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Worcester,Mass - Places of the Past, Woolworth's
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Neil H Donahue - Report this comment
Woolworths was right next door to JJ Newburys Both were what we called Five & Dime Stores or nickel & dime.
Pete Taylor - Report this comment
Didn't JJ Newberrys get bought out and changed to SS Kresge? I remember Kresge's right across from Front street in the 50's.
Norman Caissie - Report this comment
Kresge if I'm not mistaken was on Main St. across from City Hall.
kresge's was on main st next to the denholm building,behind woolworth's was grants
Frank LeCour - Report this comment
Indeed Kresges was on Main St. across from City Hall. My mother worked there for many years and as a kid I would meet her there.
Richard Card - Report this comment
I remember sitting in front of the Woolworth's during parades it was the best place to get a seat and then going inside for a coke or just look around at all th eneat stuff - ahh to be a kid again.
Richard Card - Report this comment
I remember sitting in front of the Woolworth's during parades it was the best place to get a seat and then going inside for a coke or just look around at all the neat stuff - ahh to be a kid again.
Joseph Connors - Report this comment
Brings back a lot of fond memories. I assisted in the revamp of F.W. Woolworths. A great instant replay what Worcester really was.......
What I remember as a kid at Woolworths was their huge Banana Splits that every so often you got to pop a baloon and get it for free sometimes
I was a kid in the 50's and my Mom and I would ride the bus "up city" and shop. Woolworth's along with the other Five & Dime stores had most of what we needed. Then we'd go to Rexall Drug and by that time it was lunch. The snack counter in Woolworth's had toasted tuna salad sandwiches, cut into triangles, which I had never seen before. I remember the balloons too, that had a discount ticket in it for a banana split after the balloon was popped. We bought our cookies there from glass jars just like you see now in bulk bins of grocery stores. If Mom needed a new piece of oilcloth cut to use as a table cloth, one of the five & dimes had that too. We always had to stop to see, and hear the talking Mynah bird that was in one of the stores. After shopping we'd go to the downstairs bathrooms at the commons and wait for the bus to head home, but first we'd buy popcorn from the popcorn wagon as it was popped right there over an open flame and the old man would pour melted butter over it. We'd sit on the green benches in the commons, eat our popcorn and share it with the pigeons. Ferraro's on Shrewsbury St. had the BEST Italian food around. The bakeries there, and on cobblestone Water St. had great bagles and hard rolls that we called bulkies. If we borrowed my uncle's car, we might go to D'Lairs furniture store, and maybe to Table Talk Pie Shop. If we needed hardware, we'd go to the Standard Paint and Hardware store too. There was an ice cream store right next door. When we went to get gas in the car at the Shell gas station, we'd get green stamps. I recall in the late 50's an automated food shop opened where you'd buy a slice of pie or a sandwich from a huge machine that the doors slid open up after you paid. It all seemed so modern. The elementary schools that I attended were very old and I walked home for lunch. There were no school buses, no cafeterias, no phy.ed, sports, or band classes. Our kids now have it pretty easy, yet I would not want to face their challenges. ~Marilyn
Will (Billy Sturtevant) Marengo - Report this comment
Marilyn painted a vivid picture of how I remember Woolworths; right down to the tuna sandwiches and the tickets in the balloons. The place seemed to be always packed with customers (a forerunner of WalMart) and it was hard to get a seat at the lunch counter. It was the early 60's for me. Oh, and I remember Grants and especially Kresgees.
Barb (Siergie) Knox - Report this comment
The Mynah Bird - I'd forgotten, it was downstairs in Woolworth's wasn't it? English muffins and Coca Cola at Kresge's was one of my favorites. My aunt worked at Fanny Farmers so I always went downtown and into the store. She had me convinced that chocolate was good for me. Mechanics Hall and the wrestling matches... All the movie theaters, although I wasn't allowed to go to some of them. I think it cost $.25 to get in. Gas wars on Shrewsbury Street in the 60's. Speedy's Drive-In. What memories this brings back. Barb South High Class of '64 Main South
Barbara Whipple - Report this comment
I remember Woolworths very well. It was the first job I had right out of High School. That was the summer of 1963. Christmas was great in the store with all the lovely decorations and the great bargains. Woolworths sold everything and anything you needed. I also loved Kesgees and Grants too. It brings back good memories of days gone by. It was wonderful time; parents had time for their kids and the kids had time to spend with their parents. Those were good days!
Woolworth's was a great 5&10 and a popular hangout for teens. It was also used as the main "cut-through" to the next block. I remember them for banana splits, tuna sandwiches and french fries --- you could pop a balloon for a discount or free food. Woolworth's also sold candy by the pound --- I remember 1/4 lb of white chocolate with almonds was $.25. A family friend reminded me that I took her to Woolworth's on the bus to pick out any ring she wanted when she was preschool age ---and how wonderful she thought I was. I'm sure I let her choose from the .25 ring case and vaguely recall that rings were separated by price.
darla hunter - Report this comment
We use to have a Woolworth's in Riverton in the 60's and they served a dessert that I think was called refrigerator cheese cake. It was light and fluffy about 3-4 inches tall. Am looking for that recipe. Don't know if it was a woolworth's dessert or a personal. Could you help? Thanks Darla
Janice (Pepin) Young - Report this comment
I remember S S Kresge's also for I started to work there at fifteen and worked there all through high school. I worked in every department there and was definitely on main street. I was game to try anything and the hula hoops came out and I stood on main street and demontrating them. I had some good times there. In fact my late husband met me while I was working there and we were married 39yrs till he died. I miss Worcester and have gone back to visit but it sure has changed.
Jerry Madore - Report this comment
Woolworth's on Front St.... a great place to work while in high school. I worked there from 1957-1959. Many people don't realize that there was a 1/2 3rd floor in the rear of the building that housed the kitchen, bakery & offices. My first summer there I assisted the baker's.. Frank Cipro, the group leader, George Brunelle, George Rousseau, Big George (can't remember his last name, but he made great doughnuts) & Dot Chennette, who did all the cake frostings. I would bring all of the pastries down to the 1st floor bakery via the slow freight elevator in the rear of the store. The elevator was so slow that I could consume 2 doughnuts each trip down. Needless to say , I was never hungry @ lunchtime. In the afternoon I'd usually spend time as a busboy or grease pans for the baker's who started work around 4 or 5 in the AM. The manager of the Food/Restaurant Dept. was Joe Nadeau & his assistant was his son-in-law Lenny.... a very nice hard working guy who passed away from a heart attack @ the age of 27. In addition to the long luncheon bar on the 1st floor there was also a slightly shorter bar in the basement, plus a stand-up luncheon bar next to the bakery on the first floor. In the kitchen there was Brad, the head cook & his assistant Charlie plus my Dad, Adrian who made all of the salads. There were three dishwasher's.. Ernie, the only true chain smoker that I ever met ( probably only used 3-5 matches a day for his cigarettes) then there was Gordon & another man I can't recall his name. The General Manager of the store was Mr. Bellus who had taken over from Mr. McCormick. His assistant managers were Ralph Eaton, Joe ?? & Phil, in the basement. Maintenance was Pete Zinkevitch & Pete Connors & George Stanton. Receiving & the stockroom were in charge of Pete Zinkevitch Jr. who was known as Junior ( I worked for him in the stockroom my last year there). Let's see, how many of my high school peers do I recall. Waitresses... Ingrid Schlemminger, Bev Anger, Claire Melanson, Paulette Palin, Dolores, Jane ( Supervisor) & her sister Joan. Many cute young ladies worked there. Part time Kitchen help.. my buddies Ron Valois (Trade) & Everett Cox(South). Oh yeah, I can't forget Peter, the Mynah Bird, who resided in the basement pet area. He didn't say much during the daytime, but he had quite a bit of salty language that we could hear in the early morning hours before the store opened.
I worked for Shawmut Bank in the '80s in their office on Main St. They were in the old Kresge's, and the file room still had the escalator in it (it wasn't functioning).
Roland Waters Jr - Report this comment
Yes I remember walking downstairs in Woolworths going into the pet department which was always my favorite as a kid. I purchased our first parakeet there named bud, he died a few months later but we still bought more parakeets there. I used to walk thu the bottom exit to the back of Woolworths and right adjacent across the street was Grants bottom floor entrence. I always went right into Grants after going to Woolworths. Grants had great milk shakes and the candy counter was always where all my friends would buy there penny candy to take to the theatres. I actually remeber the taste of the BLT sandwich's that Woolworths was known for, also there club sandwiche's that were always cut in quarter triangles with a tooth pick in the center. There blue plate specials were 99 cents, and the bannana splits were usually 99 cents but if you opoed a balloon you could get free or at a lower price, only once in my youth did I ever get a free bannana split! I also remeber Kresgees and right next door was the RX Pharmacy that still had the old fashioned soda fountain! I used to go in and get chocolate soda's! My father owened and managed many city diners back in those days, he really knew everyone back then. I never liked Worcester when they destroyed the Downtown vibe and the really neat energy that flowed in the town, when all the changes were made it reflected a really bad subculture that formed and I knew as a young man it was going to destory Downtown all together, and it did! Well thats just a few of my great memories of downtown Worcester.
raymond wyman- December 08, 2007 - Report this comment
woolworths was the greatest....bought alot of pets and my girl friend(my wife now) use to go there to get hoagie sandwichs.....that is where i got our wedding rings
DIANA FLOREZ- December 31, 2007 - Report this comment
Lori Grobelny- August 21, 2008 - Report this comment
One of my fondest memories of being a child in the 50's was going to Woolworth's and other 5 and 10's with my mother. The 5 and 10 is a part of Americana that can not be replaced. It was a treat to look at all the novelties, and in my case, most especially the toys every time we went there. Dolls were most important to me at the time, and I always had to look at doll accessories and clothes. The lunch counter was another treat, and I'm sure that's the reason that to this day I have more than a liking for Cherry Coke. It was especially enjoyable to be in Woolworth's around Christmas time. Seeing all the decorations there just made the holidays even more fun. I still have and use decorations that were bought there. I really wish we could see stores like this in today's world. Compared to today, they were much simpler and more innocent, but definitely better.
susan- December 09, 2008 - Report this comment
Don't forget that W T Grant was across the street from Woolworth's. My grandmother would take me downtown to the movies and then for a $.25 banana split at Grant's or Woolworth's
ann c- January 06, 2009 - Report this comment
I so vaguely remember Grants ... wasn't it on the corner ... I think it was ... on the same side of the street .. (and later became bank ... (now I know not what ...) In Woolworth's ... it is kinda cool to remember the tuna sandwiches and shakes ... a lure of my teenage friends ... I remember the huge fabric section upstairs when we were looking for fabric and wool skeins for the fashions we wanted to make ... I remember feeling very sad that it closed because there was not a lot of similar options for fabrics to create our designs (or any designs) at the time. How sad that for our children today to be creative, they have such limited options ... junk piles (and I certainly don't disparage junk piles ... great stuff) but not a lot of other higher quality options. We had multi-level, multi-faceted options to access to express our creativity. Are there artists out there who can help the kids of today? ...
S- January 11, 2010 - Report this comment
My Mom and Dad met while working at Woolworths in the early sixties.
John Compton- September 20, 2011 - Report this comment
I am a Woolworth vet of 43 years currently in upstate New York. It is a pleasant surprise to have found this interesting nostalgic site. The memories of the Pic A Balloon Banana Split are most interesting. That promotion was started in April of 1960 by a store manager in Saint Mathews Kentucky a suburb of Louisville. It went on to be the longest running promotion of a single item in the companies history. After the companys closing author Karen Plunket-Powell wrote of it in her book Remembering Woolworths. I have the original 7" x 11" sign made in store for the promotion. It reads,Pick a Balloon, Jumbo Banana Split 1 cent to 39 cent, Try your Luck.It was an instant success and picked up by the Woolworth Cleveland Ohio Regional Office, then by the NY Executive Office and accross the country by managers calling others. Then it was stopped as several states ruled it a gambling procedure. The bottom line on the sign was changed from try Your Luck,to, Pay The Price and it was again started.I was the manager who created it 51 years ago. Visit the ebay site for Woolworth to find many interesting Woolworth items being offered for sale. Question; Does anyone have the recipie for the Woolworth Hoagie sandwich that is mentioned on this site?
Janice- January 14, 2012 - Report this comment
I grew up in the 60s and had totally forgotten about Pick a Balloon until I just read your post. What a cool memory! My mom used to take me there for lunch and once and awhile would even let me try my luck! I remember buying fabric and dress patterns and other misc notions there when I was small. As a teenager I had my picture taken in the photo booth. I remember going there with my friend Sandy to buy white lipstick which was so popular in the late 60s. It was sad when it closed because it was such a fixture in downtown Worcester.
Vern- January 21, 2012 - Report this comment
All these comments on the stores could just as easily have happened in Atlanta. We had Grants, Woolworths, JJ Newberry, the balloons for the banana splits. Even the talking mynah bird. Growing up in different cities with virtually the same memories. Amazing.
M. Dupras- March 31, 2012 - Report this comment
The best strawberry shortcake ever! Imagine three layers smothered with creme and strawberries, forget the little debbie short discs.
Diane- April 19, 2013 - Report this comment
The old five and dimes--what fun and great memories! Does anyone have the recipe for the barbecue sandwiches that were served at the small lunch counter just inside the two front doors at the Kresge's dime store in Jackson, MI? I would love to have that one!
L.Ryan- April 22, 2014 - Report this comment
Does anyone know the receipe for their strawberry shortcake?
RobertaHicks- August 09, 2014 - Report this comment
Does anyone from Cleveland oh, remember the parrots name at woolworths on west 25st .please let me know.tks
Allen Klatsky- October 01, 2014 - Report this comment
Woolworth's was a stop that I made almost every school day. Had to change busses at City Hall to get to North High. My best friend's Mom work there and he would stop in every day. I can remember one of the longest lunch counters that I've ever seen and meeting Bobby Sherman in the record dept. one day. I also remember Chet, who ran the watch repair at the rear of the store. Bought a watch from him that I still have.
Gail- March 19, 2016 - Report this comment
Woolworth's is where I would but the 45's , Hey Jude on one side and the long play Hey Jude on opposite, 3 45's for $1.00, nice way to spend babysitting earnings. Nice walk "downtown" but did not like to walk near the bus station. Miss the old Worcester.

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