Stores or restaurants you used to go to in your youth

We still have a Shakey’s with that old-style logo in my neck of the woods. We also have a new one that opened about 3 years ago. So at least in Southern California, they’re still around.

In High School I spent a lot of time in either book or record stores. Among the departed:
Pickwick Books
B. Dalton

in college they were all killed by

who in turn were killed by Amazon and the internet.

For music, there was:
Music+ (eventually got bought out by Blockbuster Music)
Licorice Pizza
Tower Records - the best ever
And lots and lots of independent stores - Moby Disc, Penny Lane, Recycled Records.
Sam Goody’s was in the malls, but charged too much - full list price when everywhere else was a few bucks off.
By the 90s it was Best Buy’s amazing CD section. Borders was a great book/music/cafe combination.

We used to live about a mile or so from the original Toys ‘R’ Us. Every year on our birthdays my father would take us to Toys ‘R’ Us and we could pick out anything in the store (within reason). I was very sad when that store was closed and torn down.

My grandmother’s apartment was right next to Woolworth’s and whenever my brother and I would stay with her we’d walk over there and she’d buy us toys.

We didn’t eat out often, it was extremely rare in fact, but every couple of years we’d go to have pizza out at Shakey’s. I remember it vividly because they had a Yie Ar Kung-Fu arcade machine. My father would never, ever give us a quarter to play, but my brother and I would stand in front of it and just watch it play itself while we waited for the pizza.

Aside from the Acme supermarket and the Ben Franklin 5 and 10, the only other chain store in my home town’s downtown was a Rexall drug store, which we didn’t really go to. They’re all gone now, but we now have a Dunkin’ Donuts downtown. It still seems weird.

To get to other chain stores you had to go out to Route 18 and the malls. the closest mall had the Woolco I mentioned and another Acme. it also had a J.J. Newberry’s (which definitely wasn’t a 5 and 10 when we went there). It had a little lunch section and (most important to me) a book section.

There was an S.S. Kresge (before there were K-Marts)

and there was a Shop-Rite supermarket (yes, our mall had two supermarkets, one at each end)

It’s the only one of the bunch that’s still in operation. The mall is still there, but everything has changed over except that.

In the same complex was an International House of Pancakes. IHoP is still around, of course, but Boston Market bought them out and demolished the classic high-roofed building.

I lived in a small town. There were no chain restaurants in the town when I was growing up (there’s now a single McDonald’s in the township). All stores were local, though every few months we’d go up the Island to a mall. I do remember Woolworths, but we rarely shopped there. We’d go into NYC around Christmas to see the windows and I remember B. Klein (on the Square), Lord and Taylor, Gimbel’s, and Abraham and Strauss*

When I got to college, though, there were plenty. Gone now are Carroll’s, Wetson’s (good riddance), Two Guys (department store), The Boston Store, Jamesway, Barkers, Kings, Lum’s, Sears, E.J. Korvette’s, Billy Blake, J.M. Fields, and many others.

*What I remember most of these was the constant mysterious dinging sound. No one could explain what it was. Not an intercom alert, because it never stopped and was the same pattern all day.

I remember those from several stores in our mall. If it’s what I recall, then it was a “chime” made by a striker hitting a bar of metal which wasn’t allowed to “ring” for a long time. Kind of like a glockenspiel that gets muted after a second. I believe these were signals to the sales people, but I don’t knw what the code was (if there was one). It probably only meant “new customer just walked in” or something like that.

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The thing is that the chimes were always the same. It’d stay at four dings, for example, the entire time I was in the store. I would count them to see if there was any variation and never found any. I also heard them every time I was in the store.

I guess the only thing that made sense was that they did it to to alert people I was in the store. :man_shrugging:

Some of us just don’t have the aptitude to repair anything with moving parts. I’m 56, and couldn’t fix many things at any time in my life. Fortunately, I make enough money to pay others to do the work.

The corner 7-11 had a huge banyan tree snugged up against the corner. The store at my earliest memory was open air, no walls until the grate came down at closing time. Slurpees were 11 cents, iirc. A/C came later when they enclosed the store. The tree attracted loiterers and litter and it was cut down. 7-11 is still there I believe.

A drive-in at each ebd of town, A&W and Bell’s, both closed in winter. Walk/bike to Ken’s for sit-down pie and milk. Super’s for ice cream, 5c a scoop in cones. Pizza not invented yet.

Bluebird for mags/comics. Buteyn Hardware for model planes. Homan’s or Huslls grocery for baseball cards. Greyhound bus to Bob Thurwatcher’s stamp shop. Didn’t buy much else.

School supplies at Davidson-Church groceyr, where Mom had a charge account. Big Chief tablet, 5c, charge it. School clothes at Penneys. Dime stores were Schultz Bros and McClellans.

Classic Theater, 7 nights plus Sunday matinee, picture changed twice a week, adm. 14c.

In Hawaii we used to have both Woolworths and Kress stores. Woolworths was a little more uppity class and Kress was the five & dime. Like Walmart is to Kmart. One my aunt’s worked at Kress and sometimes my Mom and I would take to bus to downtown and have lunch with her. I remember my aunt would always have the cottage cheese on canned peach half, sometimes with a hamburger patty on the side.

Shopping at Kress was an everyday thing, but ohhhh…shopping at Woolworths was a special occasion! The only time I’d go to Woolworths was to have their pizza.

Since this was the 60’s/70’s, we had a couple of hippie oriented stores, San Francisco Rag Shop (not Co. which still is around in Arizona) and India Imports. I never shopped at San Francisco Rag Shop, but my sisters. And my brother would take me to India Imports. Despite it’s name, it wasn’t just India oriented goods, it was everything hippie culture oriented and always smelled of incense. Even back then, I suspected that the incense was for covering the smell of weeds smoke as much as for the sweet odor.

My favorite restaurants were Cha Cha Tei, a Japanese restaurant, which I have no idea where it was, but my parents would take me to eat there frequently. The only thing I would eat there was oyako* donburi, a simple dish with a bowl of rice (the donburi), with bits of chicken cooked in a soy sauce, sugar mix and and raw scrambled eggs on top. It always comes with a lid so the eggs slightly cook from the steaming rice and chicken.

*Oyako literally means mother and child, chicken and egg. Paul Simon has confirmed his Mother and Child Reunion was inspired by the mother and child dish, but he claims it was from a Chinese restaurant, not Japanese.

My other favorite restaurant was Boulevard Saimin, now Dillingham Saimin. Not because I ate there often, but because after going to supermarket, my parents would drive up to the back door and I’d enter the kitchen and take an ice cake in a small Dixie cup directly from the freezer and pay the old woman who was always there 5 cents. The ice cake wasn’t on the menu, though I sometimes saw kids in the restaurant eating them.

There were Acme and Pathmark(?) grocery stores in Philadelphia in the late 80s.

Philadelphia natives all seemed to say Ack-a-Me. I eventually switched from saying “pop” to “soda”, but never picked up the Ack-a-Me thing.

Ack-me here.

They’re owned by a bigger chain, Albertsons. Maybe you have Albertsons in Philly, we don’t in my part of NJ.

I forgot to mention Bohack’s, our go-to grocery store, and A&P as a kid.

Up here, there also was Albany Public Market, Grand Union, P&C, Great American (still a few stores hanging on, but none near here),

Lifelong New Hampshire resident here.

I remember going to Ames Department Stores, Globe, Rich’s and Zayre’s. There is a tribute site with defunct chains here:

Also have shopped at: Radio Shack, Sears, K-Mart, Circuit City, B. Dalton Booksellers, and Waldenbooks among others.

That’s not to mention all the video rental places that have left us. Interestingly enough I have never visited a Blockbuster; most of the places were locally owned.

Also forgot to mention;

Laverdiere’s Drug Store’s

Osco Drug Store

As well the local Jackson’s Star Market grocery chain.

We had a chain of drug stores called Payless, which I think were eaten up by riteaid. For a while, I did inventory counting, where we read the wholesale price letter code off the price tags.

There was also a fast food chain called Herfy’s, of which one or two of them still existed around here until about five years ago. I think there may also be a Skippers or two left – not a great loss.

Last week I threw away an ancient Payless plastic bag from the basement. And I remember temping in their HR dept for 6 weeks around 1986-ish.

In the 40s there were very few chains at all. A&W was the only fast food franchise I’d ever heard of. I knew about A&P and IGA grocers be my town didn’t have one. I never saw a shopping cart until I was college age. We had a Rexalll and a Walgreen drug store, but tthe were callled by the owber’s name. There was a Penney and Montgomery Ward store. There were a couple of big dime-store chains like Woolworth and Kresge, but most had local names. Hardware was sold at Bob’s, auto parts at Bills, shoes at Ben’s, feed and seeds at Bert’s — no chains. It was a different commercial universe, that completely changed in a decade.

The original Ames, I was surprised to learn, was in Southbridge, MA. The flagship store closed while I was working there. Dick Whitney (Southbridge resident and American Optical historian) has a webpage up about it

I was kind of partial towards the Virgin Megastore in Union Square when I first moved to New York in 2001.

Newbury Comics in Boston was pretty good too.

Sure, it’s super-convenient to download stuff of Amazon, Spotify, Steam, etc, etc. But I miss the experience of being able to walk into a store and just browsing through the stuff they have and seeing other people browsing stuff.