• Meredith Adhate

Stores of Yore(s) in Connecticut

I was inspired today by a Facebook question I copied from a friend, “Name a store that immediately ages you.” Rather than make us all feel entirely, super old, I decided to look up some info on stores that were popular in Connecticut (or New England) that are no longer in business.

Caldor and Bradlees

Caldor originally started in Port Chester, NY but opened up its second (and much larger store) in Norwalk in 1958. The name came from a blending of the owners’ names – Carl and Dorothy! They were a discount store, but only stocked major brands. They were all gone by 1999 when they were sold off to Kohl’s. Bradlees was another discount store in a similar vein. Anyone else remember the heavy popcorn smell inside at the snack bar? Bradlees was named after Bradley Int’l Airport and first opened in New London – also in 1958 like Caldor. Curiously, they were owned by Stop & Shop and until the 80s, almost all plazas with a Bradlees also had a Stop & Shop. Bradlees was finally gone for good in 2001. The one in Danbury became a Walmart.

Ames

The Caldor Rainbow: Ames Store Locator

Ames was a Massachusetts-founded store with its headquarters in Rocky Hill, CT – another company begun in 1958! Ames was a department store, created to cater more towards smaller, rural towns. They all closed down in 2002. Do you remember Ames having a red or turquoise logo?? Time to show your age 😉

Waldenbooks

Waldenbooks at Solomon Pond Mall | Mall stores, Vintage mall, Mall

Waldenbooks first got its start in 1993 as a book lending store in Bridgeport where people could rent books for 3 cents a day to offset costs of living in the Great Depression. Eventually they became full-fledged book stores, later being acquired by K-Mart, then Borders, then sadly were dissolved once Borders was fully dissolved in 2011 (also, R.I.P. Borders – Loved that store!)

X-Pect Discounts

Abandoned Connecticut : Xpect Discounts to close their largest CT store

So I didn’t know until today that 1. the headquarters for X-Pect Discounts was in North Haven and 2. They were only a CT company! X-Pect was a discount, but fully-stocked grocery store with dry goods and produce. I remember mainly going to the Danbury one (it’s an Edge Fitness now) but I do remember the ones in East Haven and North Haven. Though there were only a few locations, they all closed by the end of 2016.

Danbury Fair Mall (and its old fountain)

The Caldor Rainbow: Danbury Fair Mall Renovates by 2008

I *think* that’s a Cingular store on the bottom floor??

Okay okay, the mall is still there and (possibly) bustling but I still remember back when it looked like the picture above with the huge fountain in the center. I’m trying to rack my brain to think of some of the now-gone stores that used to grace its halls – Time Out Arcade, Contempo Casuals (also CT-based!), Imaginarium, The Nature Company (where I’d obsessively play with the rain sticks), Filene’s (still my favorite department store), Lechter’s – kitchen supplies (the worst smelling store imaginable – I dunno what it was, but it was the grossest chemical smell in the world), Babbage’s (cameras/video), 5-7-9 (teen clothes), Rave (also teen clothes which was located, for no apparent reason, in the food court once the arcade went out), the Disney store, the Warner Bros. Store, The Wall (where I bought many a tape and CD and it came with the little sticker so if your tape/CD ever died they’d replace it for free!)

Buying music at THE WALL and having that Lifetime Music Guarantee sticker  on the back : nostalgia

Lifetime of the store, unfortunately! I think my Space Jam tape still has this sticker…

I also remember Thom McAn shoes, Radio Shack, Wicks ‘N Sticks (wow I have not thought of that candle store until today!), and TSX (skater clothing/accessories store I can’t find *anything* about from google but loved it). Can anyone remember any other stores that were at the mall in the ’80s and ’90s? I think there was a Brooks pharmacy before CVS moved in, too.

My experience, as you can see, focused mostly on the Danbury area where I grew up but tell me about which stores you remember from your part of CT! Also, shop local! 🙂

#ctmalls #xpectdiscounts #oldmalls #connecticut #connecticuthomes #defunct #connecticutmalls #stores #ames #danburyfair #ctdefunct #defunctstores #atthemall #danburyfairmall #waldenbooks

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