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Author Topic: Your Core Interest  (Read 3404 times)
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C3Nostalgia
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« on: January 15, 2010, 03:51:13 AM »

Most of us have a core interest in the closed retail world.  Be it a single location, a single chain, a restaurant, a mall, whatever.  

For me,  it would be Century III Mall located in West Mifflin, Pa.  I am a founding member of C3Nostalgia, The unofficial Century III Historical Society.  Through my research, I have acquired many photos, newspaper clippings, and general information regarding the 30 year old structure.  I remember how the mall was in the past, and am disappointed at what it has become in the past five years or so.  I knew much about it before I even founded C3Nostalgia, but I am finding out new things just about every day!  Just because it is my core interest, that is not to say that I don't have other interests in the closed retail world.  I find much of the entire spectrum of the closed chains very interesting!

Enough about my core, what is yours, and why is it so?
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gu4ever
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2010, 03:18:13 PM »

This is a great new topic C3Nostalgia!!
So as most of you know my screen name is gu4ever, this was created when I joined this group just randomly looking up photo's online of Grand Union, Zayre, Ames and Bradlees. When I finally made it through all 9 or 10 pages of the Grand Union topic I decided I really wanted to see all these stores for myself and photograph my own memories. So that's what I did with my vacation and 3 days off during the midweek times last year. As I traveled and learned more about the Grand Union I definitely became more involved in searching out nostalgia of the era of the red-dot, department graphics, lighting, flooring, shopping carts and checkout canopy's. The best part of visiting a former Grand Union conversion store is searching out old reused graphics, checkout canopies, department fixtures like produce or deli and the general layout of the store.
I think my desire to explore dead retail comes from my childhood, when I would frequently go shopping with my Mom back in the days when the dead retail was alive and flourishing. When I was old enough to drive I was able to visit a lot of locations and wander about on my own. Then slowly the retail landscape began to change, but it also seems like it happened all at once too. Sadly all that remain are my memories of these locations, I didn't think to photograph the buildings or signs back then when they were open or after they closed. And then they were gone, converted or subdivided, torn down and rebuilt to what we see in today's retail landscape.
So now my camera goes with me, like my car keys and wallet, some days I snap 40 pictures other days maybe 1 or none at all..... I often shop on my own now, most of my close friends know I have this strange need to photograph what they consider to be "weird things" of retail nostalgia like floor tile,shopping carts checkout counters and so on.........
In Manchester you can find Zayre checkout counters at building19 on Hanover ST.
In Londonderry you can find vintage Zayre orange and tan tile floors at the Homegoods..
In Exeter you can see a whole fleet of green Ames carts being reused at a pet store.
In Bedford you can see a glimpse of the former Jordan Marsh dining room on the second floor of Macy's.

So now you know a little bit more about what makes gu4ever take and share the pictures that I do and share the limited info that I have. Hope you enjoy my look back on retail history......
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There is a lot in store for you where clean, fresh and good make a GRAND UNION.
Marc82
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2010, 04:23:39 PM »

I've always been interested in retail past and present. And after I quit Shaw's in 2006 I found this site and DeadMalls.Com
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kendra
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« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2010, 10:04:10 PM »

There are perhaps two points that I specifically recall in my childhood that may have sown the seeds for the hobby that I have today. One was seeing a two-part episode of the Canadian children's program "Today's Special" (called "Our Story Part I/Part II") in which the department store that the show was set in (the flagship Simpsons store in Toronto which is now Hudson's Bay Company) was going to be demolished unless a plaque could be found proving its historical value. I was probably five or six at the oldest when I saw this, and I remember the point where the plaque was revealed (hidden behind a wall from later construction, as the plot went) quite distinctly; I think that impacted me in the sense that I knew a building could tell a story, particularly of the people that used and occupied it, and not just superficially.

Fast-forward to not long after, sometime in the late 1980s when the Freese's department store (a local store based in my hometown of Bangor, ME) closed at the Airport Mall on Union Street. I remember vividly looking into their mall-entrance doors (now the interior entrance to Fashion Bug) and seeing fixtures, registers, etc. covered with sheets, silent and lifeless. It was as if all human activity had stopped, but the place itself lived on, and whatever stories and memories were in it.

These were certainly heavy thoughts for a little kid, and I didn't have much of an idea of what to do with them for many years. Now I am in my late 20s and studying anthropology at university...probably one of the most applicable fields one could go into having these sorts of interests. I don't study the business end of things, per se...malls and dead retail in general is of massive cultural interest to me, but what goes on in boardrooms really isn't my cup of tea. I'm much more interested in the societal impact of places of retail, both in terms of their employees and their patrons, whose stories are, inarguably, intertwined.

There's the general, more or less, but the specifics include primarily local/New England-based companies and places of retail, including but not limited to the Airport and Bangor Malls and all the businesses that have occupied those spaces as well as general retailers who have had a presence in the area historically speaking such as Zayre and Woolco. I also am enthusiastic about unusual dead retail situations such as the legendary Dixie Square Mall. I think it would be fair to say that the majority of my retail interests are pre-1990 in origin.
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Amescaptain77
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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2010, 07:10:27 PM »

I am interested in media play, an unknown pharmacy that sold surge, and a couple others, including circuit city. I actually got some photos of the circuit city in Poughkeepsie, as I live 10 minutes away. I think the pharmacy was a pharmor.
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Lastdaysofrain
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« Reply #5 on: March 09, 2010, 08:05:28 AM »

On my mecca-like journey to the Monroeville Mall in 06 I stopped at the Century III.  It's an interesting mall.  I'd love to check out some of the historical photos/information you have.

My main interest is Boston area malls and chains, specifically from the 80s.  Caldor, Ames, Lechmere, Zayre, Purity Supreme and the smaller malls. 
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C3Nostalgia
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« Reply #6 on: March 09, 2010, 09:55:40 AM »

On my mecca-like journey to the Monroeville Mall in 06 I stopped at the Century III.  It's an interesting mall.  I'd love to check out some of the historical photos/information you have.

My main interest is Boston area malls and chains, specifically from the 80s.  Caldor, Ames, Lechmere, Zayre, Purity Supreme and the smaller malls.  

The photos I have of the mall itself are available are on the C3Nostalgia Flickr group.  Many of the photos are set to "private" so you have to join the group to see them.  I may also have a few photos on my personal Flickr page.      
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XDeSuEhTX
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« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2010, 02:23:19 PM »

My interest stems from the changing faces of retail in my own small local area, that in a way, allow me to relate to many of the stories I've read here. A few of them being:

Hills, of the Bypass Plaza in Beckley, WV. The plaza was built in the mid-1960s as one of the first shopping centers outside of the historic downtown, the Hills store being the area's first suburban department store of it's kind. Back then, virtually nothing else existed where most of the retail is today. It was the department store my mother grew up knowing, and it was a store I frequently went to as a child, in the early 90s.  They had a huge toy department, and there was always so much to do and to look at. As a kid, the store felt huge, and it was always a fun experience for me. The Plaza itself consisted of Hills, and an attached strip-mall of stores, including a large Family Toy Warehouse, another memorable toy store of my childhood that is now gone as well.

Also, across the road from the Bypass Plaza, the now dead Raleigh Mall, built in the early 70s with a lot of history that I had missed. Yet, it was still another place from my childhood that I vividly remember booming and full of life. It now sits eerily empty, decaying and waiting for it's final day.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2010, 02:49:41 PM by XDeSuEhTX » Logged

"Ancient malls, overgrown like Roman ruins without the class, our generation will be remembered for our greatest works, our trinkets at Spencer Gifts"
Pikapower
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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2016, 05:18:27 PM »

My interests in defunct retail are Fay's Drugs, Discovery Zone, Jeepers!, Brothers (by Justice), Limited Too, and more that i'm not going to list.
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Patrick Boots CEC
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2016, 04:58:13 AM »

My main focus is Ames, Bradlees, and Caldor.

I also like Chuck E. Cheese's, Showbiz Pizza, arcade games, Animatronics, Retro audio, and making websites.

I'm also into video stores, especially Blockbuster.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2016, 01:56:11 PM by Patrick Boots CEC » Logged
Pikapower
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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2016, 05:08:15 AM »

My interests in defunct retail are Fay's Drugs, Discovery Zone, Jeepers!, Brothers (by Justice), Limited Too, and more that i'm not going to list.

I got more: roller coasters and amusement parks (more specifically Six Flags and Darien Lake)
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busman_49
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« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2016, 07:15:38 AM »

I think the single project I wasted spent most of my time on would be tracing the former Signature Inn hotel chain.  Thanks to the wonders of the internet and archive.org, I was able to find most of what I needed.  I remember staying in one of their hotels back in the early 90s and thought it was a very nice hotel.  I had largely forgotten about them until about a two years ago when I started working a 15 minute drive away from one of their old locations.  Then back in December 2014 I found an old billboard that had become uncovered advertising another location.  At that point I decided to try to find out as much as I could about them.  So far I've gotten photos of about half of their locations; I'm not sure if I'll ever make it to all of them.
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TheFugitive
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« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2016, 12:11:14 PM »

Chains I had worked for, which have since gone out of business.

David Weis Jewelers and Distributors
Ames
Hills
Service Merchandise

Parkway Center Mall, Pittsburgh (now closed, where I had my first retail job)
Century III Mall (used to live almost next-door when it was hopping, now it is D-E-A-D!)
Southwyk Mall, Toledo (where I used to hang out when I lived there in the 80's.  A beautiful
and very impressive mall then, nothing remains but a hole in the ground today).

Anything going on in retail in the Flint, Michigan area where I used to live.
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Pikapower
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« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2016, 09:15:18 AM »

My interests in defunct retail are Fay's Drugs, Discovery Zone, Jeepers!, Brothers (by Justice), Limited Too, and more that i'm not going to list.

I got more: roller coasters and amusement parks (more specifically Six Flags and Darien Lake)

Going on about it, Kmart and Blockbuster Video can be added to my list!
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