Downtown Grand Rapids – stores to remember

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My friend, the wonderful Mary Lou Smith, read my “Signs You are a Grand Rapids Native” posts (Part 1 and Part 2) and came up with an amazing list of her own! Here’s a walking tour of downtown Grand Rapids stores.

Downtown Grand Rapids – Stores to Remember

By Mary Lou Smith

Downtown Grand Rapids street scene ca. 1950s (Kenneth Curtis Welch, Box 13, Central Business District via bently.umich.edu)
Downtown Grand Rapids street scene ca. 1950s (Kenneth Curtis Welch, Box 13, Central Business District via bently.umich.edu)

Moderate to Low-priced women’s apparel on Monroe

  • Beverly’s
  • Sarret’s
  • Winkelman’s
  • Darling Shop – where Rosa Parks Circle is now
  • Baker Shoes
  • Sears

Higher-priced goods – on Fulton [One Trick Pony block] and Jefferson

  • Alice Jane Dows
  • Strauss Shop
  • Helen Henry
  • Joseph P. Doody – later at Breton Village, morphed into Leigh’s
  • E.A. Rood – fine china and silver
  • Leocadia Jones – hats [Civic’s costume shop has some]
  • The Moderne Shop – progressive designer wear
  • Jacobson’s – retail royalty [1st GR store was in Pantlind Hotel; 3rd in EGR

Dependable women’s wear

  • Steketee’s [where my clothes and Stride-Rite shoes came from]
  • Wurzburg’s
  • Herpolsheimer’s
  • Bon Marche
  • Blanche LeBaron

Men’s Wear

  • MBM – [Mackenzie Bostock Monroe]
  • May’s – as in Meyer May [Frank Lloyd Wright house owner]
  • George Bulliss
  • Houseman’s – historic GR family business

Non-fashion retail

  • Daane and Witter – gourmet food w/home delivery! [was in current Children’s Museum building]
  • Walgreen’s – BIG Monroe Ave. store, w/lunch counter
  • Peck’s Drug Store – Division at Monroe

30 N. Division – Majestic block in pre-Civic Theatre days

  • Allen’s Bookstore – site of GRCT’s Scene Shop
  • Grinnell Music – 5 or more stories [GRCT’s dance studio/Porter/3rd floor rehearsal space and up]
  • Economy Shoe Repair – on site of GRCT Box Office

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