Detroit November 09, 2017
9 Stores That Anyone Who Grew Up In Detroit Will Undoubtedly Remember
Modern-day Detroit offers plenty of shopping opportunities. From quirky boutiques to standard retail stores, there’s something here in the Motor City to satisfy every sort of shopper. There are plenty of now-defunct stores from the Detroit area that bring up all sorts of memories for lifelong residents — and we’re here to take you on a little trip down memory lane. Here are nine stores that you’ll surely remember if you grew up in or around Detroit.
Founded in 1881, this beloved department store was a magical place to visit for Detroiters of all ages — especially at Christmastime! At one time, Hudson’s was the taller building in the world, and it thrived during the early to mid-20th century. After being rebranded as Marshall Field’s and then Macy’s, the J.L. Hudson building was ultimately demolished in 1998.
2. Farmer Jack
If you grew up in or around Detroit, we’re sure you remember heading out to Farmer Jack for a few groceries. This charming Detroit-based store prided itself on plenty of savings and a wide variety of grocery items to select from — eventually expanding throughout the region to include more than 100 locations. The company reached its demise in 2007.
This Detroit-area chain first opened its doors in the 1950s and drew in shoppers from across the region at its multiple locations. Unfortunately, with the emergence of "big-box" style supermarkets like Meijer and Kroger, Chatham was unable to financially compete. Today, many former Chatham locations are owned and operated by Kroger.
4. Harmony House
Music lovers from throughout Detroit and its surrounding areas have lovely memories of perusing the record selection at Harmony House. This fantastic little chain first opened in the suburb of Hazel Park in 1947, ultimately expanding to include nearly 40 stores. The last Harmony House location closed in 2004.
No matter what you were searching for, you were sure to find it at Arlan’s. This chain actually began in Massachusetts, but its Detroit-area locations were majorly successful during their heyday. With discount prices and all sorts of unique items, Arlan’s was once a popular locale — unfortunately, the company went bankrupt in 1973 and was forced to close its doors.
Do you remember shopping at Crowley’s? This department store chain was founded right here in Detroit in 1909. Its flagship store and warehouse took up two whole blocks of the Motor City and ultimately expanded to include several locations in the Metro Detroit area. Sadly, Crowley’s closed its doors in 1999.
Federal’s was another well-loved department store based in the Motor City. Founded in 1929, this longtime Detroit fixture is well-remembered by those who grew up in and around the city — from apparel to jewelry, there was something at Federal’s for everyone. After a series of mergers, the chain was officially defunct as of 1980.
This department store chain was headquartered in Jackson, but many Detroiters and suburb-dwellers remember visiting its several locations. Jacobson’s ultimately operated stores in Ann Arbor, Reed City, and Battle Creek. Unfortunately, after over 160 years of service, Jacobson’s declared bankruptcy in 2002.
This unique chain had a little bit of everything: from a lunch counter to a full array of department store items, heading into Kresge’s was an experience. Kresge’s is often hailed as the birthplace of the modern retail store, as its parent company opened the very first K-Mart in the early 1960s. The last remaining Kresge’s, located in Livonia, closed its doors in 1987.
Okay, Detroiters: we’re sure there are other stores we forgot to include on our list. Please feel free to share your memories and suggestions with us in the comment section below. Who knows; maybe we’ll include your ideas in a future article!