Monday, April 26, 2010

Michigan-Made (Back Then)

Where have all our Detroit-area retail brethren gone?

The other day, I got to thinking of unique-to-Detroit stores and shops, and also gas stations of days gone by.

I'm sure the following list of names will prompt a lot of "Oh yeah!!" moments.

Jacobson's. I believe this was a mainly women's apparel retailer, though they may have sold men's clothes, too. Sometimes shortened to "Jake's."

Winkelman's. As with Jacobson's, "Winky's" had a prominent location in Dearborn, on Michigan Avenue. Another mostly-female apparel shop.

Crowley's. I used to frequent the Crowley's in Universal Mall in Warren; speaking of Universal, that "mall" at 12 Mile and Dequindre has undergone quite a makeover. In fact, it's not so much a mall anymore as it is a plethora of retail outlets, still using the Universal name.

Joshua Doore, Robinson's, Wickes, Englander Triangle. Ahh, remember these furniture retailers? Joshua Doore had a catchy jingle ("You have an uncle in the furniture business...") and a murdered executive, who was found in the trunk of his car. The mob was suspected in his murder.

Hughes, Hatcher & Suffrin. Harry Suffrin, who owned a men's apparel shop downtown for years, merged with Hughes & Hatcher in the 1960s. I have especially fond memories of HH&S because their store in Westland Mall was a bi-level thing, with ultra-cool, carpeted stairs separating the upper and lower levels.

Towne Club Soda. Who can forget the super-thin, torpedo-like bottles and the monstrously heavy cases that they came in?

Stroh's Beer. This one still bothers me. Stroh's should still be around, and being brewed in Detroit!

Highland Appliance, Fretter Appliance. Remember Ollie Fretter, who promised "five pounds of coffee if I can't beat your best deal"? And how about the old Highland TV commercials, including the quasi-famous one of the little kid "practicing" piano---when he was in fact playing a recording in his room while he was out on the ball field?

Great Scott! I'm not sure if this was a Michigan-only market, but I mention it because of its name. My name is Gregory Scott Eno, so when I was a small child I thought the name of the market was Greg Scott! Needless to say, I didn't read the sign closely enough.

Cunningham's Drugs. I know there are tons of now-defunct local drugstores out there, but Cunningham's was a Detroit-area institution because of its multitude of locations. Their slogan for a time was "21 Stores under One Roof." They even took to calling themselves "Cunningham's 21" for a while.




Now, here are some gas stations I remember from my youth:

Standard. The pre-cursor to Amoco---same sign and everything.

Texaco. Bob Hope used to swat a golf ball off a Texaco oil rigger in their commercials. An old-time sponsor of 1950s TV theater.

Gulf. I know they're still around, but I don't see their sign anywhere around here.

Sinclair. Their logo was a dinosaur. Talk about ahead of their time!

Clark. Yes, they're still around, but I'm talking about the old Clark stations, which were tiny structures and had orange and white signs.


Check out those prices!!


Boron/Sohio. Boron was in Michigan, and Sohio had the same sign but was in Ohio.

Leonard. I seem to recall a station called Leonard on Plymouth Road in Livonia. Either that, or my mind is making things up.


Speaking of gas stations, remember when there was full service and they'd give away things, like knives and other household items, with fill-ups?

Then there were the banks: NBD; First Federal; Manufacturer's (slogan: "That's MY bank"); Detroit Bank & Trust. I also remember when the Penobscot Building in Detroit was briefly re-named the CNB Building, after a bank.

What do YOU remember?

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