Learning from the ads | Turning Back

Recently, we examined stories from the news-press’ “Let’s Get Acquainted” guide, published in July 1982, which offered insights into life in St. Joseph 40 years ago.

A newspaper is more than just the articles, though, and a lot of great information is found in the advertisements. Taking another look at that guide, with particular attention to the ads, we learned:

— There were 38 tenants at East Hills Shopping Center, and not all were retail shops. A listing also showed the Belt American Bank, Duling Optical, Fox Theater, Midland Energy, Travel & Transport, St. Joe Petroleum and the Red Lion Inn. They joined popular clothing stores such as the Surrey Shoppe, Mister Guy, Gail’s Fashions and the Tango Boutique, as well as Hirsch’s, Joe Optican, Montgomery Ward, Musicland and Waldenbooks in drawing folks to the mall.

I’m reminded of stories we ran on East Hills when it opened in 1965, promoting it as “a little city in itself.” With a bank, a theatre, a travel agency and a bar, it’s clear some of that energy still existed in 1982.

— Similarly, a full-page ad from Downtown merchants showed energy there as well, powered by a new pedestrian mall on Felix Street. The mall was pictured prominently in the ad, which also displayed the logos of AJ August, Emile’s, Diane’s Card and Party Shop, LaMode, the Paris, Sukut’s Fine Jewelers, Mannschreck’s, Townsend & Wall and Werner’s Shoes, among others.

“DISCOVER…Some Reasons to Park and Shop Downtown!” the ad proclaimed. “Downtown Makes the Difference!”

— Not to be outdone, the South Side tooted its horn in a full-page ad. Harold’s Men’s Wear, Dick Smock Pharmacy, Lynch’s Hardware, King Hill Furniture Warehouse, Marek’s Delicatessen, Vida’s Flowers and McBride’s were featured, along with Eagan’s Home Furniture, Scanlan’s Hardware, the Trading Post and Astro Auto Parts.

“SHOP SOUTH SIDE,” the ad declared, “for dependable, honest, courteous savings … where selection and quality go arm in arm.”

— Selection and quality were also touted by Green Hills Supermarkets, whose ad listed its various stores: Roy’s, at 3414 S. 22nd St.; Roy’s No. 2, Frederick at 22nd; Rays, 3602 Mitchell; Ray’s No. 2,3225 N. Belt; Roger’s, 2607 St Joseph Ave.; and Roger’s No. 2, 1902 Jules St.

This was years before Hy-Vee and Price Chopper came to town, and Green Hills had a corner on the market. Or, you could say, markets on several corners. “There’s a Green Hills Near You!” the ad proclaimed, with a map showing that St. Joseph was well-covered. “We are home owned and home operated.”

— The American Banks group also had the city well-covered, as its ad noted six sites around town. The American National Bank had locations at Robidoux Center, Ashland Avenue and Lovers Lane and the Belt and Pickett Road. The Belt American Bank was located at 800 N. Belt, 1000 Fifth Ave. and at East Hills Shopping Center.

“Picking a bank which is convenient to you will allow you more time for your personal pleasures,” the ad stated. “That’s American Know-How!”

“Things are happening in the St. Joseph area,” editor David Bradley Jr. wrote in an introductory column. “This guide is designed to point out the many opportunities people take for granted.”

Little did anyone know that internet shopping and banking, along with home delivery services, would come along and affect everything we’re talking about today. Venture out, though, and you’ll find opportunities still there.

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