Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thoughts on a thing of the past

Okay, so last night as I was having trouble sleeping I got to thinking about this old department store in my hometown growing up called Hinshaws. That place was the greatest!!

There were 2. One in Arcadia and one in Whittier. I never went to the Arcadia one. it was one of those great old department stores that had EVERYTHING. For ladies, that is. It had a beauty parlor and restaurant -- don't find that too much anymore. Come to think of it -- lots of stores in my childhood had those things. I think it was more of an event for women to go out and just do it all in one day. They'd go with other women and make a day of it. At ONE place!! i think malls destroyed this tradition(though I loooove malls!!)

Anyway -- Hinshaws. Where do I start? They had a double decker parking lot in back. On the bottom entrance that is where the beauty parlor and housewears were. I think my Grandma used that beauty parlor a couple times(when her regular place was booked or her hairdresser was on vacation). After you walked through housewears there was this long cooridor with red carpet. One way led to the toy department, the other led to the bargain area(in the old building). I loved walkiing down there!! Also, at the entrance to the bargain area they sold girl scout and boy scout stuff(only department store I have ever seen do that). The bargain area had this weird mural of colorful penguins or something in one corner -- kids' clothes area. Upstairs was even more awesome. Above the bargain basement was the linen area. That led out to the Trolley Stop Restaurant and the small mall that was built onto the store(the store outlasted it, actually). I remember the restauarnt had red vinyl booths and that cool gold bubble glass.

Back inside upstairs were mens and women's clothing. Maybe kids', too -- that is a little fuzzy to me -- i just remember it in the bargain basement. They probably had baby stuff up there, too. The escalators were also in the linen area. There was also a stairway and I'm sure an elevator, but I can't recall the elevator. Anyway, I got my first bra at Hinshaws and continued buying bras there(until it went out of business) because the sales clerks in underwear were experts on bra fitting so I always got a good one with the best support!! They also had a bridal gown department with this great "stage" with the mirrors for the brides to look at themselves in their dresses. Jewelry was also upstairs. They also had a studio that offered dance and modeling classes.

The best thing about Hinshaws, though, was Lucky Number Days. They did this twice a year. If you had a charge card with them they would send you like a 5 or 6 digit number. Then you went to the store and looked for your number in different places. If it was there you got something free. One year I got a pink sweater in the bargain basement. Another year my mom got a bra. It was so much searching for those numbers!!! I looked forward to that every April and October.

You, know, I am wondering if I am mistaken about the bargain basement and if that was actually the children's department???? I really don't remember anything else down there. And I can't recall any other kid and baby stuff unless it was near the toy section(opposite end).

So, those are my fond memories of Hinshaws? Anyone else in Southern California remember that store? What are other people's favorite stores from childhood?


Kim said...

Oh man! You know, my mother didn't shop there that often, but I do remember those things you mentioned. My favorite store of the past would be Buffums and Bullocks in LH. Fashion Square in general was pretty cool too.

Robyn :) or Scout(meow) said...

My next post is going to be about those stores!!!!