Hello everyone. Today I will be writing about my fondest memories of shopping at Polk Brothers Appliance Stores in Chicago. They were one of the most well-known businesses in the Chicagoland area for many years. The stores were very distinguished for its top-quality products and customer service. In 1935, Sol Polk opened the business with his three brothers and his sister. It was first called Central Appliance and, Furniture located at 3334 North Central Ave in Chicago. The company changed its name to Polk Brothers in 1946.
The first item that my parents bought at Polk Brothers was a refrigerator from General Electric. We moved to the Ashburn neighborhood in September 1974 from Roseland. It was brown, large, and sturdy. When we moved to Oak Lawn in late 1995, we brought it with us. We don’t use it anymore, and it is unplugged in our garage. We bought the refrigerator when the store was at Ford City Shopping Center in Chicago. It later moved to Burbank, Illinois, when my family bought a reclining chair for my father. He loved that chair! I remember the store had numerous television sets on display. It additionally had washing machines, stoves, vacuum cleaners, dishwashers, and record albums.
Over those successful years, Polk Brothers had a few promotional items on sale. There was the Polka Santa and Frosty The Snowman life-size blow molds. Introduced in the early 1960s, they were the most desired items in their company’s history. Some of the remaining ones are in antique stores and on sale at eBay. The stringed musical instrument, the Polk-a-Lay-Lee Ukelele, was another sought-after item. That one is very scarce to find. I also remembered The American Heritage Dictionary of The English Language and The Random House Encyclopedia.
The salesmen at Polk Brothers were very famous. As you entered the store, they hounded and watched you like a hawk. Most of the time, people were walking out of the stores, holding their merchandise with smiles on their faces. My family and I walked into the store and knew what we wanted. The salesmen were always present at the front entrance. We informed them what we were looking for, and they showed it to us immediately. They were excellent and never caused us any trouble.
During the holiday season, the displayed items were beautiful. I loved their Christmas catchphrase Polks A Poppin’. I remembered seeing their Christmas trees on display. They had green, white and sometimes pink. The Polk Santas and The Frosty The Snowmen were there too. The advertisement sales in newspapers, radio, and television were everywhere. In the 1980s, VCR’s and video camcorders were big sellers. They were brands sold there that don’t exist anymore. Admiral and Zenith are examples.
Polk Brothers went out of business in 1992. I was sad when I heard the news. It lives on as The Polk Brothers. Foundation and is one of the largest charitable organizations in Chicago. There are big discount chain stores such as Best Buy, Wal-mart, and Target that sell appliances these days, but they are not the same. Polk Brothers was a unique store in Chicago. I wished it would come back. I have a Facebook page called A Tribute to Polk Brothers Appliance Stores in Chicago. I post newspaper ads and vintage items from the store. Please check it out if you are on Facebook. Thank you. Pete Kastanes. Admin for Vanished Chicagoland Facebook Page.