Friday, December 14, 2007

247-249 Main Street

247-249 Main StreetWhen I came to Danbury, this was the "five-and-ten-cent store"—Woolworth's, to be exact. You can still see the evidence inlaid at the entrance. Today it's the Danbury Dollar & Gift store. Inflation will do that. A portion of the south side of the original store has been split off into a Chinese take-out restaurant.

Just as today we criticize the big-box stores for driving out locally owned and operated businesses, the same accusations were directed at Woolworth's and other five-and-dime's in their hey-day. By Woolworth’s 100th anniversary in 1979, it had become the largest department store chain in the world. (

I came to Woolworth's to buy everything except food and clothes. You name it, and they had it: makeup and hair supplies, pet supplies (and small pets, like parakeets), yard supplies, clotheslines and clothespins, kitchen equipment, and party goods. It was a dozen stores rolled into one. The selection was somewhat limited compared to what we in the U.S. expect today, but... y'know what? ...sometimes you don't need a big selection. Sometimes you just need to get in, get what you need, and get out. The beauty of shopping downtown is being able to park 10 feet from the front door—closer even than most of the handicap spots at the mall.

No comments: