Can you tell me what was on the southwest corner of Golf and Meacham back in the 1970s and 80s?  That was basically an email question I got a couple of weeks ago from an engineering firm doing a site survey of the property.  While I remembered the Venture store with its distinctive black and white exterior, some of my co-workers told me that it wasn’t the first general merchandise store to occupy that spot.  It was originally the home of Turn Style.  Does that ring a bell with you?

This was completely new to me so I started looking into just where Turn Style came from and what its roots were.  Begun as a small chain discount department store in Brighton, MA, it caught the eye of Jewel Food Stores.  Deciding to branch out from the grocery and pharmacy business, Jewel acquired the chain in 1961 and began opening stores in the Chicago area–as well as expanding in the Boston area.

Stores in Skokie, Deerfield, Arlington Heights, Glendale Heights, Harvey, Merrilville, and at Harlem-Foster and Ford City in Chicago opened before company officials started looking at the possibilities of a Schaumburg store.  With the new, massive Woodfield Mall set to open in 1971, it was readily apparent to developers that this was a growing area ripe for commercial expansion.  So, on the heels of the Woodfield opening in September of 1971, Schaumburg gained another new shopping option when Turn Style opened its doors in the Woodfield Commons  shopping center at Meacham and Golf Roads in November.

In honor of  the grand opening, Turn Style invited the kids to celebrate with Jingles the Clown and his Tinker Tot Theatre on Saturday and Sunday, November 20 and 21.  For the adults, Larry Lujack, the famous WLS disc jockey, made a special appearance on Thursday, November 18.  Turn Style was obviously interested in appealing to all members of the family.

The Turn Style stores were general merchandise, discount stores similar to K-Mart, Kresge’s or Zayre.  Their hours in Schaumburg were long and must have been appealing to an area that was starved for retail shopping.  They were open from 10-10 daily except for Sunday when they were open from 10-6.  According to their ads, they promised the shopper:

  • Shopping Turn Style saves you money
  • Saves you time–free parking
  • Gives you choice selection and price
  • Gives you a choice of trusted private labels
  • Gives you special customer service
  • Money-back return policy… we want you to be happy
  • Feel free to use your Master Charge or BankAmericard

Turn Style lasted on this corner until 1978 when Jewel Companies sold most of their Chicago area stores to the Venture Stores Division of May Department Stores.  The sale was announced at the beginning of March and by September of that year the black and white, zebra-striped Venture store was up and operating on the corner of Meacham and Golf. 

Do you remember Turn Style?  If you remember something special you purchased there, what you liked or disliked about the store or, better yet, if you were an employee and have some memories of the store, please be sure and contribute your Comments.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


  1. Bob Dohn Says:

    As I recall, when Turnstyle first opened there was also a Jewel Foods store in the same sbuilding.

    • jrozek Says:

      I did a little research and, in an article on the B. Ginnings night club from September 9, 1974, it is mentioned, “Whoever would have believed Woodfield Commons Shopping Center with a Turnstyle and Jewel Food Store on one end and Fayva Family Shoes on the other…” So you are absolutely correct Bob!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian

  2. Jim.Melka Says:

    I think there was a TurnStyle on Harlem near 79th St, Bridgeview Ill.
    It was near a Drive In movie, if I remember correctly. I was just a kid when my friends Mom took us there. It was a Venture later. There was a White Castle near by also

  3. Jim.Melka Says:

    TurnStyle had a mascot, a small “country looking” dog called “TURNUP the PUP. I have one from long ago, still with the tags on. The tag says;
    TURNUP (pinwheel logo) YOUR FAVORITE PUP”

    Pull the string behind his neck,(like “Chatty Cathy”) and he says ” Talk To Me” “Lets Take A Nap” “I Love You” “You Are My friend” “Give Me A Hug” “What’s Your Name” “How Old Are You”

  4. Jim.Melka Says:

    Turnup “your favorite pup” is dressed in bright navy blue pants with “button” suspenders. He wears a light brown floppy hat that looks a little like a flower turned up-side-down. He is light yellow in color, with a red felt tongue, a black felt nose, and black “button”eyes, and dark brown floppy ears.. He may be a blood hound. He was made by ” ANIMAL FAIR, INC” of Chanhassen, Minn.

  5. Jay Campbell Says:

    Later in the 80’s, there was a W. Bell store in part of that complex on the east end, similar to Service Merchandise & McDades.

    • joe Says:

      I worked there around 1986 or so for 6 months…we had just bought a house and I was making extra money to pay for some remodeling.

  6. debra machart Says:

    I remember Turnstylevin Glendale Heights Illinois quite well, because my family shopped there in the 70’s !! It was a wonderful store and brings back many fond memories miss it!! Jewel was in the same building which offered even a morevpleasant and convienient shopping experience•😊

  7. Pamela Harris Says:

    I was an employee at Schaumburg store in 1973/74 right out of high school…

  8. Donna Manuel Says:

    I have a Yellow Stone Kelly paper doll price $0.59 cents, it was bought at Chicago store in 1975/76. I was in the 5th grade.
    The price tag is still on the cover, and it says Turn-Style 🙂

  9. Helen Wang Says:

    I purchased a rust color sweater and plaid skirt to wear to Bogan HS in Chicago (from Ford City store). Minis were the trend.

  10. Blair Reuben Says:

    I bought my goalie sticks and hockey tape there. The sporting goods were in the southwest part of the store. My mother bought false eyelashes by the dozen in the cosmetics area towards the front of the store near the cash registers. This was in the late 1960s.
    What a great time to be alive. Anybody remember the Orchard Twin bowling alley across Skokie Blvd? I think they had 36 lanes divided in two sections with pinball machines near the check in desk.

  11. Allan Reizman Says:

    I worked at the Skokie store in the early-mid 1970s. There was a Jewel attached and even a restaurant in the center at one point.

  12. Susan Cook Toland Says:

    I worked at the Brighton store starting in the early 1970’s as well. Worked in soft goods – Ladies/Girls. Worked there until the day they closed their doors and then I went on to set up the small soft goods sections of some of the newer Osco Drug Stores in the Boston area. I then settled down in the Waltham, MA Osco, which had just been changed from a Turnstyle to strictly an Osco. I worked there until I graduated from college in 1980 and got into High Tech. I have the best memories of working there – met many people there who I am still in contact with.

  13. Denise Marra Says:

    Turn Style was my first job. My best friend also got hired 2 weeks after me. Then all my friends, about 15, came to work there and we had so much fun while working hard. Turn Style even competed with Service Merchandise by having it’s or catalog department. We all have very found memories of working our first job together.

  14. Dave massa Says:

    I still have 45 rpm records that have the turn style and venture price tags on them —and i still have my ocasio calculator that my mom bought me the year i started high school back in1977. —we shopped at the turn style in merrillville and after shopping in turnstyle there was a entry from the store that led into the jewel store that was attached and right next door —-then i remember it changing to venture around the late 70s. –the store is still there on 61st and broadway — but some other business is there now — i live farther east and dont go that way very often anymore but went by there the other day — the stripes from venture are still visible but are not black and white anymore —think they are white and beige —if i was able to put pictures on here ,i would send a picture of the rita coolidge record right now with the 99 cent price sticker on it

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