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Thread: Small Town Ben Franklin Store - 60 years ago

  1. #1
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    Small Town Ben Franklin Store - 60 years ago

    I vaguely remember the Ben Franklin Store in Cannon Falls when I was a kid - like 60 some years ago.

    It seemed like it had a bit of everything in it! Some things I remember: Ribbons and lace, fabric, kitchen stuff, towels, underwear, greeting cards, candy, cloth diapers, and a few clothes.

    It had a wooden floor and was next to a bank that was on the corner.

    That was the store I got to go to 'on my own' - not that 'on my own' was very far from an adult!

    Do you have any memories of an almost general store from when you were growing up?

  2. #2
    Super Member QuiltnLady1's Avatar
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    Don't have to remember the Ben Franklin -- I have 2 of them that I go to and they have a lot of stuff, though they are more craft store than general store.

    I remember Woolworths -- they had a soda fountain where we could get lunch and some awesome eclairs. I bought my first 45 records there -- they had a little bit of everything but we never bought our fabric there. Mom and Grandma would only buy fabric at Pennys.
    QuiltnLady1

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  3. #3
    Super Member mom-6's Avatar
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    We had a Kress store on the corner downtown. The building still has the name on it lo these many years later. I remember getting shorts (which I promptly wore out sliding down gravel piles in our back lot), fabric, notions, Evening in Paris perfume, and various other sundries.

    There was also a Woolworth's that later became a Ben Franklin store. And later we also had a Perry's where my mom got strawberry plants, flower seeds, and as a teenager I bought fabric (flat fold). Don't remember what else they had but think it was pretty much like what we would now call a dollar store.

    And for awhile we had a Gibson's too.

    Alas, none of them are still around.
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    Super Member b.zang's Avatar
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    One of the best things about summers with my grandma in Oregon was making those trips to Ben Franklin. We had nothing like it in Canada and it always took me a long time to spend my nickles. Now that's real shopping!
    Barbara

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    Yes i liked shopping at Ben Franklin.

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    And, how about Duckwalls (mmm the donuts) and Neisner's.

  7. #7
    Senior Member scrappy2's Avatar
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    We have a Ben Franklin and it has all the great things that a old country store would have. No clothes but they do have fabric. The Dollar Tree wanted to come in and put a store in at the edge of town but it didn't get approved & I'm glad becasue that would be the end of Ben Framklin. I like to browse around & I almost always find something I can't live with out.

    When I was a kid my DGM would take me to McCoys and they had a diner counter. They had the best banana spits & you could picked a balloon with the little paper in it ranging from a penny to .99 cents. Once I got a banana split for a penny, I was so happy.

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    Those really were the days! The Ben Franklin in my town was in a shopping center with a W.T Grants. And downtown, there was a Woolworths, Newberrys, & a P.N. Hirsch. And all of them had fabrics & patterns! And a little of everything!

    We had a nice shopping district...dress shops, shoe stores, an ice cream parlor, drugstores that delivered (& one of them had a soda fountain), a menswear shop, Western Auto, & old time hardware stores that always had what you were looking for! Then Walmart came to town & one-by-one these family-owned (some in their 3rd generation) closed. I really hate what Walmart does to a small town....

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    We lost our Woolworths and TG&Y long before Walmart came to town. We had a Ben Franklin store up in Lynnwood WA, but I don't remember one being in San Diego. There was one in Temecula off the I15 - but appears it no longer exists. Oh the distance we will go to enjoy fabric.

  10. #10
    Super Member burchquilts's Avatar
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    Yep, that's how our Ben Franklin was when I was growing up. I think they even had wedding stuff in addition to some clothes & records & your general five & dime stuff. We had Ben Franklins when I first moved to WI but they were mostly crafts (good crafts, at that). But they closed a few years back. Growing up, we also had a Woolworth's & TG & Y (& Alco... any of you still have Alco?). Then when we'd go to Wichita or Kansas City, there would be Kress (didn't that turn into Kmart?), Katz & Duckwall's. What I miss the most about all of them? The soda fountains! The best ham salad sandwiches I EVER had in my life (& egg cremes!!!)!!!
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    We had 3 dime stores where I grew up Woolworths Kressges and Hesteds woolworth and Hesteds each had a lunch counterit was a hard decision as to which store to spend your allowance in. Kressegs sold a good sized sack pf pretzels for 5 cents and woolworths had snowcones for a dime

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    There was a dime store owned by someone local. I got my first job there for 50 cents an hour. It had old wood floors. You could buy loose candy by the pound. They had a key making machine and even sold house dresses and blouses. I miss that store. The Wal Marts are getting so big I can't find the small things I want. We also had a drugstore that delivered and it's still there. When i was sick they always delivered my medicine and ice cream to make me feel better. What good days they were.

  13. #13
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    We had a VERY small (700 sq ft) family owned grocery store - "Julies" - which was operated out of the front of their home and strategically placed next to the public park/pool. Immediatlely inside the front door was the candy counter and the pickle barrel - both my fav's (whether I bought candy or a pickle with my nickle on any given day was a constant guessing game with my friends!). She also had a great deli counter and the usual grocery staples.
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    Super Member alwayslearning's Avatar
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    When I used to visit my aunt and uncle, there was a general store at the gas station. They had most of what you needed and it was fun to look around. The best thing I remember is buying locally made cheese. We buy some to take home . There, we would leave a big hunk out on the counter and just take some as we went past. Best cheese in the world! Years later, my husband found a pair of sneakers there that he swears was the best pair he ever owned and they cost around $10! Oh, the rest of the town had a church, a bar and some houses, definitely farm country!
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    Super Member Nanamoms's Avatar
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    I grew up in a very very small town which has a gas station, bank, post office and a locally owned general store. There was only a short Main Street. The school was on the other side of the street but we weren't allowed to leave school and cross the street to shop! The next biggest town was 8 miles away and they had a TWL. It was like a general store with old wooden floors and carried everything you could think of. I remember looking at toys and thinking it was a wonderful place to be. And there was a Western Auto which had the most beautiful bikes!!

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    Mr. Miller had a little grocery store on the corner in an otherwise all residentual neighborhood. We could run in and buy enough bologna or cheese for one or two sandwiches....no vacuum sealed cold cuts back in those days.

    Also loved going into the larger department stores in the DOWNTOWN area.. where my Mother would go for her fabric.
    I loved watching them put the fabric through the little measuring machine, click to begin and click again to put a snip when the amount was reached. Don't you just loved reminiscing?

    Thanks for the memories....MaryJane

    thanks for the memories. MaryJane

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    Kresge's turned into Kmart. I prefer Kmart to Walmart, but they left our town when they couldn't compete. I have to go 25 miles to find Kmart now.
    Alice the quilter

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    We still have a BF store and they carry fabric..good for backings and kids quilts...I worked at Woolworths in downtown Grand Rapids when I was junior/senior in high school...one mile to bus stop walking and then ride downtown or catch bus after school LOL that was a long time ago. WOW
    Retired and living in NE Michigan

  19. #19
    Super Member ljptexas's Avatar
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    Boy, do all your comments match mine! I grew up in a small town in central Texas. We had a main street with all the stores & called it 'downtown'. We also called it "Dragging Main". Now to drive down it is soooo depressing. The town in drying up. No jobs! They haven't for years let anything big come in. I remember a 5 & Dime, its now an antique store.
    Now has only 1 big grocery store (lots of convience stores at gas stations), 3 banks & 3 drug stores.
    Thanks to all for sharing memories!!!
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  20. #20
    Senior Member MamaHen's Avatar
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    We had a wonderful Ben Franklin & a Woolworths, which I just loved. We even had a store call Caribou's- they sold fabric along with Penny's & Sears. Oh they were the good old days!

  21. #21
    Senior Member Ccorazone's Avatar
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    We had a small town drug store where I grew up. It had the pharmacy in the back of the store and the over-the-counter through the store. It also had booths for people to sit in for a soda or coffee and stools along the bar. I even worked as a "soda jerk" there the summer after my graduation. Long time ago!!!

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    I remeber a store that had a rectangular tray table with the center missing. It was full of small toys like yoyos and jacks. There was the meanest lady that stood in the center and made sure no kid stole anything. As if we would with her watching our every move. She didn't like kids much.

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    There was a Ben Franklin store in Illinois where my materal grandparents lived. They carried a great assortment of things to interest me. I bought my first embroidery pieces there. The most vivid memory was about 1951 or 52 we were in Illinois for Christmas I was spending the night with my cousin Vicki at her house.They had a 10 foot Christmas tree that had an electric train around the bottom. The tree sat on top of a tunnel and was covered with both antique and hand made ornaments. About midnight the tree came crashing down. At midnight thirty we were in the car going to the Ben Franklin to meet the owners who let us in to buy new ornaments for the tree. We all got home including the owners of Ben Franklin and proceeded to re-do the tree. Fortunately Santa was late that night and we got the tree finished before he came. This story comes out every year when my cousins and their children put up the tree. Sad to say the Ben Franklin and my cousin Vicki are no longer with us, but the memories survive.

  24. #24
    Super Member Caswews's Avatar
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    We have a Ben Franklin in a town south of us, and an Alco nearby. I remember the Duckwall's and used to go into them with a wide eyed little girl look !LOL
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  25. #25
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    I do recall shopping with my Mother at a Ben Franklin store in the county seat when I was a child; it closed after the introduction of WalMart. However, now I shop at a local Ben Franklin store and inside is so many things, including a nice fabric department; a large floral department; custom framing, etc. I recently moved to Kingsport, TN. and am so happy to find this store---hopefully it will be around for long time...seems to be a busy place
    Karo

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