W T Grant

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Jeff
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Post by Jeff » 03 Apr 2006 00:57

runchadrun wrote:I was only 5 or 6 when Grants went out of business, but I remember 2 stores on LA's Westside.

One was at Culver Center, on the Overland side near Washington. The sign was a tall prism-shaped tower with "Grants" on the top and that was on top of the building. (I mean that the sign was tall with a triangular cross-section.) It later became an independent discount store, I think called "Dollar Saver". I think it's now a Bally Total Fitness.

The other was on the corner of National and Sawtelle. It became a Pic n Save and for the longest time the handles on the door still said "W.T. Grant." It's now a Big Lots.
Odd you should say that. I was at the Culver Center yesterday and was wondering what the Bally's was before it was that. Its a large two story building....i thought it could have been a JCPenney.

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Post by runchadrun » 03 Apr 2006 12:36

Jeff wrote:Odd you should say that. I was at the Culver Center yesterday and was wondering what the Bally's was before it was that. Its a large two story building....i thought it could have been a JCPenney.
Sit n Sleep is where JCPenney used to be. JCPenney closed in the 80s, it's surprising that it didn't close when Fox Hills Mall opened. It was a 2.5-level store, with the the changing rooms in the upstairs balcony. It was a classic JCPenney setup for its era, and I remember other stores with the same architechture.

Originally Sit n Sleep was on the south end of the center right on Washington Blvd to the east of the little street that goes thru the center. I believe that was the first Sit n Sleep, before the annoying "freeeee!" commercials.

tkaye
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Villa Plaza Grant's (Lakewood, Wash.)

Post by tkaye » 05 Apr 2006 02:45

marshd1000 wrote:I do remember that here in the greater Seattle area seeing one WT Grant store, though I had never been in one. At Villa Plaza Shopping Center in Lakewood, WA (outside of Tacoma), there was a WT Grant store. I do remember that for at least 10 years or more, this store was vacant. Anyway, after the enclosed mall was built, the WT Grant building became part of the mall and was occupied by a regional department store chain from Oregon called, "Emporium".
Actually, the Villa Plaza W.T. Grant store became the location for Trident Imports and wasn't vacant for very long. Grant's was one of the first-phase tenants of Villa Plaza in 1957 and was gone by 1975. For the Lakewood Mall grand opening in 1989, the Grant space was split between Volume Shoes and the Lakewood Music Center. It did sit vacant in the final years before it was demolished, however.

Emporium wasn't ever in the Grant's space... it was in the enclosed mall building, roughly where Bed, Bath and Beyond, Ross Dress for Less and Old Navy now occupy in the power center. And actually, the Emporium hadn't signed on as a tenant when the Lakewood Mall first opened... the huge anchor space of nearly 80,000 square feet was vacant! (Definitely a sign of things to come for the Lakewood Mall.)

The Lakewood Mall was a textbook case of how not to build a shopping center -- less than five miles from a super-regional mall with far superior anchor stores (the Tacoma Mall) and no direct freeway access and poor visibility from surface streets with the old Villa Plaza buildings as outlots. Regional department stores as anchors carried little weight with the large military community that would be the nearest customer base, also. On top of that, add an eccentric Greek immigrant (Basil Vyzis) as an owner -- around 1994, he suggested building an outdoor ice-skating rink as an added "attraction." When Vyzis died in 1996, the whole operation went into free-fall, sold to a Canadian firm and then foreclosed upon by Wells Fargo Bank, who unloaded it to the Japanese firm that redeveloped it into the power center. In the past year or so, it's been parceled out and sold off to a couple of different management companies.

Getting back to why we're here (supermarkets), I find it amazing that since 1960, there have been two grocery stores continuously competing against each other on that site. Safeway has had three different buildings (all of which are still standing) and has competed against Associated Grocers clients (originally Thriftway in 1957, then Thriftco, Villa Fine Foods, Larry's Market and now Saar's Marketplace) the entire time. I doubt many centers can claim that feat anymore.

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Post by marshd1000 » 05 Apr 2006 10:58

First of all, I would like to thank Tkaye for correcting me about WT Grant at Villa Plaza. While I do remember seeing WT Grant there, by the time it closed, my folks had moved me to Seattle. So I was not in the immediate Tacoma area when Grant closed. I had thought that it was part of the Lakewood Mall rebuild. But I do remember the facts about former owner Basil Vyzis.

I too also remember there always being 2 supermarkets there also. I also remember that besides, WT Grant, there was also a small JC Penney, and Rhodes.

Speaking of Rhodes, I know the Tacoma stores became Liberty House. I have also heard here on this board that they were NOT related to the Seattle Rhodes. How did that happen being Seattle and Tacoma are in close proximity? When Seattle Rhodes became Lamonts, I was a still a child, so I really don't recall the story there.

Anyway back to Villa Plaza/Lakewood Mall. I also remember that Liberty House in Tacoma became Frederick and Nelson. Before Villa Plaza was transformed to Lakewood Mall, the Frederick and Nelson had become a "Frederick and Nelson Red Tag Clearance Outlet". After Villa Plaza became Lakewood Mall, the last new Frederick and Nelson to ever be built was located there and the Red Tag outlet was closed. Eventually Frederick and Nelson started having troubles and the Lakewood Mall store was one of the first to be closed. This ended up becoming the first store in Washington for Gottschalks and has remained Gottschalks since.

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Post by jamcool » 05 Apr 2006 11:56

We had a Rhodes operation in AZ that changed to Liberty House also (both were owned by the Amfac conglomerate-this was in their ads)....is the the same Rhodes that was in the NW? Liberty House in AZ sold out to Joske's of Texas, who was later sold to Dillards.

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Liberty House/Rhodes

Post by marshd1000 » 05 Apr 2006 16:26

While there are some things that I can't always recall, I do recall that Rhodes in Tacoma was owned by Amfac. I also remember visiting relatives in Dallas where they had Joske's. I remember Joske's was part of Allied Stores which later merged with Federated. The former Allied store here in the NW was The Bon Marche, which is now Macy's.

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Joske's

Post by wnetmacman » 05 Apr 2006 17:33

Joske's was bought out by Dillards in the late 80s or so. Federated may or may not have owned Allied at that point, but none of the Joske's stores are Federated branded now; they're all Dillards.
Scott Greer

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Post by tkaye » 05 Apr 2006 20:47

marshd1000 wrote:Speaking of Rhodes, I know the Tacoma stores became Liberty House. I have also heard here on this board that they were NOT related to the Seattle Rhodes. How did that happen being Seattle and Tacoma are in close proximity? When Seattle Rhodes became Lamonts, I was a still a child, so I really don't recall the story there.
I'm not sure how two chains with the basically the same name ever passed muster with the trade name folks in Olympia. I guess that since there was no overlap between the two chains, it wasn't an issue. I know that oftentimes advertisements would say "Rhodes of Tacoma" (and later, Rhodes Lakewood) and that their official names was Rhodes Brothers, as opposed to the Seattle group of stores which was just Rhodes Department Stores.

The Seattle Rhodes became Lamonts when they were purchased by the M. Lamont Bean empire. I'm not exactly sure of the date of the changeover, but the Tacoma stores had already been sold to Liberty House, I believer... so I guess the name change was just to stroke Bean's ego.
marshd1000 wrote:Before Villa Plaza was transformed to Lakewood Mall, the Frederick and Nelson had become a "Frederick and Nelson Red Tag Clearance Outlet". After Villa Plaza became Lakewood Mall, the last new Frederick and Nelson to ever be built was located there and the Red Tag outlet was closed.
Actually, there was a little bit of overlap with the red-tag store still in operation after the mall store opened up. Vyzis was one of the investors in the local group that tried to save F&N after being sold off by Marshall Field, so I think that was a big factor in its placement in the mall.
Last edited by tkaye on 06 Apr 2006 13:51, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by jamcool » 06 Apr 2006 00:23

It looks like anymore the only dept. store choices at the malls will be Sears/JCPenney/Dillard's/Macy's-with an occasional Nordstrom or Saks. :(

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Post by danielh_512 » 08 Apr 2006 00:20

Except in the Mid-Atlantic.

No Dillard's (thankfully), and much more interesting Bon-Ton and Boscov's.

Sears, JCPenney and Macy's will be quite common though, thanks to the fact we already had some Macy's, a ton of Hecht's, a ton of Kaufmann's, so the problem gets worse.

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Post by Mr. Shopper » 07 Jun 2006 02:03

:D We had a WT.Grants and Grand Way. In Nanuet, NY. They opened in '59 and '61 respectively. It was a real big deal at the time. Then E.J. Korvettes opened in Nanuet in '63. The Nanuet Mall opened in '69. I believe Grants left sometime in the early '70's. Grand Way lasted till about '75. I have a '73 entry in my diary about a trip to Grand Way. On Rt.17 in Paramus. NJ we had a huge Grand Way. Which became KMart it's still there. I got a lot of toys at Grand Way. For some reason I think Grand Way was bigger moneywise than Grants. When they stood side by side on RT.59 those were the days! I would kill for some interior and exterior shots from those days.

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Grant's in San Jose

Post by J-Man » 07 Jul 2006 00:55

When I got my first job out of college and my first apartment, I bought a dark green fake leather sofabed (hey, it was 1974--give me a break!) at the Grant's in the mall on Capitol Expressway in northeast San Jose. The mall's other anchor was Montgomery Ward. I haven't been in that area in at least 20 years, so I have no idea what's there these days.

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More on Rhodes

Post by J-Man » 12 Jul 2006 23:30

The Rhodes stores I remember in the SF Bay Area were in Dublin (became Liberty House) and in the Park-N-Shop center in Concord. I don't remember if that one became a Liberty House or not. I seem to vaguely remember that they tried out a discount store concept called "Rhodesway" briefly. (Akin to Jamesway, I guess.) Anyone else remember this?

wayne winterland jr.
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w.t. grant merchandise

Post by wayne winterland jr. » 13 Jul 2006 00:27

After W.T. Grant closed a lot of their name brand merchandise ended up being sold at Pic & Save stores.
The one thing that stays in my memory at least in the W.T. Grant Stores around the area where I lived in Southern Calif. was the terrible smell that caught your attention as soon as you came inside the store. It was always the smell from the small pet dept. in the stores and it was usually very rank.

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Post by John Michael » 15 Sep 2006 00:40

W. T. Grants had a big store in Riverhead, New York. I believe that it closed in the late-1970's, after it built on to double its own size. Today, it is a Wal-Mart. I even remember this W. T. Grants having its own restaurant and snack bar, in two (2) different locations within the same store. In the early 1970's, I recall seeing Grants City building up on Long Island - all the way out to Bridgehampton. This place later became a Woolco but today is several stores in that one location. But to be honest, I never did care for the place. But I still recall its massive size, especially for the times.

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