Monday, March 05, 2007

Country Club Centre

Sacramento, California - circa 1950s

This is a beautiful shot of the Country Club Centre (which I've blogged about before on Malls of America), including a view of not only a few of its stores (Rhodes, Leed's, Singer, and of course, Woolworth), but also the shopping center's super-groovy entrance sign touting their "easy parking"! This image comes courtesy of bayswater97's flickrset.

And speaking of the Rhodes store, I've taken the liberty of pasting below some great history on the retail chain that was originally posted by MOA reader, Hushpuppy, in the comments section of my last Country Club entry. I think the mini-essay will compliment this post nicely, and I thank Hushpuppy for taking the time to write it!:
"Prior to 1960, there were 3 chains that made up the Western Department Store Company: Kahn's (Oakland and Concord), Olds & King (Portland and Gateway Shopping Center) and Rhodes (Tacoma, Lakewood, Fresno, Country Club, and Florin Road in Sacramento). In September 1960, all stores were consolidated under the Rhodes name, and the parent company was changed to 'Rhodes Western'. During the period between 1960 and 1969, additional stores were opened in Phoenix (Camelback), Albuquerque, San Antonio, and Mountain View, CA.

In 1969, the 13-store Rhodes chain was sold to Honolulu-based Amfac, owner of Liberty House department stores (and new owner of the Joseph Magnin specialty store chain). Under Amfac ownership, new stores were opened in Jantzen Beach, OR; Tacoma Mall; Dublin, CA (a conversion of the failed RhodesWAY discount chain); El Paso, and Phoenix (Metrocenter). I believe it was during this period that the downtown stores in Tacoma and Portland were closed.

In the early 1970's Amfac opened Liberty House stores in San Jose (Eastridge), Hayward (Southland) and Sacramento (Sunrise). Then in 1972 they bought the failed City of Paris department stores in downtown San Francisco and Stonestown and renamed them City of Paris by Liberty House. They tore down one of the City of Paris buildings and built a new Liberty House store in 1974. Stonestown was closed in 1973, less than a year after it opened.

Their mainland stores bleeding red ink, Amfac then decided to consoldate all their department store operations under the Liberty House banner. It didn't help much since the old Rhodes stores were smaller and hopelessly outdated while the new Liberty House stores were large and ultramodern. Unlike Hawaii where they had no competition and a rich history, mainland shoppers had no idea what Liberty House stood for and stayed away in droves.

In the late 1970's, the Pacific Northwest stores were sold to Frederick & Nelson and the Southwest stores were sold to various companies. The San Jose store was sold to The Emporium in 1977.

Liberty House tried bolstering their Northern California presence with new stores in Santa Rosa, downtown Sacramento, Reno, and San Mateo but the chain was almost never profitable. They sold the Hayward store to The Emporium (now named Emporium-Capwell) and closed the Dublin and Florin stores but Amfac threw in the towel in May 1984, selling the remaining stores to archrival Macy's and leaving the mainland altogether (having earlier sold off Joseph Magnin at a loss).

The only exception was the San Mateo store. Required by the lease to continue operating, it was treated as a branch of the Honolulu division and stayed open until 1987 when it was sold to Whole Earth Access. The entire shopping center was bulldozed a few years ago and replaced with a power center."
Mall history: 1952 - 2003 (dead/redeveloped?)
Current website: n/a
Current aerial view
Resource links: 1
Previous entries: 1


Blogger BIGMallrat said...

Wow, that's a great photo of Country Club Centre and Rhodes. We spent a lot of time at Liberty House as a kid. It was the only department store (outside of Mervyns) in Dublin; least until the mall came in 1980. I worked in the mall that housed the only Liberty House in San Mateo. Management evaded the question of Liberty House and their other failing anchor, Bullocks, eventually leaving the mall. Anyway, it wasn't soon after the mall sold, then eventually was bulldozed.
One thing that always sticks in my mind about Liberty House was their colors: pink and brown. We called it "kinky pink."

Mon Mar 05, 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger BIGMallrat said...

Oh, one last thing. I think the Liberty House in south Sacramento was at Southgate Plaza, which is on Florin Rd. But not Florin Mall.

Mon Mar 05, 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Marty Kobata said...

That's correct, the Liberty House was in Southgate. It became a sporting goods store after Liberty House went under, then the building was bulldozed and became a Wal-Mart.

Regarding the Country Club sign, that must be a late '50's/early 60's photo (judging by the cars). I don't remember seeing that sign by the middle '60's.

Mon Mar 05, 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous didi said...

Bulldozed??? Poor sign!!!

Mon Mar 05, 10:01:00 PM  
Blogger orion105 said...

Sacramento's first mall, Florin Mall was oblitered recently, leaving only the SEARS still left but in business. The rest is an empty space of rubble, but they will be putting up "Florin Town Centre" which so far is only sacramento's 1st Super-Walmart, and about 6th wal-mart. Did I say I hate Wal-mart?

Thu Jun 14, 04:58:00 PM  
Blogger orion105 said...

Sacramento's first mall, Florin Mall was oblitered recently, leaving only the SEARS still left but in business. The rest is an empty space of rubble, but they will be putting up "Florin Town Centre" which so far is only sacramento's 1st Super-Walmart, and about 6th wal-mart. Did I say I hate Wal-mart?

Thu Jun 14, 04:59:00 PM  
Blogger Craig said...

I was the security manager of Liberty House in Dublin in 1973 and 1974. That was a great place to work in those days. Shoplifters used to take the bus or drive from the East Bay just to come and visit.

Sat Aug 23, 09:35:00 AM  
Blogger Peggy Leslie said...

Hi Craig-I was the Security manager in Dublin 1981-82. It was fun, wasn't it?

Sun Nov 22, 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Great picture of Country Club. My family lived a few miles away, so I remember shopping there frequently in the 70s. I remember specifically Liberty House and Kiddie Korral. I'm not sure of the spelling of that.... Kid-E-Korral? Kiddie Corral? I was trying to remember what else was there. Back in the early 70s they had some sort of animal zoo that came through there and took up space on the parking lot. And my mom "won" a donkey --which seems really weird to me now. We had the donkey for maybe a week in our little suburban backyard and then gave it away.

We spent a lot of time at the mall across the street --which had Weinstocks, and I recall a pet store in the back corner that I liked to visit. I remember that mall as thriving in the late 70s and early 80s. But it's barely kicking now. Winco has taken over the spot that briefly had Gotthschalks. Can't recall what was there before Gotthschalks.

And at the other corner across the street was a family favorite --Sam's Hof Brau, which is still there, and Tower books and records, which is now Goodwill. The side where Liberty House used to be is still somewhat busy with Wal Mart and Sam's Club right behind.

Sun Mar 05, 05:11:00 PM  

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