WANT MORE FOR YOUR MONEY…KEEP YOUR EYE ON GRANTS!

On October 17, 1963 at 9:30 in the morning, the people of Schaumburg Township got a shot in their shopping arms.   With balloons for the children, W. T. Grant and Co. opened a new department store in the Golf Rose Shopping Center at the corner of Golf and Roselle in Hoffman Estates.  It was a much needed boost for an area that was adding new families in new houses every month. 

W.T. Grant and Co. was based out of Massachusetts and started life in 1906 as a variety store.  Around 1959 many of the stores became larger, full-fledged department stores complete with major and minor appliances, clothing (featuring their own Grant’s brand), a camera department, a garden shop and a separate credit department to name a few. All 45,000 square feet of the Hoffman Estates store was no less.  It also featured a luncheonette called “The Skillet” that was managed by Phillip Clark.

 As one of over a 1000 in the Grants chain, this store was managed by Joseph Brusch.  With 75-80 employees, the store was able to offer seven checkout lanes for “speedy service.”   It was also conveniently open for shoppers who worked during the day.  Their hours were Monday through Saturday until 9:00 p.m. and Sunday from 12:00 until 9:00. 

Before it even opened though, the store was eager to sign their local clientele up for credit.  They encouraged shoppers to come in between 10 and 4 to set up a credit account or send in a simple credit application that was published in the paper.  The application asked for name, address, city, state and phone number.  They also asked for the name of your employer and length of employment as well as accounts you might have at other stores.  You could select an Option charge account or a Grants budget account.  They were bound and determined to make it as easy as possible to shop in their store.  

In an ad in the Daily Herald from October 3, 1963, they mentioned that “3 Generations of American Shoppers have made Grants their Thrift Headquarters.”  While they admittedly weren’t known for costly merchandise, the store remained a crucial part of the area’s shopping bloc until 1973 when they closed and made way for the Service Merchandise that was to take their place.

It was somewhat of a fortuitous move.  During the redevelopment of the store, a raging fire claimed the entire interior, leaving only a concrete skeleton.  As a result, Service Merchandise was forced to rebuild.  A few years later, in 1975, the W.T. Grant Co. chain was forced to declare bankruptcy and close all of its stores. 

The space today in the Golf Rose Center is occupied by a TJ Maxx, a variety store of a different sort.  But, maybe you shopped at Grants sometime between 1963 and 1973 and remember a special purchase or remember the lunches you had at the lunch counter.  Let us know what leaps to mind when you think of Grants of Hoffman Estates.

(Articles from the Daily Herald dating October 3, 1963, October 17, 1963 and October 15, 1973 were helpful in writing this posting.  Should you have any photos or memorabilia that can be scanned and added to the library’s Local History Digital Archive, it would be much appreciated.  Send an email to Jane Rozek at jrozek@stdl.org)

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One Response to “WANT MORE FOR YOUR MONEY…KEEP YOUR EYE ON GRANTS!”

  1. debby miller Says:

    I remember holding the library book sales in front of Grants. People would bring card tables to put the books on and a good neighbor of the library would use pick-up trucks to haul the books back and forth from the library.

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