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Ten things kids who grew up in St. Louis in the 80s will remember

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ST. LOUIS– Children who grew up in the 1980s are in their 30s and 40s now. Here is a list of some places and memories that have a special place in the hearts of St. Louisians that grew up during the era of getting Happy Meals at the floating McDonalds, back-to-school shopping at Venture, and visiting the Magic House back when it was only one small house.

The Floating McDonald’s

The world’s first floating McDonald’s opened on the banks of the Mississippi in St. Louis on March 11, 1980. It was moored just south of the Gateway Arch for 20 years before closing in the year 2000.

Grandpa Pigeon’s

Founded in 1954, GrandPa Pigeons and GrandPa’s offered steep discounts on products. These stores were a fixture in St. Louis for decades. Many people also have fond memories of working or shopping at GrandPa’s stores!

The Magic House when it was only one house

The Magic House opened on October 16, 1979. It started as a quaint 5,500 square foot Victorian mansion. Since then, it has grown to 55,000 square feet. Now, adults that remember it as only one house get to explore the additions with their children.

Saturday morning cartoons on KPLR11

Children have fond memories of waking up on Saturday mornings and watching their favorite cartoons on KPLR11. Looney Tunes and Disney were just some of the cartoons kids watched. KPLR11 is known for its cartoons, sitcoms, movies, dramas, and local sports.

Union Station singing fudge workers

One popular stop in Union Station was the Fudgery. It was known for its singing confection slingers. A large group would gather to watch the fudge being made. You also got some free whiffs of the sweet smell.

Crestwood Court Mall

This was a popular hang out for many children who grew up during the 80s and were teens in the 90s. It was the first major mall in the St. Louis area. St. Louis teens remember going to the movies here, hanging out in the arcade, and checking out the food court. The mall closed in 2013 and was demolished. Now, Dierbergs and McBride and Sons are planning a development on the land.

Shopping at Venture

Children of the 80s will no doubt remember going up and down the aisles of Venture with their parents. It was likely a popular stop for back-to-school shopping. The chain had 70 stores across the Midwest with a large footprint in St. Louis, Chicago, and Kansas City. The stores closed in 1998.

Cruising Lindbergh

The stretch of South Lindbergh from Ronnie’s Plaza to the former K-Mart at Lemay and Lindbergh was the infamous area where people would gather and go cruising. Ronnie’s parking was one of many packed on the weekends. While you may still see some people gathered in those parking lots, its heyday was in the 80s and 90s. There is even a Facebook group called the Lindbergh Cruising Association. They did an anniversary cruise a few months ago.

D.B.’s Delight quiz show

D.B.’s Delight was a locally produced children’s television quiz show produced by KMOX-TV which is now KMOV. The show ran 30 minutes on Saturdays and Sundays and aired in St. Louis from 1977 to 1988.

The Arena

The Arena may have opened in 1929, but children who grew up in the 80s were the last generation to make memories there. It may have been at a hockey game or a concert. Others say they remember seeing shows like Disney on Ice there. The Arena, also known as the Checkerdome, came tumbling down during an implosion in 1999.

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Discount retailer Here Today faces involuntary bankruptcy as creditors file petition

Water Tower Development, Edge Imports and two other area creditors filed a petition to push St. Louis-based discount retailer Here Today into voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy, according to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Missouri.

The creditors, which also include 800 S. Duchesne and Lohr Distribution Co., allege that Here Today still owes $337,925.

Here Today in December said it would close its eight stores in the region, citing challenges from its rapid expansion and lenders who were reluctant to finance "smaller, new concept" retailers. In a statement to the Business Journal in December, the company said it's attempting to recapitalize and planned to restart sometime in 2019.

At the same time, creditors took to the courts. Between September and December, five creditors were seeking at least $342,350 combined from the retailer. Two more lawsuits were filed in February by creditors seeking another $61,589.

The eighth and most recent was filed March 13 by Lohr Distributing Co., which claims it provided $24,834.40 in goods to Here Today and has sought payment several times.

Howard Smotkin of Stone, Leyton & Gershman in Clayton is representing Here Today and did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In a statement emailed to the Business Journal in December, Here Today officials said they were "addressing each matter on a case by case basis."

The company was founded by Tom Holley in 2013. Through his holding company, GPO Merchants & Operators LLC, Holley sought to raise $3.75 million to launch Here Today. Instead, he pulled in $6 million in funding. Listed with Holley as company executives at the time were William Shaner, George Meyer Jr., Jeff Schneider and Daniel Staton.

Holley once operated discount chain Grandpa's, which he sold to Value City Department Stores Inc. in 1999. Grandpa's was founded by his grandfather in 1954. Following the sale of Grandpa's, Holley launched Deal$ Nothing Over a Dollar, which he sold to Minneapolis-based Supervalu Inc. in 2002 for an undisclosed amount.

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18 Stores That Anyone Who Grew Up In St. Louis Will Undoubtedly Remember

Posted in St. Louis October 16, 2017by Laura Burks Overstreet

If your memories of Kmart include the smell of freshly popped corn and a flashing blue light, then you will probably enjoy this walk down memory lane of super cool places St. Louisans often shopped. Most of these places are long gone, but a few still hold on with online-only stores… which isjust not the same shopping experience we all enjoyed! Read below to be transported back to the past.

During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
This store operated from 1892 to 1984, with the first store on Washington Avenue taking up the entire block. Like many long-time retailers, they sold a variety of goods, but had an emphasis on a little higher priced and better quality items. They ultimately sold to Dillard's when they became unable to compete with prices to stay competitive.
This not-so-long-ago store was a go to place for all cool electronics. There was always an expensive variety of electronics, and the stores always seemed a little darker than they needed to be. Perhaps to help all of the electronics "glow?" Another thing Circuit City is less fondly remembered for was the restocking fee on returns. This was never a good idea!
One of the very first five and dime stores, Woolworths was also one of the first stores to put items out for people to touch and buy. When Woolworths started in 1879, it was the custom for the shopkeeper to get the items from behind the counter - similar to a modern bar. This selling feature and the low prices made Woolworths a favorite for generations. It's wasn't always the best quality, but it was perfect for things you had to buy on a budget.
Ben Franklin stores are still open, but aren't many left these days. Starting as a five and dime store, Ben Franklin was middle-of-the-line in quality, and stores were often smaller than their competitors, making it hard to compete. At some point, they became a craft supply store, though some do still carry a wide selection of buy-the-piece candy and other hard to find sweets.
This icon of mall stores was the anchor for most mega-malls across America. Long before malls were a shopping destination, the Downtown St. Louis Famous-Barr drew people from all over the city to shop and to see the creative window displays here.

Famous-Barr enjoyed a long period of success with a wide range of products and a huge selection of clothes, but like many stores in the age of the internet, similar quality products for a much lower prices could be found online.
Shopping at a Venture store was much like shopping at a modern Wal-Mart, only you could find everything you wanted and you didn't have to walk six blocks inside the store to get it! Did you "save with style" or "see what a little money can buy" at a Venture store? Do you remember their old advertisements?
Opened in 1956 and eventually spreading across the county, Zayre was a deep discounter selling inventory akin to the original Ben Franklin, but with more fashion choices in their clothing department. Zayre closed all stores in 1990.
Radio Shack does still have stores, as well as an online store, but gone are the days when there was a Radio Shack in every neighborhood where you could take your broken electric device and find a fix. The Radio Shacks we grew up with were places filled with extremely knowledgeable people who loved helping those us of less versed in all things electrical.
Another sure stop on a mall visit was B. Dalton bookstore. There was nothing fancy at this store, but you could always find a great deal on books... which was ultimately their downfall. The deep discounts they always offered kept revenue low and, in the end, they just couldn't compete with the larger book stores.
The Sharper Image store was probably the coolest store ever to visit. Things here were state-of-the-art and usually completely unnecessary. The store is still in operation as an online retailer with a focus on electronic products for the home. They do still have interesting gadgets, but sadly, no place nearby you can try it before you buy it.
For anyone who remembers the 905 Liquor Store, you'll be happy to know there are still a few 905s around... but you'll have to go to Arkansas to find them. The 905 Liquor Store in St. Louis opened shortly after Prohibition ended and was the place to go when you needed beer, but were light on cash. It was a full service liquor store, beyond the beer they made with the iconic image of Saint Louis.
National Supermarkets were once some of the largest grocers in the country and had slogans like "Super-Nation Market" and "The Underpricer." The last slogan seemed to add to their eventual shuttering when they, like so many other larger retailers when business slows, started cutting prices to keep customers. Unfortunately, the resulting revenue was too low to keep the company in operation.
An exhaustive search yielded few images of this beloved St. Louis store, but we had to include this old St. Louis favorite - so here's a photo of a real grandpa instead! Founded in 1954, GrandPa Pigeons and GrandPa's offered steep discounts on products. These stores were a fixture in St. Louis for decades. Many people also have fond memories of working at GrandPa's stores!
Montgomery Ward offered products similar to Sears, which was their main rival in department store sales. Montgomery Ward sold quality products that lasted, but did you know they are also responsible for the creation of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" in 1939? Back in these days, department stores gave away items when you visited, especially around the holidays, and this coloring book created by Robert May was one of these promotional items.

Another St. Louis born retailer, Scruggs Vandervoort Barney sold products much in line with the original Famous-Barr... but with increased prices. They created beautiful window displays that people from all over St. Louis would come to see. They took over Mermod Jaccard King Jewelry Company and continued business for years under this retail name.
Borders bookstores were huge! Unlike B. Dalton, where you went when you actually wanted to buy a book, you could go to Borders and spend hours perusing the inventory with a cup of coffee. Also unlike B. Dalton, Borders were almost always an anchor store, so if you did buy books, you didn't have to lug them through the mall back to you car. The company is one of the more recent to close its doors; they filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations in 2011.
This department store sold a variety of items and is another store people remember fondly. This no frills stores were normally large with plenty of inventory, and the discounts here were in line with Kmart.
Blockbuster Video stores were the place to go for newly released movies before you could order them right from your TV. Going to rent movies was a fun experience, but you had to get there early on new release days or you would find your movie had already been snagged by someone else! Another drawback of renting a movie was the need to get it back the next day... or risk being charged again.

Blockbuster opened many stores during their heyday and put many mom n' pop shops out of business; however, during all that expansion, they failed to keep up with the changes in technology and closed most stores by 2014.

Do you remember these stores? Do you have another great store to share? Please do in the comments below!

For other historic St. Louis places, check out this list of St. Louis neighborhoods that will transport you to the past.

Trip to California - Super Giant King Pigeons \u0026 Grandpa’s Oriental Chickens


GrandPa's Discount Store logo.svg
IndustryRetail (Department & Discount)
Founded1954, St. Louis, Missouri
HeadquartersSt. Louis, Missouri

Key people

Tom Holley, Jack Holley
ProductsClothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, electronics, and housewares.

GrandPa's or GrandPa Pidgeon's was a discount store founded in 1954 by Tom and Mildred Pidgeon, spreading across the midwest from its Bridgeton, Missouri (located in St. Louis County) origins, which remained truly "discount", when most others like Venture, Kmart and Target gradually raised prices in order to finance a more attractive layout and broader range of merchandise. Tom Pidgeon, born in Sebring, Ohio in 1902, was in the low price china business from the early 1930s to the early 1950s. He sold his company, Pidgeon Vitrified China in 1953 when he foresaw the impact plastic was having on the lower end dinnerware market. The first Grandpa Pidgeon's was opened in February 1954 and managed by his son-in-law, John (Jack) Holley, born in 1924 in Galena, Kansas. In 1958 Jack Holley began a separate but related enterprise known as Grandpa's, and opened a store on Collinsville Road between East St. Louis and Collinsville, Illinois. Over the next decade, Holley subsequently opened several other stores in the St. Louis metropolitan area, before buying the company outright from his father-in-law in 1968.

Holley formed the Gramex Corporation in 1970, which also oversaw such companies as Forsythe Computers and Omni Sports, which was forced to close due to increasing competition.

In 1986 Jack Holley retired and turned the company over to his oldest son Tom Holley, who presided over an expansion both within and outside the metro St. Louis area into locations such as Greenville, Illinois and Farmington, Missouri, among other places. By the late 1990s there were thirteen Grandpa's locations.

GrandPa's was sold, in 1999, to Value City[1]. It had approximately $200,000,000 in sales in its final year. It was profitable until its sale, failing to end only 1993 in the black, but was said to be facing a harder struggle near the end.

The company was known for their newspaper distributed advertising circulars that were printed mostly with black ink on a brown paper, in contrast to the glossy full color circulars of competitors.

See also[edit]

  • Deal$, chain of discount stores founded by Tom Holley in St. Louis, later sold
  • Jack Murdock (actor), portrayed Grandpa Pidgeon in television advertisements

Pigeons locations grandpa

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