An acquaintance emailed me a really nice bunch of old photos, which I believe originated from The Windsor Star archives. The photo above, (taken in June 1946) shows a store that was once found on Ottawa Street east of Hall. It caught my attention because I live close by. I haven’t had a chance to go by there lately to check what’s replaced it. Does anybody know what is currently at this location?
The other reason the photo caught my eye is because of the recent proliferation of dollar stores in Windsor, along with Money Marts and thrift stores – a clear signal that Windsor’s economy is still struggling more than two years after the onset of the global recession.
1946 was just one year after the end of WWII. The baby boom in Canada started the following year. Money was still pretty tight for a lot of people after years of food rations and inflation so dime stores were a fixture in cities and towns everywhere.
The concept of the variety store originated with the five and ten, nickel and dime, five and dime or dime store, a store where everything cost either five cents (a nickel) or ten cents (a dime). The originator of the concept may be Woolworth’s, which began in 1878 in Watertown, New York. Other five and tens that existed in the USA included J.J. Newberry, J.G. McCrory, S.S. Kresge, McLellan’s, S. H. Dress, TG & Y and Ben Franklin Stores.
These stores originally featured merchandise at only five or ten cents, although later in the twentieth century the price range of merchandise expanded.
Five cents in 1913, when adjusted for inflation was $1.15 in 2009 dollars!
When I was a little girl living on Devonshire Road, I used to walk to Ottawa Street to a dime store which had a really great lunch counter and where I could buy my mother her Christmas presents. I believe it was called Woolworth’s. It was much bigger than the Pickard’s store and I think it was on the north side of the street near Windermere or Lincoln. Anyone remember?
Inflation eventually dictated that the stores were no longer able to sell any items for just a nickel or a dime, and were then referred to as “variety stores” or more commonly, dollar stores.
As for dollar stores, will they disappear like the 5 and dime and soon people will be going to the “5 Bucks store” to stretch their pay cheque?
My source for the information about five and dime stores in this story was found on this link.
To experience another shopping trip down memory lane, you may enjoy Al Roach’s story, Give Me a Dollar to Spend On Wyandotte Street in the 1930s on our Walkerville Times archive link here.