Kresge’s – 1990

November 2, 2012

Happy Friday, and welcome to November…

Today’s picture was taken April 17, 1990

The caption on the back reads:

    S.S. Kresge Co. is closing after 61 years in Windsor – 245 Ouellette and Chatham

I’m at the age now, when I don’t think of 1990 being that long ago… and suddenly I realize it was 22 years ago. Share your stories Windsorites, who’s got fond memories of this place. I moved to Windsor at the end of summer 1989, and I don’t recall visiting the store when I was open, although I do remember the building and a do remember it getting knocked down for the new Royal Bank that now stands in its place.

Have a good weekend everyone, see you back here Monday. Don’t forget to roll your clocks back an hour before bed tomorrow night…

43 Responses to Kresge’s – 1990

  1. windsorite-in-exile on November 2, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Major downtown destination of its time. Something for every age, taste, and purpose. Take all the suburban behemoth box stores, shrink ‘em down and combine ‘em into one funky human scaled space, add food – this is what you get. Creaky wood floors and bakery smells, great daily specials at the lunch counters. Buy a pair of pants, or a parakeet. Latest Beatles’ 45? We got it! Coffee pots, blankets, and brooms, penny candy and birthday cakes…..Feeling chilly on a cold winter’s day? Just drop in and hang out for a while, walk around or have a cuppa coffee at the counter. Matronly waitresses in starched white uniforms with little white hats, pencil behind the ear…

  2. Shawn on November 2, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Would have been nice to have something like that downtown today… even two.

  3. Lanny on November 2, 2012 at 7:55 am

    Don’t forget the great smell of the donut-making machine while waiting for the bus on a cold winter Saturday morning: flipping the raw dough into boiling grease and flipping them back out to cool and take a ride on a figure eight conveyor belt. Plain, dark brown, crispy on the outside; warm and soft on the inside. My heart still murmurs for ‘em after all these years!

  4. Clare on November 2, 2012 at 8:33 am

    Last of the major downtown retail establishments and a big part of the memory of anyone who grew up in the city! I don’t think I ever had one of their doughnuts but I sure loved watching that machine.

    Twenty years ago seems like forever until suddenly you find yourself remembering things that happened then. Eventually it becomes “only” twenty years. lol

  5. WED on November 2, 2012 at 8:59 am

    I love the corner entrance..Classic.
    I remember as a child in the late sixties, my mother would take me there to shop. We would take the crosstown bus from the west end to Wyandotte and Ouellette and walk down to Kresge’s.
    Back in those days it was customary for children to wear a device called a harness which enabled a parent to keep a child close by in a busy store or on a busy street. It was made of leather and fit over the child’s shoulders. A metal hook was at the back to which a leather strap could attach. ( kinda like a dog leash now that I think about it )
    I still remeber feeling goofy attached to my Mom by this silly contraption but felt much better when in Kresge’s for two reasons…1. a delicious grilled cheese sandwich with a pickle garnish was waiting for me at the lunch counter and 2…. just about every other kid in that store was attached to their Mom with the same goofy looking harness.Misery loves company ! We laugh about it to this day..

  6. Tom Watson on November 2, 2012 at 8:59 am

    I thought that colour photography was available in 1990? Kresge’s went along with a lot of downtown, because of the convenience the mall offered. Lots of easy parking, everything in one place with a controlled climate, and without the vagrants and lowlifes that took over the downtown.

  7. Tom Watson on November 2, 2012 at 9:01 am

    Also, I will never forget the authentic hardwood floor!!

  8. Hal Sullivan on November 2, 2012 at 10:10 am

    Remember how in the 1950s, Kresge hot dogs were 10¢ and hamburgers were 15¢? Coffee and tea were 10¢, too. I bought my first Elvis Presley record there on the Quality label (it was 78 rpm). One guy used to walk around the store wearing a Mexican sombrero and some of the other people simply talked to themselves. In this electronic age if there were another Kresge’s today (Woolworth’s was next door to the south on Ouellette Ave., by the way) we’d just see folks yammering away on cell phones and never interacting with one another directly. There were actual attendants behind the counters, too. What a great place………but then, the whole of downtown was a great place. And if you drank too much coffee or other beverages in the “Men Only” or “Ladies And Escorts” beverage rooms, you could always find solace in the underground public rest rooms which were in the middle of Chatham St. east of Ouellette. Those were the days!

  9. Hal Sullivan on November 2, 2012 at 10:12 am

    Remember how in the 1950s, Kresge hot dogs were 10¢ and hamburgers were 15¢? Coffee and tea were 10¢, too. I bought my first Elvis Presley record there on the Quality label (it was 78 rpm). One guy used to walk around wearing a Mexican sombrero and some of the other simply talked to themselves. In this electronic age if there were another Kresge’s today (Woolworth’s was next door to the south on Ouellette Ave., by the way) we’d just see people yammering away on cell phones and never interacting with one another. There were actual attendants behind the counters, too. What a great place………but then, the whole of downtown was a great place. And if you drank too much coffee or other beverages in the “Men” and “Ladies And Escorts” beverage rooms, you could always find solace in the underground public rest rooms which were in the middle of Chatham St. east of Ouellette. Those were the days!

  10. Hal Sullivan on November 2, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Remember how in the 1950s, Kresge hot dogs were 10 cents and hamburgers were 15 cents? Coffee and tea were 10 cents, too. I bought my first Elvis Presley record there. It was on the Quality label. It was 78 rpm but you could get 45s of it as well. One guy used to walk around the store wearing a Mexican sombrero while other unusual folks simply talked to themselves. If there were another Kresge’s today (and Woolworth’s was next door to the south on Ouellette Ave.) we’d see nothing but people yammering away on cell phones and never interacting with one another. Pity. There were actual attendants behind the counters, too. What a great place….although then, the whole of downtown was a great place. And if you drank too much coffee or “other” beverages in the “Men Only” or “Ladies And Escorts” beverage rooms, you could always find solace in the underground rest rooms which used to be smack in the middle of Chatham St. just east of Ouellette. Those were the days!

  11. Carole Anne on November 2, 2012 at 10:26 am

    A Repeat (2012)
    Ahhh… Kresges…One could always find a gift for every occasion & for every budget !
    After classes in the afternoons (early to mid 60`s) , a bunch of us (St Mary`s high school students… decked out in our plaids & beanies !)would head down to Kresges to share a cherrie coke & fries. The floats were the best !
    Carole Anne

  12. Richard McIntyre on November 2, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    The mall in Windsor had little if any reason for the end of Kresges, changing times and attitudes in shopping habits did it. Woolworths at one time the largest retailer in the world. now try and find them, the last Woolorth branded stores closed in England about three years ago.
    In 1962 came the dicounters,K-Mart Woolco, Target, and Walmart.this was the demiss of many downtowns,shopping habits changed the dime store was no longer the go to endall location.
    Shopping habits change over time, now we have Costco,Future Shop Bestbuy,Lowes, Home Depot,whats next?

  13. Joe Longmoore on November 2, 2012 at 4:06 pm

    We got our wedding cake there. $35.00

  14. gary on November 2, 2012 at 5:52 pm

    Kresge’s had atmosphere no other store could even hope to have many a happy saturday was spent in that store with my grandmother perusing the alies everything was sort of thrown togeather with those little glass deviders eddie francis says windsor has vibrance there hasn’t been vibrancy in Windsor since the mid 50′s-60′s boy!! i miss downtown windsor of the past

  15. Jane on November 2, 2012 at 11:47 pm

    The wonderful floors!

  16. RED on November 3, 2012 at 6:31 am

    all those beautiful memories for sure. I applied for my first job there, along with every other girl I think.
    Remember the floorwalker in his black suit with the rose? Kids today will never have these memories. All the new stores are such vacant, empty cold atmospheres.

  17. Norm on November 3, 2012 at 8:03 am

    Kresge’s was founded by Sebastion Spering Kresge. An interesting fact that a lot of people don’t realize, is that in the 1970′s, the company officially changed it’s name to Kmart. However, it did retain many of its smaller stores, and they kept the name S. S. Kresge. In fact as many people will remember, Windsor had both stores. Personally, I was a teenager when Kresge’s closed, but I always liked it more than Kmart. Nicer atmosphere, friendlier service, better food and generally better prices. It’s a pity we’ve lost so much to “progress”. By the way, Sears now owns Kmart/Kresge’s corporation.

  18. gary on November 3, 2012 at 9:10 am

    Last year just before the holidays my neighbour gave me a small artificial Christmas tree and a couple boxs of old ornaments the price sticker on the boxs says SS Kresge 79 cents after looking at the photo i realized when they built the RBC bank they kept the original door locations minus the pelisher street entrance one thing i remember about the doors the push bar had the store name stamped in to it,it”s like the ghost of Kresge’s still haunts Ouellette

  19. Jay Thompson Ricard on November 3, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I worked at Kresges in my mid-teens, for about 2 1/2yr. during the mid sixties. Since I was still in school, I worked Thurs. & Fri. nights and all day Saturdays. Busy….busy…busy and more bustling is how I remember Kresges! In no other store could you hear a cacaphony of wonderful sounds. The creaky wooden floors, tinkling of coffee cups, the budgies squawking and the Beach boys 45rpm records being played from the record counter along the front windows!!! I remember also that dark, scary stockroom, with the wide stairway just off the back (Pelissier St.) doors. I worked down there during the Christmas rush, marking/labelling everything from cups and decorations, to underwear and paper goods. Mrs. Walters taught me how to operate the ticket machines, the kind that ran a pin through the price tag, & attached it to clothing. Also, Miss Luck, the lady with the pencil behind her ear, who ran the portable cake/pie/dessert counter just inside the front doors, right near the cigarette counter!……..ahhhhhh YES….those were the days!!!

  20. Tom Polarbear on November 3, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    WOW memories. I remember back in the summer of 1967 working at Adams Furniture as their truck driver hearing crowds cheering, I went up to the top floor of the building and threw open a window. It was the cheering fans of the Detroit Tigers at Tiger Stadium in Detroit. Also went into Kresge’s everyday for coffee and lunch sometimes. My mum made me samdwiches for lunch and I had french fries & gravy at the back lunch counter. Coffee was not in cups or mugs, but came in disposable plastic liners that fit into conical shaped holders. I used to visit the large budgie cage to talk to the birds and teach them dirty words. Loved the creaky wooden floors and the heavy chrome around the windows and doors. Best lunch was grilled cheese sandwich & fries with gravy! Before that I worked a short time at K-Mart at Huron line & Tecumseh in the furniture dept. I had to wear a suit daily and had to go to Sam’s Department store on Ottawa Street to get one.
    Ahhhh memories!

  21. Richard McIntyre on November 3, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I think if you check the holding company that owns K-Mart, also owns Sears ,they moved the headquarters to the Chicago Sears offices.

  22. Mary on November 4, 2012 at 7:54 am

    My dad was a baker there in the 60′s. I remember walking there with my mom, (we lived on Bruce) in the early 70′s and what I remember most of that store were the wooden creaky floors, jello came in little glass pedestal bowls and in my small mind back then, ‘large’ bins with sale items in them. The store seemed so huge to me too.

  23. gary on November 5, 2012 at 11:58 am

    richard i know what your saying but the dimestores of the 50′s and 60′s had character not like the big box stores we have today i grew up around pillette and wyandotte back then and we had a neighborhood dimestore GRAYSON’S it was like Kresge’s as soon as you walked thru the door the old wooden floor and smell greeted you it was like stepping into another world

  24. pcnyc on November 5, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Kresge was downtown’s comfy meeting place before the idea of Tim Horton’s was hatched. That lunch counter provided many a $2.50 cheeseburger deluxe during my university days. And those creaky floors! Can’t help but repeat remarking about how glorious they sounded. It was a great old building and and wonderful place to hang out. I miss it.

  25. JT on November 6, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Not to split hairs, but the Kmart holding company actually bought Sears and then assumed the Sears name and the former Sears HQ in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, leaving the former Kmart HQ at Big Beaver and Cunningham Drive in Troy, Michigan empty…Cunningham Drive taking its name from Harry Cunningham, the Kresge President who launched the Kmart format in 1962. Sears/Kmart did leave it’s IT Operations in Michigan…I believe located in leased space in Troy.

  26. mike wannick on November 6, 2012 at 11:10 am

    Maybe a little off topic but did Woolworths and Metropolitian have lunch counters ? I think so but I’m not sure as I was young when my mom dragged me through these stores ???

  27. Brian on November 6, 2012 at 11:35 am

    hi Mike, I think Woolworths and Metropolitan did also have lunch counters. I remember going downtown taking the bus on Saturdays in the 50s/early 60s with my mom and sometimes we would go to the lunch counters for a snack etc. I think we went to Kresge’s more often for that, but remember Woolworths having one for sure, cant exactly remember about Metropolitan for sure. I too remember the creaky floors in Kresge’s, the smells as you went in the door from the bakery and the lunch counter, and the busy sounds as someone mentioned, between music playing from the record bar to the murmurs of people talking. Was a great place for sure, and as someone said, the lunch counter for coffee etc was the Tim Hortons of that time.

  28. Mike on November 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    They had the best hamburgers ever. Cooked and then kept in a kind of gravy.

  29. shann on November 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    I enjoyed their special deserts and the family atmosphere of the department store. Now there isn’t a family oriented establishment downtown.

  30. robert on November 7, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    I too have fond memories of S.S. Kresge as mentioned in the many great postings here, their cream puffs were the best. I grew up nearer to the Kresge at Dorwin Plaza and although smaller, they had a lunch counter at the back of the store where a sundae could be had for a quarter. Then a look at the Matchbox cars under the glass display case before exiting out the back door to look at the deer, black bear and male peacock at the Windsor Sportsman club.

  31. Brian on November 8, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Robert, I forgot about that Kresge’s that was at Dorwin plaza until you mentioned it. Not as big as the downtown store, but did have a lot of the same variety of merchandise. I had also forgotten the lunch counter that was there, although I dont remember if we ever had anything at that one.

  32. John McDonald on November 8, 2012 at 1:17 pm

    I loved this store. I can still recall the creaky wooden floors and that unique smell from the donut machine. The cheeseburgers were better than anything from McDonalds or Burger King and very inexpensive too. Their goods were great value and the store had good old fashioned customer service.

  33. RED on November 9, 2012 at 5:40 am

    love that memory you brought up about the bear, deer and peacock in the sportsmen compound. I always felt sorry for the dog in the pen who would bring his bowl to the doorway as if he was hungry for food and company. Gosh those were good memories.

  34. David Hansen on November 13, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I worked at both Woolworth stores from 1980 to 1983. There was the downtown store, and the store on Ottawa Street. Both had lunch counters. The food was good at Woolworth’s, but Kresge’s was better. To me, Kresge’s also had a much nicer atmosphere, with the old wooden floors and the overall layout of the store. I remember riding my bike downtown with my friends in the late 1970′s. We always stopped at Kresge’s for something to eat. Many, many good memories. Have any pictures of the interior of the store ever turned up?

  35. Jay Thompson Ricard on November 13, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    For Brian and Mike, yes the ‘old’ Metropolitan had a lunch counter against the back wall. I’m not sure about the new one they had built after the old one exploded. Woolworths also had a lunch counter..it seems ALL those types of stores had sit-down lunch counters with Kresge’s having 2 ‘stand up counters for fast food on the run. One was at the back entrance by Pelissier & the other was at the front of the store at the corner of Ouellette & Chatham st.

  36. Shawn on November 15, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    Haha now we have a McDonald’s in a Walmart.
    Yikes have times ever changed!

  37. Richard McIntyre on November 15, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    McDonalds have been in the Windsor stores since they built their own buildings,at least five years ago or longer.

  38. Shawn on November 16, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Yes, and it’s a lot different from how stores used to be.

  39. george on November 20, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Didn’t they served their hamburgers on a china plate and their drinks in a tall glass instead of a paper cup?

  40. Domenic. D on January 23, 2013 at 6:31 am

    the french fries!! thats what i remember about kresgi`s !! they were good mmm!!

  41. Loretta LaPensee on July 2, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    Thank you so much for these wonderful pictures on this site. Yes, I too along with David would so love to see interior pictures of Kresge’s, Woolworth or Metropolitan Stores. I can’t remember if it was Kresge’s or Woolworth but their meat pies with gravy were amazing!! In the mid 60′s I was in my teens, baby bonus back then was $8.00 a month and you could buy a whole outfit at Kresge’s for under that..blouse and slacks. I too remember the under ground washrooms. It almost makes the heart ache for those days…doesn’t it? :)

  42. Susan on September 15, 2013 at 6:37 pm

    Does anyone reminder the banana roll my grandma use to bring it home all the time I would love to no were I could find one

  43. linn on September 30, 2013 at 1:14 pm

    there was a happy spirit over Windsor in those years—-50′s and 60′s early 70′ and Kresge was the great store that EVERYONE WENT TO AND GOT EVERYTHING THEY NEEDEd…..so many happy times for us kids back then—it was so boring going with mom and dad –paying their bills -and ect..THEN!! LETS’ GO TO kREGES AND GET SOMETHING TO EAT AND DRINK—.it was funn–they had the best hambs’ and fries w/gravy–and pop…watching the people as we sat around the horse shoe bar was sooo interesting–all kinds of sorts and sizes…everyone got their birthday–wedding–shower–stag–CAKE–there…called in the morning and picked it up in the afternoon—i still remember my mom saying;;Did you get the cake…!!!!! then we got older and we always shopped at Kresges for the Mothers -Father Day—Christmas-Easter_Halloween….those orange soft toffe kisses were so good–they don’t make them anymore. they also carried that fav perfume”"”"”"EVENING IN PARIS”” it as in a dark blue bottle and you bought it in a set—that was ours—now its worth few thousands for a unopened set of this stuff….go figure?–and all we paid was $2.99 ….we should bring all this good spirit back to our town—but first we need to kick the ol; dark cloud thats hanging over it first.

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