Stores you wish were still around.

DakotaGuy

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Jan 14, 2002
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My friends and I got into a discussion this weekend about some stores that we used to have and now are long gone...

We decided we missed Best (not to be confused with Best Buy) most. I don't know if there is other people on the board that remember shopping at Best, but it was an awesome place. I can remember when I was a real little kid it was called La Belle's and our parents used to take us shopping for toys. Later sometime in the 1980's it changed to Best, but had the same products.

It was a catalog showroom, which means they had a catalog with all the products as well. You went into the store and everything was displayed around the store on shelves. If you found products that you wanted you grabbed a little ticket off the shelf and took it to the back for pickup. It was sort of a neat concept.

They had everything from lava lamps in a million colors, nice dishes, electronics, toys, decorations, office supplies, jewelry, lots of fun gadgets, and on and on. I know places like Walmart broke them in the end, but it was a cool place because they had stuff that other places just did not have.

I miss that place. I remember when I was real young one time, my mom forgot to take a La Belle's price tag off a toy she got me for Christmas. For awhile I thought Santa did all of his shopping at La Belle's!

If you totally forgot this place, here is the Best logo to jog your memory. It is amazing what you can find on the Internet!
 

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jsalzer

macrumors 6502a
Jan 18, 2004
607
0
Venture

I miss Venture. Its prices were slightly higher than Walmart, but the quality of products carried was far superior. Great cost to quality ratio. Also much cleaner and nicer.

Service Merchandise sounds a lot like your "Best", which I've never heard of. It sounds like both lost out to the big smiley face. :(

Other than that, I'm pretty happy. :)
 

puckhead193

macrumors G3
May 25, 2004
9,210
432
NY
its still around but has changed. I miss the old abercrombie when they had normal shirts that didn't say stupid sexual things on them....and when the jeans weren't ripped, maybe about 4/5 years ago...
 

Chip NoVaMac

macrumors G3
Dec 25, 2003
8,889
25
Northern Virginia
Abercrombieboy said:
My friends and I got into a discussion this weekend about some stores that we used to have and now are long gone...

We decided we missed Best (not to be confused with Best Buy) most. I don't know if there is other people on the board that remember shopping at Best, but it was an awesome place. I can remember when I was a real little kid it was called La Belle's and our parents used to take us shopping for toys. Later sometime in the 1980's it changed to Best, but had the same products.

It was a catalog showroom, which means they had a catalog with all the products as well. You went into the store and everything was displayed around the store on shelves. If you found products that you wanted you grabbed a little ticket off the shelf and took it to the back for pickup. It was sort of a neat concept.

They had everything from lava lamps in a million colors, nice dishes, electronics, toys, decorations, office supplies, jewelry, lots of fun gadgets, and on and on. I know places like Walmart broke them in the end, but it was a cool place because they had stuff that other places just did not have.

I miss that place. I remember when I was real young one time, my mom forgot to take a La Belle's price tag off a toy she got me for Christmas. For awhile I thought Santa did all of his shopping at La Belle's!

If you totally forgot this place, here is the Best logo to jog your memory. It is amazing what you can find on the Internet!
Actually the name was Best Products. Used to work for them many years ago in Shirlington VA.

They had innovative building designs during their day. A building in CA that had a corner of the building "tear" away from the rest of the building. Their Ashland building had a facade that pealed away like a page from a book. And a store in Richmond that had "two" facades, separated by green space.

I remember one very slow night that we sent in an order for a Mr. Wong Hung Lo. :D
 

DakotaGuy

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Jan 14, 2002
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Chip NoVaMac said:
Actually the name was Best Products. Used to work for them many years ago in Shirlington VA.

They had innovative building designs during their day. A building in CA that had a corner of the building "tear" away from the rest of the building. Their Ashland building had a facade that pealed away like a page from a book. And a store in Richmond that had "two" facades, separated by green space.

I remember one very slow night that we sent in an order for a Mr. Wong Hung Lo. :D
Yeah...it was Best Products. It was such a unique place. We shopped there all the time and their stuff was pretty good quality. Walmart crushed them like they will soon crush more and more stores. The difference to me was it was really a fun treat shopping at Best, where Walmart has turned into a boring, everything is the same, shopping experience.

I still find myself looking for something and I can't find it and I think...if only Best was still around. Service Merchandise was exactly the same type of "catalog showroom" concept.
 

OutThere

macrumors 603
Dec 19, 2002
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NYC
I miss Ames...it was really bad and the epitome of American trash, but it was great in a snap to get that random stuff that you really, absolutely had to have right then...;)

 

applekid

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Jul 3, 2003
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I remember Best. I never knew what kind of a store it was since I was like maybe 7 when it went out of business. It did definitely remind me of a store stocked with catalog products: Lava lamps, poker sets, things for a billiard room, Jeep boomboxes, etc. Real novelty items. I remember there being a lot of space for jewelry and wathces. I don't remember too many toys though...

Where were they located? I remember one in Virginia, but I think it was near Hampton or something. It's when I used to live in Poquoson, VA.

And I think there used to be one in Columbia, MD... Anyways, I remember clearly the liquidation commercials when I evntually moved up to Maryland... Ahhhh, the memories... ;)

I don't miss too many stores or at least I haven't seen too many stores go out of business in my lifetime (so far). There was a game shop in the local mall here that got bought by Wizards of the Coast or something... Had a lot of billiard tables and they weren't going anywhere soon...
 

DakotaGuy

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OutThere said:
I miss Ames...it was really bad and the epitome of American trash, but it was great in a snap to get that random stuff that you really, absolutely had to have right then...;)

That reminds me of Pamida! But once Super Walmart moves into one of our local towns I am sure the Pamida will be gone shortly after. Seems like every town starts to loose local stores and other chains will pull out once Super Walmart invades.

applekid said:
It did definitely remind me of a store stocked with catalog products: Lava lamps, poker sets, things for a billiard room, Jeep boomboxes, etc. Real novelty items. I remember there being a lot of space for jewelry and wathces. I don't remember too many toys though...

Where were they located? I remember one in Virginia, but I think it was near Hampton or something. It's when I used to live in Poquoson, VA.

And I think there used to be one in Columbia, MD... Anyways, I remember clearly the liquidation commercials when I evntually moved up to Maryland... Ahhhh, the memories... ;)
They were all over the country. They used to be just on the east coast and then they bought out other Catalog Showrooms, for example La Belle's in the midwest. Anyhow, I agree I miss the memories. They did have all kinds of things that you just can't find at all the big box retailers. Oh well, I guess Walmart is supposed to be progress.
 

khammack

macrumors regular
Sep 28, 2004
166
0
Portland, OR
Wow, time warp. I remember Best; in my hometown (Lewiston, ID) it was called "Great Western" during it's heyday, and then became "Best" at some point.

I definitely miss Great Western / Best. But there is one thing I miss a bit more: boot stores. Places where you could have custom old fashioned leather boots made. Mind you, I'm not a cowboy or anything; I find country music repulsive. But there was just something real about going to the leather shop and finding people buying their sh*t-kickers, or a custom saddle. It was all stuff that would get used for what it was really intended, not just fashion (or a warped concept thereof).

Ahh, yeah. Nothing like growing up in hick-central!

-kev
 

mpw

Guest
Jun 18, 2004
6,364
1
Any store where the guy behind the counter either;
a) owned the store
b) knew about the pruduct he was selling
c) both of the above

Locally the 'Wine Lodge' - old world wines & spirits etc. whose business was destroyed buy supermarkets.
 

Deepdale

macrumors 68000
May 4, 2005
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New York
I miss department store Abraham & Strauss ... there was rarely a problem finding shirts there in the nicest colors and patterns..
 

Thomas Veil

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Feb 14, 2004
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OBJECTIVE reality
I used to shop at Best, too. Guess they succumbed to Wally World.

Now to really show my age: I remember Woolworth's. Cool five-and-dime, sort of like a dollar store, only a little classier. The one downtown had these neat wood floors that creaked when you walked on them. And it seemed like half the time, there was a parakeet flying around the store that had escaped from the pet section. :D

I also remember Kresge's before it got rolled into KMart.
 

iGary

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May 26, 2004
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Randy's House
Thomas Veil said:
I used to shop at Best, too. Guess they succumbed to Wally World.

Now to really show my age: I remember Woolworth's. Cool five-and-dime, sort of like a dollar store, only a little classier. The one downtown had these neat wood floors that creaked when you walked on them. And it seemed like half the time, there was a parakeet flying around the store that had escaped from the pet section. :D

I also remember Kresge's before it got rolled into KMart.
I miss Woodward and Lothrop here in the DC area.
 

iSaint

macrumors 603
Heck, I miss the simple Jr Food Mart corner store or whatever! Seems most of those have been taken over by massive fueling centers. Used to be one we could ride our bikes to and get ten-cent donuts - a 3 pack! Now the one down the street from me is a drug center and I wouldn't send my daughter down there for anything.
 

zelmo

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Jul 3, 2004
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Mac since 7.5
I miss all the old "five and dime" stores like Kresge's, Woolworth's, and Ben Franklin. They stocked more merch than the typical drug stores, and usually had a diner in them with those awesome milkshakes that came to the table with another half serving still in the metal mixing tumbler.
I also miss Korvette's. They were a typical Sears/Wards type store, but the one in NE Baltimore had the best record department around. Back in the day when album prices were usually around $6.99, their everyday prices were $5.99, and they had a sale every 6 months where all records were really cheap, like $3.50. I remember saving up, then going there with all my friends and picking up a couple dozen albums.

The BEST store in Eudowood had a storefront that looked like one edge was lifted up and away from the face of the building, like it hadn't been put all the way into place during construction. I remember using names like Henry Cow and Floyd Pink for merch pick-ups.
 

iGav

macrumors G3
Mar 9, 2002
9,025
1
Back in the '80's when I lived Bracknell, they used to have an excellent toy shop called the 'Toy Factory' right on the corner to the entrance of 'Princess Square', really was outrageously cool, even the curtain walling was held by massive brightly coloured nuts and bolts... the perfect toy shop :D

It only lasted a few years before 'Beatties' bought it, although if memory serves they retained the big bolts too. :D
 

Chip NoVaMac

macrumors G3
Dec 25, 2003
8,889
25
Northern Virginia
powermac666 said:
I miss all the old "five and dime" stores like Kresge's, Woolworth's, and Ben Franklin. They stocked more merch than the typical drug stores, and usually had a diner in them with those awesome milkshakes that came to the table with another half serving still in the metal mixing tumbler.
I also miss Korvette's. They were a typical Sears/Wards type store, but the one in NE Baltimore had the best record department around. Back in the day when album prices were usually around $6.99, their everyday prices were $5.99, and they had a sale every 6 months where all records were really cheap, like $3.50. I remember saving up, then going there with all my friends and picking up a couple dozen albums.

The BEST store in Eudowood had a storefront that looked like one edge was lifted up and away from the face of the building, like it hadn't been put all the way into place during construction. I remember using names like Henry Cow and Floyd Pink for merch pick-ups.
You reminded me of the Super G department stores run by Giant Food, along with the Memco stores... sigh those were the good old days before Wally World....
 

DakotaGuy

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Jan 14, 2002
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Chip NoVaMac said:
You reminded me of the Super G department stores run by Giant Food, along with the Memco stores... sigh those were the good old days before Wally World....
Yeah it seems that Wally World is slowly ruining everyone. Even though there were large department stores in the past they never seemed to come into a town and destroy the locally owned businesses.

In the city close to me they have 2 excellent locally owned businesses. One is an Ace Hardware Store, which is a great place to pick up about anything you need for your home and the other is a Sears dealer store. Both of these guys are sourced from the large companies, but they own and run their own stores. Nice hometown service and sales, however I have noticed that Walmart is taking it's toll on them. Especially the Ace store. The guy that runs the Sears does pretty well because of major appliances.
 

Otto Rehhagel

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Jan 21, 2005
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The WIZ. Nobody beats the wiz--later converted to Best Buy.

I also remember the old Lechemere in Boston.

As a child, I also loved Woolworth's.
 

DakotaGuy

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Otto Rehhagel said:
The WIZ. Nobody beats the wiz--later converted to Best Buy. As a child, I also loved Woolworth's.
Oh I remember Woolworth's when I was a kid. That was a fun place! I think their parent company is still around however, don't they own Foot Locker?

I also remember The WIZ. We did not have any of them, but when I was a kid I remember some of their television advertising on cable stations that were sourced from a different market.
 

balamw

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Aug 16, 2005
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New England
I dunno, I really don't see much of a real difference between the Ames/Best/Service Merchandise type stores of yesteryear and today's Target. most Target's around here seem to be positioned somewhere between those stores and the old department stores, and unlike Kmart they usually seem to have reasonable quality goods in stock and organized in the stores.

Walmart stores around here are usually about 2-3 times larger than Target and suffer from some of the same kind of ills that I saw at Kmart, disorganized, and some really, really crappy wares.

A store I don't "get" is Kohls. Is it a department store or a big-box?

Changing gears a little, the store I miss the most recently is Zany Brainy. They had all kinds of cool toys.

B
 

wordmunger

macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
5,125
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North Carolina
balamw said:
A store I don't "get" is Kohls. Is it a department store or a big-box?
I was there with you a couple of years ago ... then my kids became teenagers. It's a great place to get adult-size clothes in kid-style fashions.