Sunday, April 09, 2006

Eastbrook Plaza - W. T. Grant Co.


Columbus, Indiana - 1960's

Not a mall, but just an evocative vintage retail photo of a good old W. T. Grant dimestore (remember those?) glowing warmly as dusk falls on the Eastbrook Plaza shopping center.

Appears this little strip mall is still alive and kicking today, which is always great to hear if you ask me. Just for history's sake, if nothing else.

So here's a bonus pic for ya! An aerial shot of the place as it looks today--sans the W.T. Grant, of course, as the chain, sadly, is no more. I think Grant's went under about the mid-seventies ('75?), apparently, due to the fact that they were just too slow (chain-wide) in adapting to the swiflty changing retail trends and consumer needs, as suburbs began to blossom and boom across the U.S. throughout the '60's and '70s. Same thing happened to Korvette and Kresge stores. Kmart is still hangin on. Maybe one of them should have just thought to rename their chain, as, in hindsight, the "K's" seemed to be bad luck!

[top photo courtesy of: Historic Columbus Indiana]



32 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

K-mart is Kresge.
http://www.kmartcorp.com/corp/story/general/corporate_history.stm

Mon Apr 10, 01:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Matt said...

S.S. Kresge became K-mart Corp. in 1977 to reflect the main focus of the company at the time (their discount stores), as their 'five-and-dime' variety stores were starting to be phased out.

Of course, now K-mart has Sears, and have since changed their corporate name to Sears Holdings.

We may start seeing the end of K-mart too, if they go through with converting many stores to the Sears Grand banner. One in my region is already getting the change.

Now I'm not as big a 'strip mall' fan as I am of classic enclosed malls, but this is where shopping centers got their start, so they deserve mentioning.

The big neon signs for major 'anchor' stores like this Grant's (which my city never had...there was a Kresge in another strip mall I went to frequently) are one of those things I recall most, along with the streamlined, simplistic architecture of the exterior...keeping all the other storefronts looking alike.

Mon Apr 10, 02:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Steven Wilson said...

Speaking of Kresge and speaking of malls, there used to be Kresge stores in some malls. The only ones that I visited were in Randhurst (pronounced "rannerst") in Mt. Prospect, IL and at Woodfield in Schaumburg. At those Kresge stores they used to sell Dubble Bubble in stick form, packaged similarly to Wrigley's Juicy Fruit. I never saw it sold at any other place. That was excellent bubble gum!

Tue Apr 11, 12:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There used to be a Kresge at Tri-County Mall in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I grew up. I remember going to the mall on Friday nights with my parents to eat at a cafeteria inside the mall. We would all go to Kresge afterwards for candy or to 'look around', as my Mom always says!

Tue Apr 11, 02:50:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

anonymous said: "K-mart is Kresge"

Indeed. Now. But of course, there certainly was a time, before they closed all the Kresge stores, when both chains operated widely as seperate entities, simultaneously; there were Kresge's stores out there, as well as Kmart's. Our family often frequented both. Then they closed the Kresge's down and left the Kmart's.

Again I say, they should have thought of new names. The "K" stuff just wasn't working for anyone. :D

Matt said: "Now I'm not as big a 'strip mall' fan as I am of classic enclosed malls, but this is where shopping centers got their start, so they deserve mentioning."

That's what I was thinking, too, when I posted it. Plus, it was the store itself I was trying to put the focus on there, and since Grant's were in many shopping malls of the day, I felt that also made it relevant here.

Steven said: "Speaking of Kresge and speaking of malls, there used to be Kresge stores in some malls".

Oh in many. And I think if you dig through the archives here, you'll find quite a few instances of it visible. And I usually point it out cuz I always loved those cheesy old stores.

And I agree, the Dubble Bubble was dang good. Though, for me, nothing rocks like the Wrigley's Juicy Fruit you mentioned! Love that stuff! Still chew it a lot.

Thanks for the great stories and comments, guys!

Tue Apr 11, 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Steven Swain said...

I've always been fascinated with Grant's since it closed down about the time I was born and I never actually remember going to one of their stores. Thanks for posting that great old picture. I wish there were more out there.

Wed Apr 12, 01:13:00 AM  
Blogger Keith said...

There are, Steven. You'll see. :)

And you're very welcome. The pleasure is all mine.

Wed Apr 12, 02:21:00 AM  
Blogger JM said...

Ironic that this thread about Grant's would mutate to one about Kresge & K-mart. Towards the end of their corporate life W.T. Grant tried to transition to a K-mart type of format called "Grant City". But it was a case of too-little, too late and by the mid 70's the chain had collapsed. Some of the former Grant City locations became K-marts.

Mon Apr 17, 09:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the Grant's cafeteria, "The Bradford Room", "Bradford" being their brand name. My Mom had a HUGE console Bradford stereo set which she played her records on. I remember the coloring contests The Bradford Room sponsored during the holidays for children. They had a nice women's dress department, and I remember my Dad buying me a swing in the toy department. I'm always looking for info on Grants!

Fri Apr 21, 09:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For the most part and from my own personal experience...Kresge was primarily located in downtown shop
and stores. Reminds me of the Song...
called...Downtown. As the idea of shopping downtown died so did many of the locations that Kresge retained.

Thu Dec 07, 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger ROSALYN said...

I USED TO LOVE W. T. GRANT , MY PARENTS USED TO TAKE ME EVERY WEEKEND. WE LIVED IN ELIZABETH CITY N. C.MY VERY FIRST PORTRAIT WAS TAKEN AT GRANTS AT THE TENDER AGE OF FIVE. THIS STORE WILL ALWAYS AND FOREVER BE IN MY HEART!

Wed Dec 13, 08:59:00 PM  
Blogger B. Scott said...

I remember going to Grants In Windber Pennsylvania during the Holidays, you could smell the candy and the Hot Nuts. The memories are so wonderful. My sister and I always got our Easter Dresses there. I believe after it closed it turned into a Hills Store.

B. Scott

Sat Aug 04, 12:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Kevin said...

As a kid in the mid-70s, I remember a new strip center being built with a Grant City store as the anchor. My friends and I would ride our bikes there to have lunch at the Bradford Room. Does anyone else have a memory of their menus? I seem to recall their "mascots" as being Becky and Bucky Bradford, perhaps on the kids' menu. Over the years the Grant City has had at least three different incarnations. It first became a Gold Circle (anyone remember those?), then a Builder's Square (once a subsidiary of KMart) and now it's a Value City Dept. Store.

K. Cecotti
South Park, PA

Tue Oct 30, 03:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember the Grants store in Severna Park MD. I loved it when my mom had to go to the Safeway to shop and she let my sister and I go over to Grants to look around. They had a wonderful pet department that sold those little turtles !!
Does anyone remember Reads Drugstores? They had a great soda fountain and they sold all the "RONCO" stuff that you would see on tv ! I got my first Chia Pet there. I sure miss those days !

Fri Nov 09, 12:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grants was the place where I was first molested by a manager there. It hurt so and I cried for a week! I was 10 years old!

Sat Dec 29, 09:33:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked for WT Grant..my first job in High School. The stores were liquidated in March of 1976. We always shopped at the Grant City, first department store in our county. My mother used to buy all her patterns and fabric at Grants. I loved the stationary dept, the pet dept (we had those little turtles) and the tool dept. We also had a Grants 5&10..which was across the street from the Grant City! We called it the little Grants and my mother went there for quick purchases. My first supervisor at Grants, who was probably in his 40s at the time, had only worked for Grants his whole life. He started out as a stock boy in the Market St. Philadelphia store. That was so sad for me as a kid to see a grown man's life ruined. Great store, but the corporation was mismanaged, very sad.

Sun Apr 13, 02:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fantastic photograph, thanks --

Ladric & Natasha Grant

Mon May 19, 10:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is wonderful to read all these fond memories about my Great Grandfather. I was about 11 when the store went bankrupt – William put his entire life into that company. He was quite revolutionary for his time. Little is know now about all his Philanthropy other than the W.T Grand Foundation.

Tue Jul 22, 04:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up knowing Mr .Grant and getting to see him throught out the years when he was able to travel to some of the store openings . My father started with Grants in 1950 remodiling old stores in Downtown cities around Pa and New York.In 1954 We went on the road Traveling from one place to another all over the USA.building the stores in the shopping centers in rual america.I remember the first family center we built in Harvey la. in early 60,s . I say we because I grew up on summer vactions and days off school working with my dads men building them from the bare ground till the store opened then we would move on to another city.There were several families that all moved around with us.Some carpenters some painters electricians but they knew if Grants was building a store they had a job. I was really sad when the mismanagement in mid 70,s led their closing.My family had litteraly 1,000.s of shares of Grants stocks which became worthless in an overnight ordeal. Thanks for reading and didnt mean to ramble. Grants Known for Value. Still have alot of things Here from their stores.

Mon Jan 12, 09:51:00 AM  
Anonymous D. Harris said...

I was a trailer driver for WT Grant when I was layed off in December 1975. It was my first driving job. Even though I was only there three years it was a great experience. I agee it was mismanaged. One other thing was the appliances they sold under the Bradford name. They were all major brand appliances, i.e. Air conditioners were Fedders but I talked to people who said they would not put a "Bradford" in their window until I told them they were made by Fedders. Other appliances I'm not sure about but I would be interested in Knowing. I drove from Virginia to Maine and UpState New York and PA. We had one thru three day runs and it was a great job with the highest paid job around.

Tue Mar 31, 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger Mother of the year said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

Thu Oct 15, 05:56:00 AM  
Blogger Mother of the year said...

Does anyone know where the stores were located? I'm on the East Coast, curious how many states had them.

Thu Oct 15, 05:57:00 AM  
Anonymous wt schmidt said...

WT GRANT IN AMERICAS FIRST IN DOOR MALL. THE VALLEY FAIR MALL APPLETON WISCONSIN ON A WEEKEND NIGHT IN THE 1950'S WITH DAD TO BUY A NEW PAIR OF SHOES FOR SCHOOL. WHAT A TREAT.

Sat Apr 17, 12:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My first job was at the lunch counter at W.T. Grants in Tampa, Fl. How funny to come across this site. I was around 18 years old. I too remember the candy and nut counter. Would love to know what happened to some of the people my age now who worked there.

Tue Jul 20, 12:17:00 PM  
Anonymous HerbWash(slingshot) said...

Mr. D.Harris my reading your comment i assume you may have driven out of Edison ,NJ terminal. I'm sorry not placing the name ,but i am quite sure i knew you because i was a driver th ere from "67" to march "76". I was #5 on the list and that was the "Best Job" i ever had in my 44years of driving. Grants was a Great Company to work for along with it's associates. Days gone bye, but not forgotten.

Fri Jul 30, 05:06:00 PM  
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Sat Oct 02, 05:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow what great memories I grew up in Peoria Illinois and my mom worked at the Grant's store in downtown Peoria as a kid that store was like heaven and the lunch counter with the conveyor belt going around delivering the food .those were the days it brings tears to my eyes and joy in my heart to see that we all long for the good old simpler days of old thanks for the memories seeing that I lost my mom some 12 years ago today I think of her love as she always took us to work with her and let us play in that store

Sun Nov 14, 01:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used to get the best blumpkins ever in the men's room at Grants

Mon Aug 29, 10:49:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember going to Grants in Richmond IN, the building is still there. It is a great thrift store.

Fri Nov 18, 09:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I got a coffee percolator a few years ago at a thrift shop made by W T Grant Co. of New York, I loved making coffee in that electric pot CAT # 89227, but my husband dropped the top and broke the glass top. I can't find the replacement anywhere. I am sorry the company went out of business.

Sat Mar 24, 01:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Al said...

I miss shopping at W T Grant...especially the big, wide leather belts they stocked.

Thu Apr 19, 01:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the Diskay stores? It was a division of WT Grant that sold cheaper items that the Grant stores couldn't sell.

I started working for Diskay in Jersey City, NJ in 1968 as the head (only) stock clerk. Saw a girl that was the boys dept manager on my first day and knew that day she was the one. We married 5 years later and she was also my best friend for forty years until her death in 10/2007.

I came by this site while searching for some old pictures.

Tue May 29, 04:21:00 PM  

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