Hello everyone. Today I will be writing a story about my memories at the Zayre Shopping Center that was located at 2750 W Columbus Ave in the Ashburn neighborhood. The stores that I remembered or was told were, Zayre Department Store, Super X Drugs, Wise Way Food Center, Kane Liquors, and Reiters. The Zayre Store had its grand opening on May 7, 1964. The other stores were opened probably in the 60s or early 70s. When my family moved to Ashburn in September 1974, and I was about to enter the sixth grade at school, one of the neighbors mentioned to us if you want to buy school supplies, go to Zayre or at Woolworth’s at Ford City Shopping Center.
We didn’t start going to Zayre until 1975, because my mother starting to learn to drive. So, the first time I went to Zayre, I remembered the smell of the popcorn and saw they sold pizza slices. I had it one time, and it was very good. We also shopped at Super-X Drugs, but instead, we went to the one that was located at Ford City Shopping Center. I also bought school supplies there.
The other store that my mother frequently shopped was Wise Way Food Center. Most of the time it was reasonably priced, and the meat section had very good selections of beef, chicken, fish, and pork. One of the items that Wise Way had was called Sap’s Glazed Donuts. They were delicious. My mother shopped there for years until it closed, and then she went to Colony Foods that was located on SW Highway in Hometown, IL. It used to be a High-Low Foods Store.
The Double Drive-In was located west of Zayre. I have a Facebook page that I run called Ford City Cinema/Double Drive-In from the 50s through the 80s. I will write a story about the drive-in theater at a later time. I run a Facebook group about my old neighborhood in Ashburn, and the people in the group who used lived and shopped at the Zayre Shopping Center had wonderful memories of those stores.
Zayre went out of business around 1990. I’m not exactly sure when the Zayre store closed on W Columbus Ave. Probably before that. I believe The Wise Way Store closed sometime in the mid-1980s. Wise Ways had few locations in Indiana and there is still one opened in Crown Point, IN.
There was one weird memory that I remembered at Zayre and it was the checkout lights. They were white and orange, like the colors of the Creamsicle. One day when I went there and one of the checkout lights was flashing continuously. It malfunctioned, and the cashier told me it been flashing like for two days, and they had to wait for the repairman to come to fix because he was on vacation for two weeks and there was no one available at the present time and the other workers were too busy. When I looked at the light, I could have sworn I heard a strange humming. It was too creepy and spooky to me.
Sometimes I miss Zayre and the commercials on TV. They were very catchy and memorable. We now have Wal-Mart and Target. In some ways, Target reminds of Zayre. Presently, there is a warehouse and a church. It looks like a different world. As the old commercial jingle used to say, “Take another look, take another look, take another at Zayre!” Thank you. Pete Kastanes-Admin for Vanished Chicagoland Facebook Page.