Stores or restaurants you used to go to in your youth

I used to go to Toys-R-Us occasionally, and I went to Best Buy a ton too. I believe I also went to some bars in Lake Geneva as well.


This gets long with us Middle Aged and older folks.

I use to enjoy The Ground Round. Peanut shells on the floor (from the free peanuts), old cartoons playing quietly. Decent food.

Old Chain Department Stores.
Bradleys, Jamesway, Caldors and best of all Two Guys.

Department Stores: Sterns, bought our first queen size bed from them. Bamburgers got absorbed by Macy’s and now I might as well add Sears to the list where I’ve shopped my entire life. Oh Kmart is going to, but no loss.

Loads of eateries have folded over the years but as they were mostly stand alone not worth mentioning.

Supermarkets: Still weird the original, A&P is gone.

No trip to the mall was complete without a visit to Spencer Gifts. I guess they’re still around but when I was a teenager they were as close as you could get to a head shop and still be in a mall.

I remember trips with my mom to Gimbels, Kaufmans, and Joseph Horne’s. They decorated their windows for xmas and Kaufmans (IIRC) had a “Breakfast With Santa” that we did every year.

Looking back it was kinda strange. My mom, an atheist Jew, taking her three kids to eat waffles with Santa.

I liked Wooworth, because we always got to eat at the counter.

Copps was a department store like K-Mart, and Oshkosh had both, so a trip into town netted me two chances to find new toys! Gone. (At least Fleet Farm is still there!)

Oshkosh also had a Big Boy, but I can’t remember if it was a Bob’s or a Marc’s. I loved going there. Arizona had “JB’s” which was virtually the same (I said it stood for “Joe-Bob’s”), but they are gone, too.

In this day of everything on the intertnet, it seems Spencer Gifts has now become the closest thing to a sex shop and still be in the mall, to stay relevant. For those few malls left standing.

I don’t think we had Two Guys or Jamesway where I grew up but we did have Bradlee’s (note the spelling) and Caldor (which was based in, I think, Norwalk, Connecticut). There was also Zayre, Woolworth and/or Woolco and Alexander’s Department Store (which was my mother’s seemingly favorite place). Also, Sears was still a viable store. In other types of stores, we had Waldenbooks, B Dalton, Grossmans Hardware, Software Etc and later Egghead Software (you bought software in physical form in an actual store).

And in more upscale stores, there was Edwin Malley and G Fox (Connecticut based department stores).

Woolworths and McCrory’s. I miss those old 5 & 10s.
My sisters loved Alexander’s.

I miss the various Computer stores and browsing titles and discount bins. Add Comp USA to that list.

There were also the catalog showrooms. Service Merchandise was our usual go-to store and I think I still have stuff from there. The Wikipedia article says that there were laws preventing most stores from discounting stuff below the manufacturers’ set minimums but the catalog showroom model let them avoid these restrictions.

K-mart was awesome when I was a kid. It stayed that way until I got through college. They had everything- car stuff, lawn and garden, electronics. They even had K-mart branded televisions. I checked the U.L. numbers on some of them and compared them to the name brand ones, same thing for a lower price. In the auto department, they sold alternators and starters, tires (their brand and others), tune-up and oil change supplies, and every silly accessory you could think of.

I miss Radio Shack. Their car stereo stuff was a bit over priced but their speakers were good. The thing is, when Radio Shack had a sale, the items were really discounted. That made the speakers a bargain. I had a few cars with decent sound setups featuring Radio Shack speakers!

Besides Service Merchandise there was Best’s and Consumers Distributing. They often had great prices but they were horrible stores to shop in the process of getting your purchase always seemed dehumanizing. Best’s seemed like the best of the bad lot.

The Automats in NYC, especially their chicken pot pie, baked beans and lemon meringue pie. And their coffee wasn’t bad either.

Macy’s, Gimbel’s, B. Altman’s, Corvette’s, Bloomingdale’s, Ohrbach’s.

I liked the catalog showrooms for the part where you’d placed the order and were waiting for your thing to come down the conveyor belt from the warehouse out back. It seemed exciting at the time.

KMart was the only store in our town. Every memory I have of shopping as a kid was at KMart. We did our Girl Scout cookie booths at Kmart too.

We had a Ground Round but it was a “new” version - no peanuts on the floor. It didn’t open until the mid-90s. There was a bar half and a dining room half. I don’t even know what else was on the menu because I 100% got their club sandwich on marble rye, and a piece of peanut butter pie every time I went. I usually went with my friends as I was driving by the time it opened. I remember when it closed, because it was one of those deals where the whole chain closed suddenly. It just stopped being open one day.

We had a Pizza Hut in town, one of the classic Hut shaped buildings with the red roof. Checkered table cloths, a lovely salad bar and hot greasy pan pizzas. My friends and I went every Friday and Saturday night after marching band. The place actually JUST closed down in 2019. So now the city has an empty Hut shaped buildings.

Does anyone remember TwinValu? We used to have to drive about 30 mins out of town to shop anywhere but KMart, so we often ended up at TwinValu. It was the first time I ever experienced a store that had groceries AND department store stuff. It was a Wal Mart Supercenter before Wal Mart Supercenters were a thing. Absolutely massive place. I wonder why it never took off. It probably opened in the late 80s and was gone by the mid 90s.

ETA: It has a Wikipedia page. It was just a regional NE Ohio store. I guess it’s called a “hypermarket”.

Consumer’s Direct didn’t even do that part well. It was the worst. It was somehow Soviet feeling. But Best’s was as you described.

I don’t think I ever shopped at BEST Products, but I read about their unusual store designs in a magazine at the time.

There was a Dog & Suds franchise in my small town, population of about 800. We jokingly called it “Arf & Barf” but the food was quite good. Many variations on hot dogs, their “Coney Dog” was the signature menu item. They also had various burgers and their curly fries were good too. And of course they had “suds”, meaning root beer. Prices were affordable for this high school kid. I could take a date there, both of us eat hardy and not spend more than maybe $6.00 (1974)

It was a big hit in that small town as it was the only fast food place around. They were located right on the highway going through town. They did a very good business until the highway that bypassed the town was built. That bypass pretty much killed the town. A quick google showed that Dog & Suds still exists elsewhere in the country.

Many fond memories of the place. There were some booths in the back that were unseen by the counter folks. Great place to steal a kiss from your 16 year old honey. I went there more for the make-out possibilities than the food :slight_smile:

Edit: Lest you think I’m some sort of perv, I was also 16 at the time :slight_smile:

I’m old and from Chicago. The mother of all department stores was Marshall Field & Co., called Fields. It was a big deal to get gussied up and go downtown to State Street and shop at Fields, Carson Pirie Scott, Chas A. Stevens. Locally, Evergreen Plaza had Kresge’s with a pet department in the basement, featuring a talking mynah bird. Montgomery Wards, although that was viewed as a poor man’s Sears.

Kresge’s and Woolworths . Worked at Kresge’s they paid in cash!

Me and a few friends (or siblings) could easily spend a few hours at Blockbuster Video, browsing rows of movies and video games.

The Woolworth’s near my house always had a peculiar funky smell I’ve never encountered elsewhere. It was also on a weird angled lot, and sloped upward from the front, where the lunch counter was, to the back, the width of a city block away, where I would go to look at the pet turtles and tropical fish. All the bins that contained dry goods were made of dark wood.

E.J. Korvette’s, at a shopping mall I had to take a bus to, was much more modern. It was bright and white and shiny.

And then the A&P grocery near my house was cool too, where you could grind your 8 O’Clock coffee in machines the way you liked it (coarse, medium, fine) right in the aisle.