Thursday, December 04, 2008

"Five-and-Ten" Stores in Sandusky

According to the second edition of the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, the definition of a “five-and-ten” (also called “five-and-ten-cent store”) is “a store offering a wide assortment of inexpensive items, formerly costing five or ten cents, for personal and household use.”

From the nineteen thirties through the nineteen sixties, Sandusky had several five and ten cent stores. In July of 1919, the S. S. Kresge Five and Ten Cent Store leased the southeast corner of Market and Columbus Avenue for twenty five years. By 1941, there were two Kresge stores in Sandusky, both on Columbus Avenue. In 1941, Neisner Bros., Inc. was located at 133 E. Market Street, opposite the Feick Building. The 1962 Sandusky City Directory, under the section “Department Stores – 5 cents to $1.00.,” listed the W. T. Grant Store at the Sandusky Plaza, the S. S. Kresge Co. at 202 Columbus Ave., Neisner Bros, at 133 E. Market St., and two Woolworth stores, one at 220 Columbus Ave. and one at the Sandusky Plaza.

The first F. W. Woolworth store in Sandusky was located downtown on Columbus Avenue. Later there was an F. W. Woolworth store in the Perkins Plaza, and for a time the Sandusky Mall also had a Woolworth’s, located where the T. J. Maxx Store is presently. The downtown Woolworth’s closed on Christmas Eve in 1971.

Below is a scene of the east side of Columbus Avenue at the time of the January 5, 1960 fire at the Woolworth building. Both the Kresge and F. W. Woolworth buildings can be seen.
Views of the interior of the S.S. Kresge Co. in 1930 show a lunch counter, and several items for sale for under one dollar.

Today the five and ten cent stores are just a memory, while larger discount stores and department stores are found along Route 250 in Perkins Township. Library staff members recall watching donuts being made at the downtown Sandusky dime stores, buying candy before seeing a movie, seeing counters filled with household items, buying paper doll and coloring books, and grabbing a sandwich and a coffee at the lunch counter. If you have memories of the old Sandusky five and ten stores, please leave a comments section of this blog posting.


Terry Thornton said...

What wonderful memories of five and ten cent stores. In Amory Mississippi I remember the Elmore 5 & 10 Cent Store --- it had a most unique scent --- odor of new merchandise, the oiled wooden floor, the popcorn machine and the candy counter! Toys to look at and buy, comic books, and new school supplies. Paste/glue (some of us even ate that in the first grade! LOL!) and new wooden pencils (remember the big round ones for beginning students?).

Thanks for a trip back in time. Sniff, sniff . . . I can still capture the "smells" of the five and ten cent store.

Terry Thornton
Fulton, Mississippi

Anonymous said...

Although I am too young to remember the Kresge store my grandmother worked in, my mother has told me many stories she recalls while visiting her mother at work.
I do remember the Woolworth store. I especially recall the one in the Perkins Plaza. As kids we loved the lunch counter with it's colorful fruit drinks of orange and cherry that swirled continuously in those glass dispensers. The inexpensive items you could spend your nickles and dimes on seemed endless, though by the late sixties, it was more like quarters. The one at the mall was wonderful for bargain hunting or just when you needed to pick up some random item, Woolworths seemed to have a little of everything. The little restaurant attached to the store had really good food, very reasonably priced. Looks like we could use a five & dime revival these days!

Judith Richards Shubert said...

Oh, this was such a wonderful trip down memory lane! My very first paying job was behind the candy counter at the Duke & Ayers 5 & 10 Cent Store on North Oak in Mineral Wells, Texas back in the 50s. How time does fly!

Anonymous said...

I remember the donut making machine in the Kresge store at the southeast corner of Columbus Ave and East Market street. While my mother shopped I watched the dough come out of a tube dropping into the hot grease (most likely lard) and go around a circle much like a merry-go-round. When it reached half way something turned it over and when it reached the end it came out and shot down a ramp. Man they were tasty. Today we call them fry cakes. Ron in Florida

ewicket said...

Though I was only in the single digits age group (born in ’51), I remember fondly the Woolworth's store on Columbus Avenue in downtown Sandusky of the 1950s: Savoring the soporific smell from its creaky wooden floors and the sibilant, sauna-like permeance of its radiator steam heat, while my mom’s fingers with the dexterity of a seamstress imported from Europe rummaged airily through well-stocked bins for sewing notions (she made all my clothes).

My dad recalls eating lunch occasionally in the “dime store” as we called it, the lexeme of Wal-Mart that has vanished from America’s wordscape.

Crosby Shoe store shown in the photo next door to Woolworth's sold Buster Brown Shoes and Red Goose Shoes. "Half the fun of having feet is Red Goose Shoes", the slogan advertised.

Also located downtown during that era was the popular Spector’s Juvenile Department Store, named after the eponymous local family who owned and ran it. Our families were friends and together we attended the local synagogue.

In the later 1950's one of the first large stand-alone discount mass merchandisers opened on the outskirts, Bargain Fair -- gone were the wooden floors. I don't know what became of this retailer. We left town in 1959.

A busy grocery store called Marc’s operated in that decade. There, I was sometimes treated to the purchase of a Sky Bar candy bar. Marc’s opened a second store in the later 1950’s in a “newer” shopping plaza along Cleveland Road. They were subsequently bought out by a regional chain Pick ‘n Pay and retitled “Marc’s Pick ‘n Pay (owned then by Cook Coffee Co., later becoming the now long defunct conglomerate Cook United).

I would love to make a trip back there. The charming blocks of Victorian houses and shady buckeye-lined streets remain an indelible home within me. Comfortably I warm by its hearth and fire when the urge to be re-centered invites me in, and draw deep meditative inhalations from those wooden dime store floors.

Atlanta, GA

Anonymous said...

The downtown Kresge store in later years was known as Jupiter, perhaps this change took place when Kmart opened adjacent to Sandusky Mall. I think Jupiter operated into the 1980s. Kmart was S.S. Kresge's discount store concept. Sadly, today both Kresge AND Kmart are now gone from Sandusky, although Kmart and Sears are now the same company.

As for Bargain Fair, was that the store that eventually became Mr. Wiggs? I remember the Sandusky Mr. Wiggs store having wooden floors, and my dad telling me it used to be a roller skating rink.

Gus Metz said...

I have fond memories of the old S.S. Kresge 5 & dime at Columbus Ave & E. Market St. I delivered papers for the Sandusky Daily News at the time and would stop in for a couple of doughnuts on the way to pick up my papers at the News office on W. Water St. Donuts that would melt in you mouth. Covered in powdered sugar, or dipped in frosting! Wow! What a treat. I also sold ice cream bars from Isalys there on Columbus Ave. I hawked them to the other paper boys. Anything to make a dime. Many fond memories. I am now 87 and living in Point Texas but would love to return for a visit to see the beauty of Sandusky and its parks.

fluffy said...

I seem to remember it being Jupiter before the mall was ever built.

AS for Mr Wiggs, my mom remembers it being a roller rink. Before that it was the car barn/shop for the interurban trolleys

liburan di hotel ap inn bali said...

thank,, very nice info

Bookwomanforever said...

Lovely memories of downtown Sandusky from the 1950's to the 1970's. Kresge, Neisner, Woolworth, Jupitor, buzzing the Ave in high school, Big Boy, Flippen's Shoes, Penney's, LaSalles, Spectors, Popcorn Wagon, so many more. My grandmother worked in Woolworth's and my best friend and I regularly stopped at the lunch counter for fries and cherry cokes. We lived on Fulton St. and a favorite pastime was Mom taking the three of us on walks downtown with a stop at Burkel's ice cream on the way home.sandusky was a wonderful place to spend my childhood and high school years.

Unknown said...

Who had the escalator

Unknown said...

Was there a cupies buger place downtown near Markleys

Anonymous said...