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Thread: Smaller American cities with full-service department stores downtown

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Smaller American cities with full-service department stores downtown

    At the risk of looking like that former member ...

    Yesterday, after replacement of the head gasket, timing belt, and water pump, I put a couple hundred miles on my Subaru Legacy. I took the long way down to Binghamton, and was surprised to find, in that city's otherwise nondescript downtown, a still-operating, full-size department store, Boscov's. It was truly an old-school department store; the kind of place my mother dragged me to in the 1970s; five stories, a restaurant, toy and electronics departments, and non-stop announcements of sales and specials.

    I'm curious how, while larger upstate cities like Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse seem unable to support any kind of downtown retail, much less a department store, little Binghamton managed to maintain a retail anchor. Large cities still have a critical mass to maintain downtown retail. Medium-sized cities are just large enough where, among those with disposable income, downtown is more of a hassle to get to than a suburban mall. Small cities may have an advantage for downtown retail - the metro is small enough where a trip downtown isn't a major inconvenience for those in the 'burbs, which might just be 10 or 15 minutes away.

    Other small cities in the United States that still have functioning department stores that I know of include Scranton, Wilkes-Barre (both with Boscov's), and Charleston WV (Macy's , JC Penny, Sears). What else is out there?
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Not much left in Michigan. The last ones died out about a dozen years back with the closure of Jacobson's and Crowley's. One of the final ones was Sperry's in Port Huron and its been gone for close to ten years now.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Found one more:

    Sheboygan, WI (Boston Store)
    Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of the cancer cell. -- Edward Abbey

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    Cyburbian hilldweller's avatar
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    Greenfield, MA (Wilson's)

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    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    I know life has just never been the same for me after Herpolsheimer's closed. Both sides of my family are from G.R. and I have fond memories of riding the Santa Express at Herp's. Part of my childhood died when they closed their doors. I was delighted, though, to see/hear Herp's mentioned in the movie "Polar Express".
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

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