What Department Stores Do You Miss?

I am reading a book at the rapid failure of WT Grant. What a mess that was.

Anyway it got me to thinking what defunct department store do you miss the most.

Here’s a list of defunct department stores if you need a quick reminder.

I would say I miss Zayer the most, followed by WT Grant.

BTW I would count things like Marhall Fields, which didn’t really become defunct, as in go out of business, so much as change names.

I miss the full service department stores - the ones with books, toys, games, everything. When I was in Berlin I went to one still like that, and it brought me back to the days of my youth, where going to Macy’s in Herald Square was a real treat.

I liked Korvette’s when I was in high school, since there was one in biking distance from home and prices were low enough to buy stuff there. In NJ there was a place called Hahne’s in our mall, which had good quality stuff. I’m sure my wife, who is from near Philadelphia, would answer Wanamker’s and Strawbridge and Clothiers. I’ve been to their big stores in Center City, but I don’t have childhood memories of them. Wanamakers had a very nice restaurant also.

For I have a nostalgic fondess for Woolworths. When I was growing up in San Diego they were the go-to place for candies of all types. They also had that great store on Market Street in San Francisco.

I had forgotten about them. I loved them too, they had a great record (45s & lps) department.

Harris’. Founded in my old hometown. Great Christmas displays, and the restaurant on the third floor was all style and elegance when I was growing up. Been gone 10 years now.

Nitpick: I think it’s Zayre.

I miss;

E.J. korvette – they had the neatest toy department when I was a kid – they had a LONG (plexiglas) window in the store where they had unpacked samples of the toys and set them up, so you could see what they looked like.

they also had a pretty good book section.
Two Guys (from Harrison). Long before K-mart, they sold everything, including having a built-in supermarket and liquor store. But they had clothing, sporting goods, photography, appliances, records, books, and a huge toy section (important to me as a kid)

Bamberger’s– big general department store. The existing ones are now Macy’s, but they’ve changed.
J.J. Newberry’s – our local department store

And I miss the big “local” department stores. I think every city had them:

Jordan Marsh (and Filene’s in Boston

Sibley, Lindsay, and Curr (AKA Sibley’s) in Rochester

ZCMI (Zion Cooperative Mercantile Institution) in Salt Lake City

(And Marshall Fields in Chicago. I never went there, but they gave me a scholarship)

J. B. White.

You are correct. I never knew that. I’ve been mispelling it all these years

Thanks for the catch. See you DO learn things on the Internet. Logo of ZayRE

Jenss in Buffalo. A charming full service department store with great housewares. Gone. Sigh.

The B&I in Tacoma. Home of Ivan the gorilla and chickens that played baseball and tic-tac-toe. Where I had my first corndog. I remember thinking, what on earth is a corndog?

Grace Bros. I went to school with one of the Grace boys.

I’m sorry, but this is incorrect. Marshall Field’s is gone, Macy’s on State Street is teh bleh.

Just out of curiosity do you recall the name of it?

I used to go to a catalog showroom named Service Merchandise when I was a kid, but it’s long gone. We also shopped at Caldor regularly, but I never liked it, so I can’t say that I miss it. And a large part of my childhood wardrobe came from Alexander’s Department Store. Again, I don’t miss it, but I remember it.

The Emporium on Market Street in San Francisco, was maybe a half-step below Macy’s in quality in some product areas, or the same in other product areas, but they would often have different merchandise that wasn’t available in other stores. And they had a back door right across the corner (on Mission) from where I worked.

City of Paris was also in San Francisco, but before my time so I can’t say much about it, except that Herb Caen thought it was legendarily good.

I also miss the Woolworth at the cable car turnaround on Market Street; they had a huge amount of oddball variety, as well as a lunch counter with good food. It’s now a Gap store for tourists.

Not a department store, but I miss the Merrill’s pharmacies on Market (one near 4th, one near 7th). A lot like the larger Walgreen’s or Long’s (also now gone). Now Walgreen’s is just about the only place downtown with that sort of variety. All the Rite Aids are gone from San Francisco too.

In Oregon, Meier and Frank was a fine local brand, another one (like Marshall Field) bought out by Macy’s and reduced to that low common denominator. Then there was Lipman’s, a little higher-end, and that closed a lot earlier.

Can I mention supermarkets? Now it seems all we have in San Francisco is Safeway or Lucky. Some choice!

There is just so much homogenized lack of variety no matter where you go. Shopping in person just ain’t no fun no more.


I think you misspelled Tapp’s. :slight_smile:

I miss Jordan Marsh- a real Boston institution (since 1850). It had a bakery, that made the best muffins (date/nut was my favorite). They also had great tailor shops, and alterations were done for free.
Alas, they were absorbed by the monster known as Macy’s.

I have a ton of fond memories from Service Merchandise.

I miss Lechmere. I remember getting a Big Wheel or two there. Also got two bicycles and numerous other items.

LOL. We couldn’t afford Tapp’s. :smiley: