Skokie Turn/Style

Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, Ill, 1964

Someone on the Remembering_Retail list brought this great photo to our attention recently. I love vintage shots of strip roadways, and my dining room wall is even adorned with a large photo of Route 66 in Albequerque, New Mexico in 1969, purchased from IKEA (of all places!)

What’s worth noting here is the large Turn/Style (or is just Turnstyle?) store in the upper right hand corner of this photo. Turn/Style is a long-forgotten chain of discount department stores from the Chicagoland area. They never had many locations, and the most notorious one was the large (something like 100,000 square feet) outlet at the Dixie Square Mall in Harvey, which Prangeway blogged about a few days ago. Someone on Remembering_Retail hinted that their downfall may have been their locations–many of which were in areas that began to go into decline during the 1960s and 1970s–though we don’t know how true this is. Turn/Style was eventually sold to Venture, then the discount department store division of the May Co., before Venture themselves went through other owners and tanked completely in 1998.

Venture Stores Logo

When I arrived for my brief tenure in the midwest in late 1998, Venture had only just recently departed and I was really fascinated by their large, angular, zebra-striped storefronts and their modern (if basic) Impact logo. It’s too bad I never got to see one from the inside!

EDIT 6/1/2006: Prangeway had this to add: “This appears to be looking north along Skokie Blvd (US 41). The intersecting diagonal street in the foreground is Gross Point Rd. The next intersection with Turn Style is Emerson St.”

Author: Caldor

Jason Damas is a search engine marketing analyst and consultant, and a freelance journalist. Jason graduated magna cum laude from Northeastern University in 2003 with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism and a minor in Music Industry. He has regularly contributed to The Boston Globe,, Amplifier Magazine, All Music Guide, and 168 Magazine. In addition, he was a manager for a record store for over two years. Currently, he focuses on helping companies optimize their web sites to maximize search engine visibility, and is responsible for website conversion analysis, which aims to improve conversion rates by making e-commerce websites more user-friendly. He lives in suburban Boston.

21 thoughts on “Skokie Turn/Style”

  1. That definately is Gross Point Road and Skokie Blvd. all right!! I know this since I was born in Chicago, and made trips out there somewhat often myself. As for the Turn/Style store, its currently the site of a Jewel, an Old Navy, and there are a few other shops in that strip center(forget the other retailers that are in that exact same center ATM(at the moment)). I’m guessing from the current look of that Jewel that it was probably renovated in the late ’90s/early 2000s into its current look. Not sure if there’s still a gas station on the site of the Sunoco ATM(forget if it is a gas station currently or not), but I know that interestingly enough, the Shell station is still on that same corner that it was in this pic today!! (obviously w/updated signage, and etc.)

  2. What a great photo. Brings back many memories. On the left there was a strip mall with Polk Brothers. It was an appliance store where my family bought everything –TVs, vacuums, fondue pots, etc. I could spend hours in there. We would check out the newest color TVs after eating dinner at Mr Ricky’s next door in the corner space. They had the first great salad bar. We’re talking really early 70’s. Down the street on the same side you can see the Old Orchard Theater. There was only one theater at the time. Saw the “Bad News Bears” there. What is interesting in this photo is that it was taken before the original Jewel was built. They shared the space in the early 70s. When they build the Jewel, the Turnstyle facade changed and it was given updated 70s signage. Venture could never measure up to Turnstyle!

  3. The Dixie Square Mall ad on the website (now down) read it as “Turn Style Family Center”.

  4. I think the locations had a lot to do with their original owners. Jewel was their original owners. They were trying to capitalize on the “hypermarche” concept that was big in Europe at the time. (Grocery, drug,and discount store under one roof). Penney’s tried it about the same time with their Treasury stores. They had less success than Turnstyle. They weren’t merchandised as sharply as the other discounters and presentation still had a lot to do with sales in those days.

  5. I know this Turnstyle and intersection well. Sharp Corners Elementary school was across the road to the right of the Sunoco. There was a Howard Johnson’s Motel between the BF Goodrich and the Turnstyle.
    Behind the Turnstyle was a Kiddie Land Amusement park which was torn down in the 60’s and a Hilton Hotel was built on the site in 1973.
    Turnstyle actually had quite a few stores in the Chicago area. Skokie, Deerfield, Westmont, Dixie Square Mall, Grand and Kostner, 87th and State, Arlington Heights, Mundelien, Racine Wisconsin. There were also some in the far southern suburbs and a number scattered about in other parts of the country like Omaha Nebraska.
    I think that there decline was based more on trying to operate in a very competitive market and not advertising enough than on location. Most of the areas they had stores in are very prosperous now.
    Also I thought that the Jewel always shared the space with Turnstyle. I know it was there from the mid-60’s onward because we moved to Skokie in 1964 and the Jewel was definitely there at that time. Use to go shopping there with my mother.

  6. I grew up in this neighborhood, during the 70s. At that time, Turnstyle shared a roof with Jewel/Osco. When Venture took over the store was renovated and Jewel became a modern grocery store with it’s own separate space. Turnstyle’s orange-letters and logo were bold and fun (the sign I remember is not the sign in the photo), and the store was lively. They even had a few arcade games, like some of the other local (national?) department stores of the era. (TOPS, Korvettes, Memco, KMart, Community, etc.).

  7. Also, on the left is Homer Brothers furniture!
    Mr Ricky’s is not Edwardos Natural Pizza, or something like that.
    The Sunoco used to be a Sinclar gas station – I still have an old dinosaur from a fill-up there.

  8. @D Caro, I worked at Mr Ricky’s for almost 5 yrs. It was owned by Maury Melman and Lou Greenberg. That was the most fun restaurant I ever worked in. We would get off work on fri and sat nite and go down to Rush St and party like rock stars ! Maurey’s son Richie Melman ( who the restaurant was named after ) went on to start the Lettuce Entertainment chain and is still going strong today.

  9. I worked at this store for a year or so as the Recreation Section Manager after stints at several other Turn*Style stores in the Chicago area. Too bad this chain failed, but it seemed like upper management couldn’t decide what kind of store they wanted to be. I left Chicago in 1984 after the chain was sold to Venture. The photo brings back many memories.

  10. Turnstyle was a subsidiary of Jewel. Hence the reason why so many of them were next to or connected to a Jewwl Food Store.

  11. @Don,

    Are you Don Marino?
    I worked for you 1969-71.

  12. @Jeff Oberlander,
    Nope, Jeff. I also worked with Don Marino at the Arlington Heights store (706) prior to getting my own section at 722 Westmont, then 710 Glendale Heights, then Skokie (703). I don’t know whatever happened to Don Marino. He sort of disappeared. I disappeared after they shafted me over Bob Dose, who was a brother-in-law of one of the vice presidents. That’s retail for you.

  13. @Carl Drake,
    I worked as a cashier in the Deerfiled Turnmstyle Store in 1977-8, until they closed the store. This was my first job. I’m wondering if anyone remembers which union represented the employees – I don’t have it in my records anymore.
    Also, the Jewel and Osco were on the other end of the mall, as I recall. I think they tried to be too many things, and the health & beauty section definitely overlapped with Osco.

  14. I am trying to research all of the original Turn*Style locations that turned Venture in the ’80s I believe. The research I’ve done shows that Venture took over 19 of the 23 Chicagoland locations. If anyone has ANY information, can you please reply to my post? I’m a huge Venture junky. I worked for them in the early ’90s in Indianapolis right up until they closed and I loved that job so much! I have yet to find the happiness at any other place of employment that I had while working at Venture. Anyway, any information you can help me find, I sincerely appreciate it! (I did take note of the locations listed above but don’t know if all of them became Venture stores.)

  15. @Don Triptow,
    You seem to remember quite a bit about your days at Turn*Style. I’m trying to do research on Venture from inception with May Co. to demise in ’98. One part that I’m missing is the Venture buyout of Turn*Style locations. Can you tell me more about all of the Chicagoland store locations? Where were they? Do you know if any/all of them turned into Venture? If so, which other locations? I know Arlington Heights, Glendale Heights & Skokie became Venture Stores.

  16. @Bill,

    Turn*Style had a bunch of stores, including:

    701 — Racine, Wisconsin
    702 — Harlem at Foster, Chicago
    703 — Skokie Blvd., Skokie
    704 — Moline, Illinois
    705 — Davenport, Iowa
    706 — Arlington Heihjts, Illinois
    707 — Deerfield, Illinois
    708 — Ford City, Chicago, Illinois
    709 — Harvey, Illinois
    710 — TGlendale Heights, Illinois
    711 — Merrilville, Indiana
    722 — Westmont, Illinois

    THEN . . . The management wizards opened four (I believe) stores in Indianapolis, Indiana and three more in Omaha, Nebraska. I never understood their logic in trying to scatter themselves around so much.

    They sent me some people to train before they opened the Indy stores. Most of them had no experience in retailing and one Section Manager had no experience in anything, but had a college degree in psychology or something. These people became the managers in the Indy stores and they had big, big problems when they opened.

    As far as I know, all of the stores became Venture outlets, but it seems Venture had no more sense than Turn-Style did because they made store managers out of some Turn-Style people who were probably not qualified for the job.

    I remember lots of horror stories about my years with Turn-Style with such people as Chuck Gundlach, Sumner Rosenblatt, Dick Murphy, Ron Roete, etc., etc.

  17. I worked at Venture back in the early 90’s or late 80’s, I don’t really remember. It was a lot like Wal Mart, back in the day- or like Target. I think the store was in Oakbrook- if I remember.. it’s been a long time ago!

  18. I helped open a venture store on Peterson between ridge and western around 1998. a target now sits on that spot.

  19. @Don Triptow, I am late getting to this but I worked at the westmont turnstyle from 1971 to closing in 1978, sometimes in management, automotive-housewares-hardware, remember John Hughes was store manager. Did not go to Venture stores when we closed, it was probably the best thing ever to happen to me, it was time to move on in a different direction.

  20. @Bill, I worked at the Westmont store and it did not become a Venture, probably had the area flooded with Ventures already, just guessing.

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