Monday, March 23, 2015

Old Stores

Sprouse Reitz:  This was one of my favorite stores as a child. Unfortunately, it went out of business in 1994, though most of its stores closed before that.  There was one in Preston that you could wander through for hours just looking at stuff. The chain was started in Washington State with headquarters in Portland. I can't find out the origin of the store's name but it was likely after a Mr. Sprouse and Mr. Reitz.

Kings: This was the king of stores to my kids.  Before the big corporate stores opened for business, Kings was almost a one-stop-shop.  You could buy clothes, lawn hoses, wind chimes, pencils, makeup, protractors, kleenex, sunglasses, holiday decor, picture frames...and fresh popcorn for a dime! The best thing about the store, however, was the basement, a literal toyland.  We have probably bought over 2000 marbles from the Kings over the years, at least as many caps for cap guns, board games, puzzles, stick horses, hula hoops, you name it. Maybe that's why it's referred to as a "variety" store.  Thankfully, there are at least 26 Kings stores still in business, most of them in Idaho but several in Oregon, Nevada, Montana, Wyoming and Utah.  My favorite one is still Preston, but the one I visit once or twice a year is in beautiful Heber, Utah. Going there is as nostalgic as walking into a malt store with a juke box, almost extinct but twice the treat if you can find one.

Coronet: There was a Coronet store when we moved to Orem in 1986.  It was like a mini-Sprouse Reitz/Kings.  The popcorn machine was right at the front of the store, so if somebody accidentally opened the door, they got sucked in by osmosis.

Bluebird:  Now here's the weird thing.  I have never personally been in the Bluebird Cafe (Restaurant), due to it's reputation of being "high end" for the area, but it is so iconic that I feel tied to it nevertheless. When we drove through Logan recently, I was pleased to see that it was still open for business. Surprisingly, it first opened as a candy store and soda fountain. I see where they still have the candy and soda fountain, including ironport, so maybe I'll have to stop in next trip north.

Smithfield Implement: Going shopping to Preston was a big treat; going even more south seemed a cut above that.  Smithfield wasn't far from Logan. Logan wasn't far from Salt Lake in a kid's mind, so it was always a special day when Dad would invite me to go to Smithfield Implement with him.  I don't know if it still has the same charm inside, but it's still "cute as a bug's ear" from the street, white with bright blue trim.  It should be featured in a family movie sometime.

Horlachers: This is a meat store in Logan, Utah.  For my family, it is a jerky store. It's not any better than Papa Jay's jerky, just in bigger, rounder form.  It's something to eat until you can get to Papa Jay's.  You turn into Horlacher's right in front of the old A&W north of town.  The A&W is remarkable in its own right. At least the outside has not been remodeled since the day it was built in the early 1970's. I wouldn''t be surprised if they serve their root beer in the old chilled glass mugs.

Maddox: A restaurant and drive-in located in Perry, Utah.  Before the freeway, it used to be on the main drag. The only time we pass it now is if it's summer or fall and we want to stop at one of the fruit stands on Highway 89, Utah's Famous Fruit Way.  We used to pull into one of Maddox's drive-in stalls and grab one of their "famous burgers" years ago.  I don't even know if they have a drive-in anymore, but the one time we stopped in several years ago, the line to the restaurant had about an hour's wait and if I have to wait more than ten minutes to get into a place, I lose the taste for it.

Pepperidge Farm Thrift Store: A place near Richmond that is so secret it's on a need-to-know-only basis, so you either know where it is or will have to find out from somebody who wants to take the chance you might buy their cookies and goldfish.  Nik's a very punny guy.  Jared selected a couple of cakes to buy when we were in there recently.  Nik said to him, "So are going to buy your cakes and eat them, too?"  That day they had made an overage of goldfish crackers.  They are about six bucks at a regular store, but they were selling them in bulk, about twice as much for $8.  I bought two big bags and Jason got some, too. It was pretty crowded in there between the fish-laden shelves.  Nik sneaked up behind me and said, "I don't know.  Something seems real fishy in here."  Mom and Dad used to go there to stock up on Pepperidge Farm cakes and bread.  I think they enjoyed the little trip there, too, just as we did.

Stores just aren't the same anymore.  You're in and out, very little to look at and dream about.

Time for a trip to Heber.

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