Our guest contributor this week is Pat Barch, the Hoffman Estates Historian.  This column originally appeared in the December 2011 issue of the Hoffman Estates Citizen, the village’s newsletter.  The column appears here, courtesy of the Village of Hoffman Estates.

December will be a busy shopping month.  The mayor has been encouraging us to shop local.  We have so many wonderful stores, shops and restaurants in the village.  I thought it would be fun to look back to the late 50s and 60s and find out what things cost. 

In March, 1959, early Hoffman Estates residents could purchase any one of 3 new model homes.  The Lincoln model was the new split level, the Imperial, Patrician and Stratford models were all ranch homes.  The cost ranged from $16,350 to $21,150.

Shopping was non- existent before 1959.  Everyone traveled to Roselle, Palatine or Elgin to shop.  In 1958 Centrella Foods in Palatine had 10 lbs of potatoes for .39 cents.  Tube tomatoes (do you remember those tubes) for .19 cents.  In 1964 Pick & Save in Roselle had rib steak for .79 cents a lb and spare ribs for .39 cents a lb.  Prices were low but of course our pay checks were smaller too. 

Back then, everyone seemed to need a second car.  In 1964 a used 1963 Chevy Monza 2 door was selling for $1,795 and in 1966 a used 1964 Chevy SS Convertible was selling for $1,800.  In 1966 the DX gas station at Higgins and Roselle was offering a cookie jar and 6 glasses when you purchased gas or had a lube job.  10 gallons of gas got you 1 free glass. We always had enough gas stations in town, one on every corner. 

Being able to shop local began in the summer of 1959.  Jewel opened the first grocery store in the newly constructed Hoffman Plaza at Higgins and Roselle Rd. Residents also had the Snyder Walgreen Agency Drug store and Ben Franklin to shop in.  It wasn’t until 1963 that the Golf Rose Shopping Center opened directly across from Hoffman Plaza at Roselle between Golf and Higgins.  W.T. Grant’s department store had its grand opening on Oct. 17, 1963. It made everyone in the community excited about in-town shopping.  Grants would close 10 years later to be replaced by Service Merchandise (now T.J.Maxx).  The Golf Rose Bakery and National Tea supermarket would add more convenient shopping to the growing population of our village.  By 1966 Baskin-Robbins 31 flavor ice cream shop had been added to the Golf Rose Shopping Center.  A shopping trip on a hot summer day always included a double dip strawberry ice cream cone.

We’ve grown to become a community that can shop local.  From one end of town to the other, we have local shopping centers, auto dealers, plumbers, home repair services, restaurants and entertainment and so much more.

This December, stay close to home and shop local.  Happy Holidays to everyone.

Pat Barch
Hoffman Estates Village Historian


  1. Gregory Tazelaar Says:

    When did Ambrose Grocery, in the pie section of Higgins and Roselle, across the parking lot of Slatterys Nursery, open? I had my first job there in 1960 or 1961, in his two aisle store.

    • jrozek Says:


      I did a bit of research and discovered that the Higgins and Golf Food Mart was owned/managed by James P. Ambrose. The earliest I could find any mention of the grocery store in the “Hoffman Herald” was September 29, 1960 when they announced that they were “Now open 7 days a week.” I also discovered that this store was in Schaumburg even though it’s near the Hoffman Highlands.

      I’ll pass this on to Pat to see if she has any further information she can add.

      Thank you!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

  2. Pat Barch Says:


    The family that ran the Ambrose Grocery lived across the street from me. Our homes were built in 1960 so that’s about when they started the business. Later it became well known for its pizza and Italian food when it remodeled and became the Amber Rose Pizza or maybe it was the Amber Rose Inn, I’m not sure.

    They had the best pizza at the time.

    That part of Golf Rd is in Schaumburg. Everything west of the Golf Center Shopping at Roselle & Golf between Higgins and Golf is in Schaumburg. The Schaumburg property runs all the way west up to the Land Rover dealership where Hoffman Estates begins again.

    You need a map to know what town you’re in.

    Hoffman Estates Village Historian

  3. Mary Beth Meza Says:

    What was the name of the store that sold Bobbie brooks in the Snyder drug plaza

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