there has a gym, and some small stores, but the Seafood store is a gaping hole.

    yes, there's some other empty stores, but not as bad as some 'dead mall' burbs.

  58. geez--what a trip
    moved to san diego about '94 and am now in albuquerque, but get back to chicago about once a year. one of the first stops the family makes is portillos, but i find myself mispronouncing the name--after living where i did, and now do, i keep on pronouncing the double l as a long y (spanish)--my wife looks at me really funny.

    one thing that has made me a very happy camper is garrett popcorn is at o'hare. we would take the kids downtown at christmas time to look at the windows at fields and carsons, and then stick our head in at garrett's and get a big bag of caramel corn. the bag didn't last at all, and all we were doing was driving home to elk grove village.

    thanks for the terrific pictures.

  59. Where in Addison was this Ponderosa?

  60. The last Ponderosa in my town (St Pete), just down the street from my house, closed about 3 weeks ago. It had been there at least since 1975 or so. The food quality was never that good, but I suspect that it got even worse in more recent days. Hadn't eaten at a Ponderosa since 1987 and never regretted it.

  61. The Ponderosa in Addison was east of Lombard Road on the north side of Lake St. At that time there wasn't much in Addison for good eating. Not that it was great but it was a good place to take the kids.

  62. If the Big R now is the same chain as the one in Addison in the 70s, the one in Morris is not a vintage location. In fact, the Morris Big R is in the old Walmart location, which moved across the street to the current Supercenter sometime in the late 90s.

  63. Dave- think Crap in the Box. Sorry. I tried the Nashville area JITB, and they are not the same as vintage Jack. The attempt to be more upscale with ground sirloin, thicker shakes, and pannini doesn't fit with JITB. But it seems that all the fast food chains had tastier fare back in the day.

    Love the classic 1970s Denney's, a common fixture in Atlanta and Florida as well. Arthur Treacher's came and went here so fast I couldn't say much about it, I doubt it lasted 2 years. The nearest Pizza Hut with the mustachioed mascot was in East Ridge, TN, but as a child, I always felt like the Pizza Hut was shortchanged by not having the mascot. East Ridge also had a vintage walk up arches on rook McD's that was expaned into the mansard prototype and finally replaced. Old school drive-ins seem like a distant memory now, despite A&W and Sonic catering to nostalgia.

  64. The Green Meadow Jewel location is actually it's second home. The original used to be in the middle of the strip mall just about in the center behind what is now the free standing Portillo's.

    Another Addison landmark was Millie's Pancake Shop at Lake St and Mill Rd.

  65. Dave,
    Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane. I grew up in Addison and worked at that Ben Franklin until I was old enough to get a job at the Jewel.

    The Addison Jewel was the first grocery store in the midwest to install UPC scanners. It was a really big deal so we had to make sure our sherbet orange and white dresses were in pristine condition and definitely not too short.

    Ben Franklin was a craft store long before Michaels came onto the scene. People would travel from miles around to get their macrame and decopauge(sp) supplies.

    It seems no one has mentioned Jack in the Box was the very first drive through. An actual jack-in-a-box took your order. Still had to park at Burger King and McDonalds to get your burgers back then.

    Addison was a great place to grow up. We could find everything we needed within walking distance, including the Addison Theater and Tastee Freeze.

  66. Julieb - Glad that you enjoyed it, and thanks very much! It's great to hear from people who actually worked in these places. Addison must have been a fine place to grow up - the affection that those who've posted here have shown toward it is very touching. Thanks agian!

  67. Adrienne!! I will "back up" your story about Dominicks giving away the pastel suckers!! Actually I was searching the internet for some info because no one remembers the pastel pops with Dominicks stamped on them but me!! I remember the guys in the meat dept used to hand them out and u could find them at the front of the store too!

  68. Kimmy - Hopefully Adrienne will see that you validated her memories! Very cool - only now I wonder what was up with my local Dominick's! ;)

  69. Let's not forget the Torchlight Restaurant (NE corner of Lake St and 53). My dad used to take us for dinner and to listen to 'live' music by Max (last name?). He played the organ and sang the old favorites. I remember my dad was quite fond of the Manhatten's there:)

  70. Oh these photos. I have memories of almost all of these. That White Hen logo was like an optical illusion--for years I had no idea that was supposed to be a chicken. It looked like some sort of funny hat in a bowl. And I'm glad Dunkin Donuts got rid of those trippy circular logos. Horrible. There was a Ben Franklin's on Belmont Avenue and Austin in Chicago up until about 15 years ago.

  71. Wow, what memories! Here are a couple of my own:

    Around 1960 the Prince Pasta Company of Lowell, Massachusetts opened a small chain of pizza and spaghetti restaurants, all located in the Boston area. Two have closed, but the flagship restaurant, leaning tower of pizza and all, is still in operation and thriving after nearly 50 years of continuous ownership by the same family who acquired it from Prince.


    Sadly, the namesake pasta company did not survive as a New England institution. Borden acquired Prince in 1987 and closed the Lowell plant ten years later. Prince lives on, after a fashion, as a brand of the New World Pasta company, but it just isn't the same as when Lowell was still known as "Spaghettiville."


    Like many Prince loyalists, I've boycotted the product since the Lowell plant closure, but I still remember back some 40 years when Wednesday was Prince Spaghetti Day in this legendary commercial:



    The late William Rosenberg, founder of Dunkin' Donuts, tried his hand at a burger chain (who didn't?) around 1960 called Howdy Beefburgers. Howdy Doody was the chain's mascot. Howdy's shared parking lots with his flagship donut chain; here's an aerial view of what a typical layout looked like in the beginning:


    As with Dunkin', Howdy's logo and building designs evolved in the 1970s, and in Howdy's case, the name itself evolved into Howdy Beef N' Burger. It appears the modernization did not extend to the menu boards and some other interior details, which perhaps helped bring about its demise.

    This wonderful Facebook group documents the camaraderie of the crew at the Concord, New Hampshire Howdy's location circa 1974. According to the page, the chain numbered 22 locations at its peak. Alas, the location depicted lasted a mere three months after a McDonald's opened nearby.


  72. I might have sought out more sources before that last post (which means that Dave's job is safe for now :). Howdy's apparently had as many as 27 units before it gave up the ghost in the late 70s. The owner of the Concord, NH Dunkin'/Howdy's is referenced at this site dedicated to Dunkin' franchisees; if the 1965 opening date of his (parking lot) combination unit is correct, this would date the tenth anniversary sign at the Facebook site at 1975. Reading this article, I am reminded that KFC was much farther along in franchising than McDonald's before Ray Kroc's empire really hit its stride. No wonder, then, that it took awhile for Howdy's to really feel the heat of the Golden Arches bearing down on them.


  73. I grew up in Addison and read in the comments some of the places you missed (Louie's rest, A&W, Millie's, Pink Pony, Daniels, etc,). However, you did miss the Stardust bowling alley which at one time was 16 lanes (bowled there many Saturday mornings in the early 60's and paid $1.25 for 3games of bowling, hamburger, chips and soda), and eventually became the bowling alley in the US with the most lanes in a row (82).
    Also missed Sandy's restaurant on Addison Rd, which was the hang out every weekend for teenagers in the 60's.
    You should also mention St. Joseph's church on Fullerton Ave. where teen dances were held every Sunday night (again in the 60's) with live bands.
    Other things I remember about Addison:
    No junior high school until 1964. I went to 8th grade in the municipal building (where the police station was).
    Kids living on the East side of Addison Road went to York High School and those on the West side went to Willowbrook. Addison Trail opened in 1966.
    The "Dock" was a bar/restaurant at the corner of Mill Rd and Army Trail Rd.
    Army Trail was one lane in both directions.

    1. Wow - Herbie, I remember just about all you said. My family lived in the unincorporated area south of Army Trail Road between Lombard Road and (old) Route 53. My older brother attended Willowbrook his Freshman year because Addison Trail wasn't built yet. I remember going around inside it before it was even completed with him checking it all out. I used to bowl at Stardust, including 2 or 3 years on a league there. I know it was closed for some time but wasn't aware it ever had so many lanes. I definitely remember Sandy's on Addison Road, my family went there many times. I think they lasted until the late 60's and then became something else. I believe the Pink Pony is still there in business; Louies restaurant, after being flooded more times than could be counted, was finally razed and the area turned into a large interchange area between Lake Street, Villa Ave and Wooddale Road. I wasn't aware of the junior high situation prior to the building of Indian Trail but I do remember that the Addison Library was in that musty old place, and my class from St. Paul's school would sometimes go over there to use their big gymnasium. Many years before, that was a Lutheran orphanage my folks would come out from Chicago to visit every summer and there was a big picnic in the grove where Lake Street and Army Trail converged. People don't often know that there was once a very large windmill located just off of Mill Road - it was there for maybe about 100 years and was over five stories tall at the top swing of the rotor. I wonder if anyone else remembers how Army Trail used to merge into Lake Street in the middle of town? It was a big traffic mess sometimes because of that; eventually they closed it off and put in Kennedy Drive. And does anyone else remember when Lombard Road ran all the way from Army Trail to North Avenue? It wasn't in great shape but it was driveable. I remember both Lombard Road and Mill Road between Army Trail and Lake street as being only gravel roads. And Fullerton Avenue for a long time was only a gravel country road with a few old farms along it until you got close to Addison Road (from the west). When it got paved for putting in an industrial area, there was almost nothing there for quite a while and you could ride in circles at the intersection of Lombard and Fullerton on your bike; there was no traffic at all even at 'rush hour'. The trestle on Lombard Road south of Fullerton was a great hangout for some of us kids; now they've poured the whole trestle area full of gravel. Things have changed so much now but it was a great place to live, growing up.

  74. WOW does this Blog bring back memories. I grew up about 500 feet from one of the pics and recognized the location INSTANTLY!! I am somewhat proud to say that I have been to EVERY ONE of the sites/stores in this blog and am proud of it!! Thanks for bringing back the memories!!!

  75. 2/2/11
    RobGems.ca wrote:
    I used to love the Ponderosa Steakhouses partcularly in the late60's-early 80's. They used to have the waitresses dressed up in Gail Davis-styled (of TV's "Annie Oakley) cowgirl costumes, and were real sharp in them. These oufits were dumped in the early 80's for more conventional outfits, but I sadly missed the Annie Oakley waitresses. Michigan had a number of them, as well as Pizza Huts and Arthur Treacher's restaraunts After the death of actor Arthur Treacher in 1975, many of the fish and chips oulets in Michigan had a name change to Seafood Bay which lasted from 1981-1994. Those old photos of Sears' Department stores and it's rival Montgomery Wards' were really classy. I sadly miss Montgomery Wards' in particular after it ceased operations in 2002, especially the ones at Oakland Mall in Madison Heights, Michigan (now a Macy's Department store) and at Pontiac Mall (later Summit Place in the 1980's.) the Summit Place opened in 1962 as Pontiac Mall And sadly now stands mostly vacant, with only a Sears' Department Store, a Kirby's Coney Island Restaraunt, a "Shake-and-Steak" hamburger stand, and a Baskin-Robbins'/Dunkin' Donuts joint franchise still in operation. The rest of the mall is closed permantly with seemingly no takers in sight, as the cities the mall bordes on, Pontiac and Waterford Twp. continues to struggle on whether to tear down the old structure or to put a new business in it's place. Ah,city politics, a real drag. The Oakland Mall opened in 1968, and is still running with Macy's and Sears as their main anchor stores. the mall once had a Hudson's (changed to Dayton's,before they eliminated the Hudson's name for good in 1999), and Detroit had fond memories of the old Hudson's name before first Neiman-Marcus, then Macy's took over the brand name. We Detroiters fondly remember the giant Hudson's store in Downtown Detroit before the closing in 1994, and the 1998 implosion of the building. Today that empty space that once employed Hudson's is now a drab parking lot for the nearby Ford Autotorium and newly built Comerica Park autotorium.

  76. 2/3/11
    Robgems.ca wrote:
    Just went over your memorable blog again today; You have a lot of memorable pictures and nostalgic stories to share, so Thank you very much for the childhood memories. I noticed pictures of the old Robert Hall store,pictures of the Denny's restaraunt, and the old Jack-In-the-Box photos. Michigan hasn't had neither Jack-in-the Box stands or Robert Hall stores for over 30 years. The Robert Hall story in the state of Michigan is an interesting one; all of them were bought out by crazed tycoon/accused firebug Steven West in 1976,and was placed into the Federal Department store accounts. As I pointed out in an earlier blog, West was fanatical about losing business and money to rival chains like K-Marts and Kresgee's and thought he could solve his problems by devious means, such as torching at least five Federal stores and liquidating the rest. We in Michigan all knew the ultimate disaster that followed Mr. West's fortunes after that. Jack-in-the Box restaraunts survived until the late 1970's, when a small Florida fast-food industry called "Wuv's" bought them all out. Wuv's fast food however was not as good as Jack-in-the Boxs', and was short lived in Michigan, until they were bought out by Hardee's/Carl's Jr's. in 1985. Many of the Hardees' chains didn't last long in Michigan either, after having bought out both Wuv's and Burger Chef chains, they soon left the state of Michigan not long after the buyout of Wuv's. Only a handful of Hardee's that were formerly either Wuv's or Burger Chefs' survive today. Most Jack-in-the Box chains can still be found in the state of Texas, and most Hardees' can now be found as Carl's Jr. chains in Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri. As for Denny's, they still survive in Michigan, despite nearly being run out of the state on a rail in 1994 because of alleged racist politics of them not serving African-American customers too well at the time, but managed to survive that scandal,and still exsist today.

  77. Zayres was also outside Addison. There was one in teh South West burbs as well. Nearer to Burbank, Oak Lawn IL...

    Thanks by the way long time Chicago area guy that has since moved away...nice memories of home.

  78. Arthur Treacher's was the "Long John Silver's" of it's day; very similar.

    1. I remember an Arthur Treacher's at North Avenue in Villa Park at the North Park Mall - which I used to refer to as the 'Can't Park Mall" because the parking was bad. An old couple ran Arthur Treachers and it was a real comedy watching them bicker over what the orders were and where was this and that was wrong and so forth. Then later it turned into Popeyes and lasted quite a few years. I ate there regularly when I lived in Addison and Villa Park, and when I came back to the area to visit I would always stop in to eat. Unfortunately it closed some time ago.

  79. I grew up in Northwest Indiana and remember many of these stores, Zayre, Topps, Ben Franklin, Fayva and Goldblatts. The was a large Goldblatts in downtown Gary.

  80. WOW!!! A blast from the past!!! Thanks for all the wonderful childhood memories!!! What about mentioning McDade's? Remember their slogan? 'McDade's, the catalog house'. I too, remember soda foutains inside Walgreen's. I grew up near the old Walgreen's (long gone-now a Lowes)at 79th & Cicero in the Scottsdale shopping center & my girlfriends & I would walk there after school for shakes/malts...Great times!!! Jack in the Box was my absolute favorite as a kid...Just visited California this past April & I couldn't drive the rental car to 'The Box' fast enough!! Funny how businesses last in one area & not another...

    1. McDade & Co catalog store was in Carol Stream on North Ave, just west of Schmale Rd on the north side.

  81. My name is Brandt Maass. My family had lived in Addison since early 60s. Wow! My family owned Michaels Driving School on Lake Street and I got my pizza and jute box music at Johns Pizza. I worked at Pucinneis Gun Shop when I was 10-12 years old. Got my first shotgun then. I went to Oak and Indian Trail School. I helped build the library across from my Jr. High instead of going to class and got caught. My teacher saw me through the windows facing the library. Not too smart of me. I made friends with the guard dog at Ace Hardware and played with him after school. No one could believe it. I played in Salt Creek and caught many huge Carp when the big floods came in. Played at Friers Cove before any homes were built and a beautiful girl trapped me and gave me my first real kiss on the steps of the church right there in that Cove area. Got great ice cream at the 7'dwarfs but can't remember where that was. Sky High drive in? The amusement park that set up at Green Meadows every year. And a so called bad motorcycle gang that saved me from older kids beating me up and taking my winnings from that amusement park. They got my things back and won me even more. Devils Deciples was their club name. I never forgot that. I could go on and on. If anyone was around in those days 60s I'd love to hear from you. Thank you. Brandt Maass brandtmichaelmaass@yahoo.com

  82. Looks like Safeway (which I didn't realize owned Dominick's until seeing in on the 506 forums {message board mainly made up of sports broadcasting geeks like myself} tonight) is selling Dominick's (leaving the Chicagoland area). From some of what is in this article (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/10/10/dominicks-owners-to-exit-chicago-market/); the future of the Dominick's name is looking pretty bleak.

  83. A slight correction to your story - the Dominicks you mention (and picture) was located on Lake Street (and Mill Road), not Army Trail Road. Otherwise, enjoyed the piece! Thanks.

  84. No one mentioned Spin-it or Bogarts record stores, Teps Arcade or Four Seasons. Those were some great Addison landmarks as well!

    1. Bogart's was a family run store and had been in 2 different locations on Lake Street. Before Addison, the store used to be on Green St in Bensenville.

  85. Really enjoyed the comments by Brandt Maass as I too grew up in Addison, graduated Addison Trail HS in 1974. I would have never remembered the annual carnival in the parking lot at Green Meadows though if he hadn't mentioned it. In fact at some point it moved to the Zayre parking lot - I have a couple of photos I took of it there in the early 1970's in fact. I went to parochial school but took the public school bus for a few years so I had to leave St. Paul Lutheran and walk maybe 3/8 mile to Oak School where we all lined up out in the parking lot area and waited for our bus's 'run". We might get there at 3:25 and the bus left on its first run at 3:30 but we'd have to stand out there (in rain, cold, whatever) and wait for the bus to come back for the second run - maybe about 4pm or so - and THEN we could get on and go home. Amazing to think of the whole thing - kids being left to stand outdoors that long waiting for a bus ride, and standing in lines behind a certain mark to line up for each of the various buses. I worked at the Addison Zayre store for about three months in 1975. We had an appliance department manager who could sell an Eskimo a refrigerator; while our store all in all placed near the very bottom in sales in the region our appliance department was halfway up the list. I hated working there though and was happy to quit after I paid off a TV set I had on layaway for myself. They had a snack bar at the back of the store; I remember one day a guy accidentally knocked a large glass ashtray off the counter and the lady who worked there brought him a broom and dustpan so HE could clean it up.

    My brother worked at the Guido's grocery store on Army Trail road and made good money - really, adult level wages for a high school student. Some of his friends worked there and bought brand new muscle cars on 12 or 18 months payments. My parents usually ordered pizza from John's on Lake Street on Saturday night. There were so many businesses I remember, some of them still there (Millies Pancake House) and some of them long gone (Hub's Hamburger Hamlet, DX gas stations). The whole area has changed so much it's almost unrecognizable. My old parochial school St. Pauls is basically closed when it used to have several hundred kids enrolled. But it was a great place to live, growing up.

  86. Someone mentioned the Big "R" discount store on North Avenue in Addison. A mile down the road was another place called "Big Save". It went out of business and when it reopened the new owners decided to go cheap so they could save on the new signage. They named the store "A E GIBS" which let them re-use all the big sign letters across the front except for the 'V'.

  87. The image for Dominick's is missing the link to the large size (I found it anyway:).

  88. In 1960 my husband worked on the Jr. High. He tried to get me to move out to Addison from Chicago because they were selling large lots on Lombard Rd for $1000. I thought it was too far out but in 1965 when we were moving back from Detroit we ended up in Addison. At that time they were still working on Addison Trail High School. We lived on Lombard Rd just south of Lake st. Our side of the street was gravel and had no mail delivery. We had to drive into town to the post office which was on Lake st East of Addison Rd. From Rt 53 there were no lights until you got to Addison Rd. Mill Rd was a stop sign. We have seen many changes in Addison over the years. Never found a town that was better for a central location, schools and shopping.

  89. Do you have any info on Chicken Unlimited? That's an Addison-area restaurant I remember visiting with my grandparents in the 1970s. It was located, if I recall, in Green Meadows Shopping Center on the corner of Addison Rd. & Lake St.

    1. Chicken Unlimited was located right along Lake Street between the Ace Hardware and the gas station on the NW corner of Lake & Addison. I worked at that gas station when it was a full-service Arco station; my friend and I used to go to Chicken Unlimited (or 'chicken U' as we called it) regularly. They had an all you can eat deal - chicken, fries and biscuits - for around three bucks. We'd murder them on that deal. I remember one day waiting for my order at Chicken U and it started to rain... two kids who had just bought food from Jack in the Box on Lake Street ducked into Chicken U and sat down to eat their food, and the owner (or manager) threw them out.

  90. Can anyone help me with this question/problem? What was the name of the toy store that used to be in the Randhurst Shopping Center parking lot where the Home Depot currently sits?

  91. Addison wasn't the only town with all of these stores. Morton Grove and Niles had all of them as well. Plus Shoppers World, Thom McCann, Par King, EJ Korvettes, and more.

  92. How about Steinburg Baum?

  93. Addison updates: Applebbee's closed 3 years ago, still empty and Home Run Inn pizza across Lake St closed a few months ago, :-( . In the old K Mart building, Panet Fitness sit next to empty store that is only used for Halloween items in Sept/Oct.

    But, there is a new Little Ceaser's in the old Zayre Auto Center, replacing a 'Cash 4 Gold' shop. Jewel-Osco is doing fine and so is Ace Hardware. Chase has a big branch on NW corner of Mill and Lake St. But the old Dominicks and Fanny Mae are still empty, on SE. The strip mall was spruced up at least, to attract tenents, and the Dominick's "label scar" was finally covered up!

    1. My best friend worked at that Ace store for a few years in the 70's. I was in there a few years ago and they've bricked up most of the windows... inside, it's dank and dim and depressing where once it was bright and pleasant to shop there. Not sure why they felt the need to do that but it's a nasty place to shop in now.

  94. Happened to stumble across this site and saw the comments about Daniels. My dad actually worked there and I was there a lot as a kid. There was a band that used to play there called the Coronets. Anyone remember that? I remember they always played "After the Lovin". A nice man named Mr. Pinta I believe was always there as well. They also had a fun pinball machine in the back. Thanks for the memories. Great stuff.

  95. I worked at the Big R in Villa Park while in High School. In fact, I was working the night of the moon landing in 1969 and watched it there in the TV department.

  96. There was a Topps at the corner of Harlem and Dempster, a Marc’s Big Boy was in front of the lot, it’s now Kappy’s. Topps was owned by Interstate Department Stores, also owners of White Front in California. The bought Bargain Town across from Golf Mill and changed their name to Toys R Us. They eventually closed Topps and White Front in the 70’s.