There aren’t too many local department stores in America anymore. I suppose you have regional stores like Menards Hardware but I don’t think I see anything truly local in the big cities like we once did.
If you grew up in Chicago, McDade’s was a destination shopping trip for all your needs! With eight stores around the city, it was a warehouse separated in two halves. The first half was a luxurious, carpeted department store with TVs, jewelry and video games. They referred to it as a “catalog showroom.” The second half was an early big box styled store that housed shelves of small appliances, toys and other bric a brac.
One of the coolest parts of your trip to McDade’s (ours was in Lincolnwood – across the street from the very famous “Purple Hyatt” – featured in the film Casino) was at the end of your shopping. You would make your purchases through the store, but for the big ticket items, you wouldn’t put them in a cart. You would hand the cashier a ticket and then go to the conveyor belt near the exit where you item would come rolling out to you.
My mother bought several of my Bally Astrocade (and later Sega Master System) video games there. Watching that little box come zipping out at me was pretty exciting stuff.
Of course, this story doesn’t have a happy ending. (When do they?) After 30 years in business, McDade’s closed in 1988. Our store became a site for a condo. But, I have many wonderful memories of buying GI Joe guys there. I’m pretty sure that’s where I got Blowtorch.
So, enjoy a McDade’s Christmas Commercial from around 1980! That little jingle is etched in my memory forever.
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