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Everything is cheaper than it looks
March 18, 2011 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Pleasant Family Shopping is an extensive blog dedicated to shopping malls and supermarkets of the past. The entries devoted to the 60's are especially interesting. The Woolco entry has lots of period photograghs of customers from around 1970.

The General Cinemas entry was featured on this previous post.
posted by pyramid termite (27 comments total) 32 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is a pleasant and insightful counterpoint to the 1990 mall shots from earlier today. Let us hope someone has a site with a bunch of circa-1950 retail photos to make it a hat trick.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:51 AM on March 18, 2011


I love these sorts of vintage mall photos. I also miss Woolco a lot. Great memories of shopping at the Londonderry Mall location in Edmonton - anything could be had at Woolco and the conveyor belt escalator (as opposed to one with stairs) was always pretty neat because you could take a shopping cart on them. Thanks for the find!
posted by Calzephyr at 10:56 AM on March 18, 2011


I am paging through this and finding it's lump-in-the-throat material for me. Even in the 70s, many of these stores remained unchanged. The McCrory reminds me of last-minute Christmas shopping with my parents and grandmother. The Woolworth's store, as well, was where I would take my hard-saved $20 and buy Christmas gifts for my family - bath beads, dresser top tins, hand mirrors, cologne sets, boxes of printed stationery...

Currently, I go to a grocery store that is a 1960s time capsule. All its many locations are. They haven't changed the colors, flooring, graphics, registers, etc. The color scheme is salmon orange and ivory. I love the store - its resistance to updating is one reason the goods are very cheap - and it's a pleasant throwback to an earlier design era, but still in use.
posted by Miko at 10:58 AM on March 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, America: I know she's pretty, but STAY FAR AWAY. Resist her charms. You'll thank me in 40 years.
posted by Miko at 11:03 AM on March 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


These checkout lanes are just begging for a quirky synchronized cashier dance set to a David Byrne's tune a'la True Stories.
posted by Babblesort at 11:16 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Pfft. No mention of Ayr*Way anywhere.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:17 AM on March 18, 2011


Great stuff. I'm so happy to have read the post about Katz City, because it taught me the name for that exquisitely weird roof style which has always struck me as the characteristic late-modernist form: "folded plate."
posted by RogerB at 11:20 AM on March 18, 2011


Yes, welcome to Miami Beach, ladies and gentlemen! Speaking of which, as late as the mid 80s there was a Publix in the Fort Lauderdale/Pompano area, kind of near the ocean (on Sunrise maybe, or Oakland Park?) that we used to call the Las Vegas Publix. There was so much neon and space age design happening at night that you couldn't help but shop there just on principle. The parking lot was like day. Anybody know if that's still there?

Also disappointed in the lack of ayr-way.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:27 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tape World? I wonder why they went out of business...
posted by JARED!!! at 11:33 AM on March 18, 2011


A friend and I drove cross-country and amused ourselves en route by antique shopping. We stopped in Pittsburgh to visit my mother. I brought all of our collectibles into her kitchen to show her, while she fixed us lunch. My friend pickup up an A&P metal spice can, and get's all enthusiastic about how it sends him back in time, and of all the items he liked that one best. I said he could have it, but first I'd have to clear it with my mom, because it belonged to her. In fact she had taken it from her spice rack to make our lunch. It was maybe 40 years old, but she doesn't use that much cayenne. She gave it to him, because now she was embarrassed that someone else would notice it.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:38 AM on March 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Woolco and the conveyor belt escalator

OMG, I loved that conveyor-belt "escalator"! Every time we went shopping there, I'd secretly hope we'd go in that store so I could ride the belt. I distinctly recall being crushed on more than one occasion when we'd gone into that store, but then didn't need to travel between floors, leaving me cruelly disappointed at having been so close to the belt & not gotten to ride it.

Why it never occurred to me to just ask if I could ride up & down it I'll never know.
posted by aramaic at 11:43 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Let's go to the A&P!
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:46 AM on March 18, 2011


Let's go to the A&P!

I grew up in a world were A&P meant ice cream and peanuts, and Five&Dime (aka Woolworth's) meant toys, or later 45 RPM records. Aside form the occasional trip to the tube-testing machine at the hardware store when the radio or record-player went out, that was all we ever needed.
posted by StickyCarpet at 11:51 AM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Currently, I go to a grocery store that is a 1960s time capsule.

Growing up in Cambridge during the '70 we had the family favorite Stop & Shop on Mass. Ave. in Arlington or the more economical DeMoula's in Union Sq. The S&S has long ince declined, unable to weather progress even with it's Super Stop & Shop makeover, but the DeMoula's is exactly as I remember it as a kid.

Nobody went to the A&P in Fresh Pond. It smelled like dog in there.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:58 AM on March 18, 2011


Fun stuff. Could use a little more of Toronto's Honest Ed's though.

The east exterior wall of Honest Ed's has been covered since at least the '70s in these little billboard things explaining Ed Mirvish's retail philosophy. My favourite has always been: "Honest Ed's a nut! But look at the 'cashew' save!"
posted by gompa at 12:03 PM on March 18, 2011


The Food Fair in Floral Park was the biggest grocery store I ever saw until I came to Rochester in 1975 and saw Wegmans. The closest thing was Bohack's, everything else was storefront-sized.
posted by tommasz at 12:05 PM on March 18, 2011


Wow, our old Grand Union never looked like those in the pictures but ours was small potatoes. Cool photographs.

I still have nightmares about the dead fish in the tanks at Woolworth's though. D:
posted by Wuggie Norple at 12:06 PM on March 18, 2011


These photos come the closest to capturing something I've been looking for for quite awhile. Which reminds me, if you have a good source of stock photos of food from say the late 70's (preferably with a wooden cutting board) let me know. Don't ask why. I don't know.
posted by goHermGO at 12:28 PM on March 18, 2011


Why, then, you want some 1970s recipe cards, goHermGO.

That aesthetic is powerfully nostalgic for me, too.
posted by Miko at 1:03 PM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would love this site even more on Tumblr.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 3:22 PM on March 18, 2011


I don't know... The pictures on that site freak me the hell out...
posted by c13 at 5:51 PM on March 18, 2011


Speaking of which, as late as the mid 80s there was a Publix in the Fort Lauderdale/Pompano area, kind of near the ocean (on Sunrise maybe, or Oakland Park?) that we used to call the Las Vegas Publix. There was so much neon and space age design happening at night that you couldn't help but shop there just on principle. The parking lot was like day. Anybody know if that's still there?

Sadly, it is no longer there. (Assuming that it's the Coral Ridge one.)

Or rather, a Publix is still there, but its the bland, big box kind. The area still has the Kenann Building, so the space age design remains around.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 6:56 PM on March 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


This site has a great 7-Eleven history. It's fascinating to read about an ice company that started selling a few staples because it was the only thing open seven days a week.
posted by evilcolonel at 7:04 PM on March 18, 2011


I like how the "new looks for 7-11 in '67" are the same as the "looks" today - it seems to have settled into permanent corporate style.
posted by Miko at 8:11 PM on March 18, 2011


As far back as the 1970s, and possibly even earlier, my family has called little dings in car doors "Alpha Betas" because they were mostly likely picked up in a grocery store parking lot.
posted by deborah at 8:52 PM on March 18, 2011


There's a little grocery store here that just closed about a year ago. I wonder if the realtors will let me inside to take pictures. This store was built when farmers first came out here...100 years or so ago. In it's life, it had been a feed store, a general store, a grocery store...and probably some other things . When they paved the first Farm To Market roads out here, they followed the trails that led past the front door of this place. That store is why we put a state highway here in the 1960s; subsequently, all the little towns that sprung up around the state highway in the area probably have this little store to thank.

I had never even given that store a second thought until this post, other than to think it was too bad that it had a for sale sign on it. Now I want to go research it, and see if I can go take pictures and interview people about it. Maybe I can draw some attention to it and a restoration-minded buyer will discover it before someone bulldozes it to put a fast food joint there.
posted by dejah420 at 9:31 AM on March 19, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think this has been on here before, but I don't care. It's bar none my favorite blog.
posted by GilloD at 7:44 PM on March 19, 2011


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