Wisconsin Attractions October 14, 2017
9 Stores That Anyone Who Grew Up In Wisconsin Will Undoubtedly Remember
It’s a good time of year to get nostalgic for things from our childhood and how they used to be. These are the stores that used to dominate the landscape and who’s advertising you couldn’t escape. Sadly, they are no longer here — but the memories lives on. Here are 10 stores that used to be synonymous with shopping in Wisconsin:
1. Kohl's Food Stores
Before the department stores went nationwide, Kohl's also had a corner on the grocery market — especially in southeast Wisconsin. The stores had an iconic design and you can still spot buildings that have since become something else but are clearly former Kohl's Food Stores.
2. American of Madison
These folks eventually became American TV and Appliance before closing a few years back. They had catchy tv advertising and seemed like the only place to go when your parents needed a new refrigerator or bigger television.
It feels like there isn't a Wisconsinite without a fond memory of Gimbel's. A true department store, you could buy everything from clothes to toilet paper to lunch there. A trip to Gimbel's was often an event or a treat and it was where you went to buy your "good" and special clothes.
If Gimbel's was where you went for special clothes, Zayre's was where you went for school clothes. The discount store was perfect for the type of stuff you wouldn't get yelled at for playing in or getting dirty.
5. Red Owl Grocery
This chain out of Minnesota has mostly been phased out, though a few independent stores still remain, including in Green Bay and Brownsville.
A true five and dime, it always felt to me that there wasn't anything you couldn't find at a Woolworth's. Getting to sit at that long lunch counter and enjoy a soda or ice cream was a treat after following mom around shopping all day.
7. Pill and Puff
Did you know a convenience store in downtown Milwaukee still sports this name? It's difficult to imagine the moniker going over in this day and age, but before Walgreens and CVS dominated every corner, small little discount drug stores like Pill and Puff were everywhere. The downtown Milwaukee location was a hive of business folks on any given day.
8. Marshall Fields
When many of the local Gimbel's were or closed, they became Marshall Fields. A younger generation than the one that remembers Gimbels remembers Christmas shopping and displays at Marshall Fields.
9. Oriental Drug
It's not easy to describe this eclectic spot to someone who never saw it, but it was an iconic and eclectic gathering spot on Milwaukee's east side for many years. There was a long, long lunch counter that was an unofficial meeting spot for many. But there was also the huge drug store that carried nearly everything you can imagine. Going there felt like traveling to a different time, a bit.
What are your memories from these spots? What other iconic stores do you remember from growing up in Wisconsin? Let us know in the comments.
Looking for more Wisconsin nostalgia? Check out
17 Things Everyone Who’s Moved Away From Wisconsin Has Thought At Least Once.