My memories of Wieboldt’s Department Store in Chicago.

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Wieboldt’s Department Store at Ford City Shopping Center at W 76th St & S Cicero Ave in Chicago. The photo was taken in the 1970s.

Hello everyone. Today I will be writing about Wieboldt’s Department Store. The store was founded by William A Wieboldt in 1883. The first store opened in 1884 at the corner of N Milwaukee and N Paulina Aves. Other stores have opened throughout the years in Chicago and the suburbs When my mother got married in Greece and arrived in Chicago in 1962, the first store she visited was at the State Street location in downtown Chicago. When Wieboldt’s opened its downtown store at 1 North State St in 1961, it acquired The Mandel Brothers Department Store. My mother shopped at the downtown location frequently in the 1960s and 1970s until we moved to the Ashburn neighborhood in 1974. She shopped at the Ford City location for years until it closed in 1987. My vivid memories of Wieboldt’s were when I was a teenager living in Ashburn in the 1970s. The store at Ford City was very huge and had an abundance of merchandise. It had everything you need. The thing that was mostly associated with Wieboldt’s, was the S&H Green Stamps. Its redemption center was located in the lower level of the store, and it was always busy. During my high school years, I have applied for a job at the store at least three times. Never got hired. I knew a lot of kids in my class that worked and enjoyed working there. I also remembered the restaurant called The Terrace Snack Bar. I think that what it was called. My mother bought a lot of clothes there for myself and my brothers. The quality of merchandise when it came to clothes, appliances, jewelry, and other items were top-notch. My favorite thing about Wieboldt’s was the Christmas decorations. They were gorgeous, shiny, and colorful. A lot of people fondly remembered The Cinnamon Bear during the holiday season. It was a radio program that debuted in 1937 and was sponsored by several department stores on the west coast, and Wieboldt’s for many years. The Wieboldt’s downtown location had a large toy department called The Toyteria. I vaguely remembered it, and I was told it looked a big Santa’s workshop with toys scattered all over the place. In the 1970s, Wieboldt’s had approximately fifteen stores in the Chicagoland area. I assumed that it would be here forever, but I was wrong. Bad management and the stores trying to stay profitable led to its demise in 1987. I still miss it today. Wieboldt’s wasn’t like Marshall Fields in its heyday. Most of the items at Marshall Fields were expensive, and its merchandise was top quality, whereas Wieboldt’s and Carson Pirie and Scott were less expensive and its merchandise was the same as Marshall Fields. The S&H green stamp redemption centers were fondly remembered as well. I will save that for another story. If you have nice memories of Wieboldt’s, please comment here, and my social media accounts, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I look forward to reading them. Thank you. Pete Kastanes, Admin for Vanished Chicagoland Facebook Page.

6 thoughts on “My memories of Wieboldt’s Department Store in Chicago.

  1. My father was President of Wiebolts for 11 years. We had many happy memories of living in Oak Park and shopping at Wiebolts. They even had a grocery store within the store. I even worked at the S & H Redemption Center in the State Street store. Such fond memories of the 50’s and 60’s. Thanks for the memories. MTK

    1. Dear Monica, I’m doing some research on Chicago department stores. Would you be interested in talking with me sometime about your memories? I would love to learn more about Wieboldt’s in its heyday!

  2. I started working at the Wieboldt’s in the Meadowdale shopping center in Carpentersville,Il when I was just 16…..worked after school and on the weekends until graduation. My department manager knew I was a budding artist with no college money back in 1964 and recommended me for the apprenticeship in the … it was called back then…. display department. I learned everything about visual merchandising! I stayed with them for ten years, becoming display manager of the Lakehurst, Waukegan store. Because of this wonderful education, I then started my own freelance company where I hired and trained 7 young women, who could not at the time afford a college education, in this wonderful career. I thank this wonderful department store for the education path they made available for me! At 73, I am still pursuing an art career as a water color and pen and ink artist,

    1. Dear Regina, Would you be interested in talking with me some time about your memories with Wieboldt’s? I’m doing some research for a talk that I give on Chicago department stores and love hearing stories like yours. Best, Leslie Goddard

  3. My Aunt Catherine Hogan was a Police Woman in Chicago in the 40’s . She worked as a floor detective at Wieboldt’s –West Adams St -Ashland to Ogden, after she was semi-retired. I have fond memories of going to that store when she was working there.At Easter she always gave me a cream egg decorated ,form the store.

  4. These are such wonderful memories! I only remember Wieboldt’s in its late years, when it was in decline. The Yorktown store had dusty display shelves that seemed sad and forgotten. It puts things in perspective to hear about its heyday and the many reasons it was so beloved. Thank you SO much for sharing.

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