Friday, May 19, 2006

South Flint Plaza

Flint, Michigan - circa 1950's

Greetings from South Flint Plaza! And just look at all those glorious old stores visible in this one postcard... Cunningham's Drugs, Federal Deptartment Stores, S.S. Kresge Co., among others, and even a Genesee Bank, to boot! :) Not to mention the cars.

This shopping center is still there today, though I'm finding no official website for them so far, and am still looking for more details as to when the place was originally opened, and all that. Not seeing much yet. I'll update when/if I dig up more. In the meantime, here a current aerial view at least.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

They're a strip mall, I doubt they'd have a website.

I'm told that the Federals had a brief stint as a Woolco before becoming a Value City Furniture. There was another anchor at the south end which is now the main Value City store. (Any idea? Maybe that store was the Woolco?)

Sun May 21, 01:13:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So did you find out anymore on this center?

Mon May 29, 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Haven't dug into it yet, Anonymous. I will at some point soon.

Bobby: It's a strip mall, but since it kind of looks like a bigger one than most I've seen (judging by the photo anyway), I assumed they just might have a website. As well, many malls that started out as small strip operations back in the day, eventually grew and were enclosed, so I wondered if maybe they had done that, too, by now. Guess not, huh?

Thu Jun 01, 11:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this that funky mall off of Dort full of all that weird stuff? I think its now called Dort Mall.

Fri Jun 09, 08:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous, this is a strip mall on Fenton Road near Bristol; it has Value City, Value City Furniture, Save-A-Lot and a buncha dead storefronts. It was never enclosed.

Dort Mall was always called either Dort Mall or Small Mall; it had Yankee and a movie theater at first, and now has Bargain Hunterz, Big Lots, and Perani's Hockey World.

Wed Jun 28, 10:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The anchor on the other end was a Woolco and an Arlens at one time. My uncle was a buyer for Federals. We went there all of the time when I was a kid (I was born in 1959) I have a very vivid memory of window shopping there one Christmas eve when I was probably 7 or 8. I saw a Cinderella watch in the window of a jewelery store that came with a figurine. I admired it greatly and was so surprised to find it under the tree the next morning. Wonder who snuck back to get it?? Thanks for memory. Joy

Thu Jul 20, 09:31:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in the 60's - 70's and during that time, the South Flint Plaza was anchored at the south end by The Fair Store and at that same end there was a Montgomery Ward store (though Wards was not attached to the main strip). When Wards left it was replaced by a Hamady's grocery store...I think.

Wed Oct 04, 08:40:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To that last anonymous - Yes, the southernmost anchor was later Hamady's. It's now a Save-A-Lot.

Sun Nov 12, 05:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the name of the furniture store that was there in the late 60's? I always wanted a set of red bedroom furniture that in the window.

Sat Mar 10, 09:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived about a half mile away from this mall growing up as a kid in the 70s. I distinctly remember the Hamady store (though we never shopped there) amd I loved going to the bona fide Little Caesars sit-down pizza parlor (the place seemed huge, with a giant tv screen, and in the 80s they put in a bunch of arcade games in the back) and my favorite was a Baskin Robins ice cream store. There was a dress barn and a fashion bug store I think, and a bunch of small stores I never went in but my mom used to window shop, and the Genesee bank was there for years but now its a Chase/Bank One branch. The central anchor was always a 5 & dime store until Value city went in.Now the place pretty much has fallen into decline and I can't see much reason to go there to shop for much. Its just a low-end strip mall that years ago served as a nice little commercial hub; now its pretty non-descript and non-mentionable.

Sun Apr 08, 02:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I shopped in the Fair and Kresges stores in the late 50's and the 60's. Kresges had a few clothes that were real cheap but nice enough. I bought a skirt for $1.88, a sweater and matching socks. Probably didn't spend $5. I bought a winter coat at The Fair Store for $18 and put it on lay-away. I paid $2 or $3 per week from baby-sitting money until I could pay it off. The Fair store seemed reasonably upscale to me then although not like Vogue downtown. It was probaly more like Kohls is today. Nice stuff but not exclusive. This blog brought back a lot of memories.

Sun May 13, 11:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Leasing Agent has listin on website with site plan and aerial photo as of 05/14/07 at

Mon May 14, 03:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I worked at the Fair Store in downtown Flint. In 1956 The Fair store in the South Flint Plaza was preparing to open, on the southend of the Plaza . I was asked to go to the South Flint Plaza Fair Store when it opened, to be the manager of the Men's Department. I didn't go because I got a job that paid more $1.37/hr. with Western Electric.To my knowledge Woolco, nor Arlen's was not there. United Shirt Store was there. they were next to Federal's. Woolco was at Eastland (now named Courtland mall, and Arlen's was on Dort and Davison Rds.
There was also a camera & gift shop in the South Flint Plaza, but I can't remember the name of it. My wife worked there in 56, 57, and part of 58.There is a large building on the north end, that is now empty, I don'tremember if that was added later, nor what was originall in the building JERRY

Mon Jan 21, 12:51:00 PM  
Blogger Bob Baker said...

I grew up in the 60's & 70's, a few blocks from the South Flint Plaza - in the "Mulberry Patch." There used to be a Vescio's (sp) Grocery Store. I remember because Mom used to buy baskeball "sneakers" there & it wasn't too cool showing up at practice with no-name shoes. Hamady's used to be there too at some point in time. I remember when I married & moved to Colorado - it took me years to break the habit of referring to grocery bags as "Hamady Sacks!"

Dad was fond of referring to the anchor store as "Monkey Wards." There was a Woolco in the Plaza for a time... it was a great hang out for kids.

One of my sisters still has a tall red fabric lined lamp that Mom purchased from the furniture store on the north end of the mall :o)

THX for piquing some awesome memories!

Mon Apr 14, 10:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember The Fair Store, Federal's, Winkelman's, Kay's Jewelry, a Drug Store, Kresge's and I believe a shoe store.

Sat May 17, 11:19:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was born in Flint but my family moved when I was about 5 years old. We very briefly moved back when I was around 9 or 10 and I remember South Flint Plaza very well. We did most of our grocery shopping at Hamady's. I LOVED eating at the Little Caesar's because they had awesome video games. Even then though I remember realizing how junky Value City was. And there was a Fotomat in the parking lot (showing my age here) and also a Halo Burger which I ordered from last time I was in Flint. I think it's empty now but at the end of the plaza facing Hemphill Road was a video store. Michigan Video maybe? I think we rented from there once or twice.

Thanks for bringing back some fond memories.

Sun Jul 27, 04:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I asked around about the plaza and found out some more about it.

The furniture store at the north end was called Morrie's.

The plaza opened in 1956 or so.

Sun Jul 27, 10:27:00 PM  
Blogger patti said...

the other anchor store was a fair store. in between was a mill end store, bakery, kresges, thal's, united shirt, nobils shoe store, federals dept store, a restaurant called dianas, a morries furniture store. these were all in the 60's and 70's

Fri Jan 02, 09:54:00 PM  
Blogger mamabares3 said...

South Flint Plaza had the FAIR STORE as one anchor on the South End I believe. My mother had her hair done there at a salon every Saturday morning. I could swear that the red and white auto in the photo you have is ours. It always sat parked in front of the SS Kresege's. DejaVu!

Wed Mar 11, 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

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Mon Mar 15, 10:42:00 AM  
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Sat Oct 02, 06:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great trip down memory lane. Thanks to all of you for your input. I used to walk there with my cousin in the late 50's. I lived at Leta & Circle Drive and would walk to Charlie's (drug store on Saginaw & Atherton) meet her and catch the bus for downtown, or I would walk to her house, Grand Traverse (before the split lol) and Atherton area, and we would walk to the South Flint Plaza. I remember The Fair, Morries, Kresge's, and what I thought was The Vogue but may actually have been Winkleman's. Certainly was a safer and gentler time. Great memories.

Sun Nov 07, 02:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Vincent said...

I grew up around the corner from here (on Barrie Ave., I was born in '78) and remember the plaza quite well. I remember at one point Hamady's seemed to become a Kroger, and then reverted back to being Hamady's a short time later. I think that Baskin Robbins was the only one I've ever been in, even in the mid-80s it was pretty run down. I vaguely remember there being a take out-only Halo Burger in the one corner of the lot. Sorry so random, stumbled on this page and it brings back a lot of memories.

Fri Dec 17, 03:59:00 PM  
Anonymous Vincent said...

Oh, and the "Small Mall" crept me out more than anything as a kid, last time I remember being there was about 1985 and I think the only thing operating in it was the Sears Outlet, and I don't think that remained open much longer after that.

Fri Dec 17, 04:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Marshall's is planning on moving into South Flint Plaza sometime in 2011. The Dort Mall is still barely hanging on - Bargain Hunterz, Eye doctor, coney, dollar store, consignment shop, the hockey shop, and Big Lots. There is a lot of memorabilia inside - things like the actual scale-model ship used in the original Dr. Doolittle. The just built a brand new building for a Subway in the parking lot.

Sat Feb 19, 09:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived only a few blocks from the South Flint Plaza in the late 1950's. Those were still early days for the growth of suburbs and shopping centers in America. Flint was a boom town and I think this one was quite prosperous. I remember a small record store where my aunt bought the 45rpm "Venus" by Frankie Avalon. I remember when the hula-hoop became popular and watching a hula-hoop marathon in the parking lot one day. Great memories. I suspect the place is in disrepair after all these years and the terrible economy of Flint.

Sun May 08, 09:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi! I found your blog while looking up buildings done by a certain architect. The South Flint Plaza was designed by Detroit architect Charles N. Agree and opened in 1956. He also did several other shopping centers and lots of movie theaters, unfortunately a lot of them are gone but a few cool places are still in operation. Thanks again for the great info!

Sat Jun 04, 12:54:00 AM  
Blogger jereco said...

As I stated earlier I worked at the Fair Store downton Flint. I remember when The Fair Store opened in the South Flint Plaza @ 1957. I would like to know the name of the Camera and Gift store that was in the plaza in 1957.

Wed Aug 17, 05:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Luke said...

My first full time job was at The Fair beginning in 1976. I hired in as a stockboy. I worked for the company until it went out of business in 1990. South Flint Plaza is still a thriving center despite the economy although most of the stores are not big name anymore. Fond memories of working there in it's heyday! When I was there, the big stores were The Fair, Federals,Kresge,and Hamady.

Thu Dec 01, 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

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Wed Apr 25, 07:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived close to the Plaza and went there often. I worked at the Fair Store after high school. When Wards was at the south end Top Value Stamps cataloge store was there also. I have fond memories of that mall. I loved Value City and wish it would have stayed open.

Tue Feb 05, 12:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the early 70s (can't speak for earlier, but I'm pretty sure it was there throughout the 60s as well, The Fair Store anchored the South Flint Plaza along with Kresge. The Fair was in the large space later home to Value City. The Fair Store was a nicer mid-range department store. I remember going to buy clothes and house things with my mom when I was very small. Then wed go to Baskin Robbins for ice cream. Baskin Robins had those weird paddle-desk chairs to sit in and eat.

Mon Jun 03, 09:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember Diana'a Restaurant on the far north end. We would get a double cone ice cream there...yup.. 2 cones connected. There was an arcade in the middle that we would go thru after cutting thru the woods from Camden St. I think there was a Winkelman's too. The bakery was called Buttercup Bakery. My parents bought all their Frank Sinatra albums from Bill Lamb. My first chocolate soda was at Kresges counter. I think I miss the Fair store the most. Walking down the sidewalk of the Plaza you could really window shop! Great memories.

Tue Apr 01, 10:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember it well. 1960's had Fair, Federal, Morries, Winklemans, Buttercup Bakery, Mill End store on the end by Fair. Ther was a shoe store by Genesee bank that had the old foot x-ray machine. There was a store just north of Federal~ I think it was Mac's electric and toys or Max electric. Pretty sure that turned into Little Caesars im the 70's. Used to take the bus from there to downtown on Saturdays.
1970's brought Imperial Sports and the t shirt / novelty store that moved to the small mall eventually. There was a detached building at the south end that sold jeans...maybe like a sagebrush.
Between me and friends and family we worked at Little Caesars, Morries, Fair, Imperial and Baskin Robbins. I think the Fair closed Christmas Eve a Jordache jacket that week. Knew half of the employees there....great memories.

Wed Apr 02, 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Dort Mall was not always the Dort Mall or Small Mall, Back in the 70's it was changed to the Small Mall,In the 60's there use to be a Yankee's store there ...Arlens was located across from Chevrolet Metal Fab and the old V8 plant down Bristol road bout 2 miles until it closed in the early 70's...The South Flint Plaza had S.S. Kresge(Kmart),Genesee
Bank,Little Ceaser(with a bar)..etc...And a gas station that is now the Halo burger....

Wed Jun 11, 11:05:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Live right around the corner. Only main stores left is value city, save a lot, and dollar tree. A few beauty shops and the rest are unoccupied. Very sad.

Thu Feb 05, 12:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who remembers the store "real America" that sold jeans and novelty shirts? It was back in the mid to late 70's..... Don't think it was there for very long. Great memories!

Fri Apr 24, 06:25:00 PM  
Anonymous martha walker said...

I grew up blocks away from the south flint plaza and remember all the places mentioned and one more! one which was Grecian Beauty Salon my mom and grandma used to go there and also in 1976 we had a family picture taken at Kresge ....I still have those pictures it was the bicentennial year! also later on maybe early eighties the Jenny machine kept my card one night when I put in the wrong numbers afew times, lol I absolutely loved going to Kresges ....we called it the dime store and I would always find the coolest things there, tables were just full of stuff! also I thought the furniture store at the end (across from top hat car wash) was called Morrison's and I also remember the time it got hit by a tornado! happy times and memories!! it is now a sad run down plaza has seen better days for sure!

Sat Oct 15, 01:09:00 PM  
Anonymous WiWilliam Kern aka Dakota said...

Flint, like most major cities across the country, let too many malls open. And then the main downtowns died. There should have been laws that prohibited so many malls to open. Flint has no atmosphere anymore. No drugstore, clothing stores or even theaters that are open. Flint destroyed the IMA when it could have been reseated for what it cost to demolish it. When there was activity as the IMA, that was 6,000 people who came downtown. Too bad the malls killed downtown Flint. It will never be the same as it was in the 50's, when General Motors was the biggest employers in Flint. All the people in office thought there would always be cars. But never gave any thought of them going broke. Now they are trying to bring the factories back. That is a beginning. Cars are being built with lesser people that they used to hire to build them. Why didn't city officials have back up businesses to take over? Now they too are suffering. Pass laws that will prevent guns to be on the streets. The second amendment was to protect home owners from intruders and for peoples safety and security. Take the guns off the streets. Anyone carrying them will be jailed and the guns taken away. Guns kill people and people have guns. Make Genesee County safe and let Police and Security people have guns. Give it a try. Be the first in the nation and not end up now like Chicago. Gangs cannot exist without guns.

Sun Jan 22, 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Worked at The Fair Store in early 70's which opened in 1956 and was owned by Sydney Kramer. I was a payroll clerk. There was a doughnut shop just down the sidewalk.

Wed Jul 12, 09:49:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

My dad worked at Fain Furniture back in the 50s ... maybe 1957-1960

Tue Jul 31, 03:08:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

No. This was on Fenton Rd Near Brist

Thu Feb 18, 05:20:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I did not know there was an Arlens there. I remember The Fair Store. If memory serves me, Arlens was on the corner of Bristol and Van Slyke

Thu Feb 18, 07:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I grew up in the area and moved back here 10 years ago. Value City Dept and Furniture stores, were the last anchors there. Back in the day it was Kresges, Federals, The Fair, Nobil Shoes, Genesee Bank, Hamady Bros supermarket, a pet store, Woolworths. Arlens was at Bristol and VanSlyke which is now the GFL recycling center.

Sat Mar 06, 04:05:00 PM  

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