Friday, October 2, 2009

a trip to Kresges

S.S. Kresges was a five and dime store, which no longer exist, as shopping has changed. Kresges were the beginning of giving local businesses a hard time, just like the box chain stores today. But what did I care or know of capitalist competition when I was in grade school? All I knew was the thrill of going downtown to "just look" at Kresges, Woolworths or Zellers.

To get a sense of the what a five and dime store was like, here is an anecdote of a memory from iamkaym, who writes up a history of five and dimes like Kresges, Woolworths and the predecessor of chain stores, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Company, or A&P (which has recently changed its name to Metro...I guess it is leaving behind its colonial sounding name for something more urban):

"I personally always felt that dime stores were made with children in mind. The one I knew had a comic book rack just inside the door and nobody seemed to mind when kids spent an hour "just looking". At right angles to this was the candy section with solid squares of fudge in glass cases, ready to be weighed and sold by the pound, jawbreakers, jellybeans, licorice whips and other goodies.

There was a department in the back with goldfish, canaries, and white mice, together with assorted collars for the dog I hoped to have one day. Another area carried marbles, 20 to a mesh bag, with the larger "shooters" sold individually. There were pocket knives and cheap jewelry, racks of picture postcards, lurid masks just before Halloween, valentines in February, and a fairyland at Christmas."


Merche Pallarés said...

What memories! I worked one Christmas in Woolworths! But, don't tell me Kresge's no longer exists!! It was a landmark... Hugs, M.

northshorewoman said...

Did you work in downtown Toronto in Woolworths?

Kresge's is long gone. The stores became renamed and re-packaged as anchors of suburban malls: KMart.

The Kresge building downtown Port Arthur is now a furniture store.