Retail Relic: Ann & Hope Department Stores

We haven’t done one of these in a very, very long time. I recently stumbled upon a cache of old photos that I took in the summer of 2006–in the nascent days of this blog–on a trip back to my home state of Rhode Island to capture some of the retail oddities of my home […]

Scottsdale Mall (Erskine Village); South Bend, Indiana

Located in north central Indiana about 90 miles east of Chicago, South Bend, Indiana is home to the legendary Notre Dame University and for almost a hundred years was also the home of the Studebaker auto empire.  In addition, South Bend is the anchor of the entire Michiana region, a 7-county area of north central Indiana and southwest Michigan containing […]

K’s Merchandise Closing All Stores

Founded in 1954 in Decatur, Illinois, K’s Merchandise Mart is (or was, depending on when you read this) a hard-lines merchandise wholesaler not unlike the now-defunct Service Merchandise chain.  Like Service Merchandise, it has fallen on hard times as competition from stores which offer overlapping merchandise at competitive prices, more convenient locations, or both have flooded […]

Retail Relic: Benny’s Home & Auto Stores

While the name will be unfamiliar to anyone from outside Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts, or Eastern Connecticut, Benny’s Home & Auto Stores–who continue to operate today–are a true living retail relic. Just look at this vintage-looking store! Nearly all of the Benny’s stores, even the ones of more recent vintage, seem to look like this. […]

Retail Relic: Ames Department Stores

  To those of us who grew up in the Northeast, Ames was Wal-Mart before there was such a thing. Ames was many things, but they weren’t glamorous: their stores were big emporiums with long rows of flourescent lights that sold plastic jelly shoes, cheap plastic bins for storing random stuff, and fiberboard furniture. But […]

Retail Relic: Old School Kmarts

Some stores are slow when it comes to standardization of their logos or decor, but perhaps none have been more notorious for this than Kmart. Even after their moderately successful rebranding campaign that began in the early 1990s, many of the chain’s stores held onto the older vintage logo scheme, and many (most?) never got […]