Thursday, January 05, 2017

Yet Another Era Bites the Dust

Yes, a mixed metaphor, but you get the idea.

When we arrived in Detroit in 1966 it did not take us long to make the acquaintance of the J.L.Hudson Company. In downtown Detroit (and yes, there was a vibrant downtown) there was the flagship Hudsons store. Check out the link: it is mind boggling that the city which has become synonymous with crime and decay once boasted such a jewel. I have so many happy memories of riding up and down the escalators, of wandering around the classy and extensive fabric department, of eating at the fabulous restaurant—and the day in 1966 when we were Christmas shopping going to a huge bank of telephones with a dime clutched in my hand to call the obstetrician's office for the results of my first pregnancy test. We bought clothes there, we bought furniture: in fact it was possible to buy pretty much anything.

When the children came along it was a little harder to make the trip downtown, involving as it did the parking garage and the maneuvering of strollers between floors. But by this time the era of the Mall had begun, and there was a Hudsons out at Eastland Mall in Harper Woods, about twenty minutes from our house. That became our store of choice, anchoring the Mall which also contained a J.C. Penney store. Over the years we heard that the downtown store had come on hard times. Our friend Charles who often came to stay and always combined his trip with an excursion to Hudsons reported that whole floors were being closed down, until eventually came the great implosion.

We could still purchase whatever we needed at Hudsons in the Mall, although the store changed hands, becoming Dayton Hudsons, then Marshall Fields and eventually Macy*s (sic, they love their little star.) There were bigger Macy*s stores at the up-scale Somerset Mall and at Lakeside but all of these required a longish drive.

The writing was on the wall. Two of the four floors at our Mall store closed down and so it was no surprise when I looked in my Facebook feed last night and found this article. I am very sad. I don’t see myself driving way across town too much and I grieve the lack of stores close to my zip code. Whenever chain retailers consider Grosse Pointe as a site for a new store, I am told they draw a circle round the area to see what their customer base would look like—and find that 50% of the circle covers the lake. Circumstances being what they are, I am shopping on-line more and more, but I do not find that a satisfactory way to shop for clothes.

Goodbye Hudsons, Dayton Hudsons, Marshall Fields and Macy*s. I enjoyed knowing you.


Z said...

Lowestoft, where I grew up, had a couple of excellent department stores - we used to get all our clothes etc at Tuttles and furniture and other household stuff at Hailey's. Then there was a major fire at Tuttles and it was closed for months and never recovered. Such a pity. In Norwich, there's still one family-owned department store, which started out primarily as a bookshop and stationer's - most of the ground floor is now taken over by cosmetics and beauty treatments, but if that keeps it in business, good for them. Other department stores are chains now, including upmarket ones, and all towns and cities have the same shops in them, you can't tell where you are. It's sad but inevitable. I admit to doing more shopping online myself, largely because driving into the city is very restricted and I can't carry shopping far.

Maggie May said...

We also are having to manage with fewer favourite stores as several have gone into liquidation and closed down.
I blame internet shopping!
Maggie x