With the renovation of Woodfield Mall starting soon, an interesting thought occurred to some of us.

To all of the readers of this blog and/or former shoppers and employees of Woodfield, my question is:  Outside of the three anchors of J C Penney, Sears and Marshall Fields/Macy, what is the oldest store/restaurant/business in Woodfield Mall today?

I have some guesses about these long-lived establishments but it would be nice to see what you think.  And know.  Maybe you worked as a teenager in a business that’s still going strong?  Or have been eating there for a long time?  Or stop in every time you go to Woodfield?

Leave a comment and let’s see if we can come to a consensus…

Jane Rozek
Local History Librarian
Schaumburg Township District Library


  1. Larry Rowan Says:

    Not sure but Sbarro may have been there from the beginning.

    • jrozek Says:

      I love their spinach and mushroom pizza but they didn’t open until 1984. I found a classified ad in the Daily Herald on June 14, 1984 advertising for help for their new store.

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian

  2. Heidi Erickson Says:

    My guess would include Fannie Mae, aunt Annie’s pretzels, and the Peacock jewelry store.

  3. Jeff Says:

    Sears was the first opened. Wimpys restaurant was the first.

  4. Jeff Kelly Says:

    The first opened was Sears, and just the small mall area buy the escalator. The rest of the mall was closed off due to construction. Next to the upper Sears was a kmart store. In the small opened up area buy the escalator was also a hobby shop. Then the first restaurant was a Wimpy.

    • jrozek Says:

      Thank you Jeff. It’s nice to have this small bit of history. I did not realize that the mall opened up in segments–although that makes sense. It would have been quite a feat to have the entire mall open at once and be fully leased.

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

  5. islandsign Says:

    I’ve been gone 36 yrs, but stopped in a few times over the years, when visiting family. I don’t know what all is still there, but being of the class of 77, Woodfield sprung up just as my circle of exploration reached that distance. The funky little gray busses helped, but I remember many long walks or bike rides there, back when I think Sears opened first and we could cruise the empty mall area watching it grow. (and sneak in the back alley network for some real adventures of hidden access points, industrial ladders, massive pressure valves, standpipes, and power panel equipment adding to the thrill of innocent juvenile trespassing…

    I remember an Orange colored nook with drinks or snacks, hidden under a stairway… I don’t think it was Orange Julius but maybe

    How about Ferral’s Ice Cream?, is that still there?
    I remember getting my more stylish 7th grade attire at Chess King!
    Bought black light posters at The Alley, and being the gateway behavior that black lights clearly are… 2 years later I bought my first rolling papers there…

    but back in 71 or 72, I bought the only pack of cigarettes I ever bought, from a vending machine, hidden down by the entrance to the tunnel under the waterfall!! (For 55 cents)

    • jrozek Says:

      I had to smile at your comments. The Alley was clearly a store that appealed to many teenagers.

      And you are not the first to tell about wandering and exploring places that were really off bounds but oh-so-tempting to the kids of Schaumburg Township during the heady days of development.

      Farrels Ice Cream is no longer at Woodfield but it hasn’t completely disappeared. You can still find locations in California and Hawaii if you’re really dying for a walk back in time.

      Thank you for posting!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

    • kkhale Says:

      I remember that orange colored nook too!!! I graduated in 81 so I’m a few years younger than you….but I do remember that, and the tunnel under the waterfall! I don’t believe it was an Orange Julius either….but I remember there being snacks & drinks sold there.

      I too have been gone for years, but it’s funny how reading your post brought that right back to me.

  6. islandsign Says:

    Wrote an awesome history of ancient woodfield experiences, spread over several paragraphs… plunked out on my little iPhone…

    Well, this particular interface is set up to give every indication that I am welcome & encouraged to reply, simply by signing in with full name & email, which I did.

    Be warned, that after providing this identifying info, I invested myself into sharing my story only to have another roadblock stating I needed to sign in to MY wordpress account, as my email was recognized… but not signed in to..

    ….so I lost my 20 minute story 😦
    We all did…

    Bad technology!!
    Wouldn’t want it on my blog so thought you should know!

    • jrozek Says:

      Hello Islandsign,

      Your story did go through but the posting has to be approved by the manager of the blog before it actually appears. I try to check my email fairly frequently and get the comments posted as fast as I can but, of course, there is sometimes a bit of a lag time. It’s just the way the blog is set up. I certainly do thank you for your posting though. Great little insights into the world of Woodfield!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

  7. Jeff Kelly Says:

    Also Sears had the first restaurant .

  8. Laura Augustine Says:

    Sears opened first before the mall was opened.

  9. Laura Augustine Says:

    Oh went back and re-read the question. Asides from Sears I worked in Holland Jewelers which is now Rodgers and Hollands and is still there in its original place. That would be my guess.

    • jrozek Says:


      You might be very close to the answer. An article from the Chicago Tribune states that “Hollands closed its oldest store at 63rd and Halsted Streets, in mid-1971, and several months later opened outlets in the Woodfield and Lakehurst Shopping Centers.” Considering the mall opened September 9, 1971, this is about as close as you can get.

      Good guess!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

  10. nenamatahari Says:

    Good question!

  11. Bob Says:

    I would have to guess it’s The Gap, or Footlocker

    • jrozek Says:

      Foot Locker was founded in 1974 but you are very close with The Gap. Their grand opening was first being advertised in the Daily Herald on November 10, 1972. Wow, I had no idea that chain/store had been there so long. Talk about longevity…

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

  12. Lisa Says:


  13. Earl Maurer Says:

    How about the Newsstand inside the entrance close to Penny?

  14. DN Says:

    Two stores that are still there that I know opened in the mall’s first year are Stride Rite and The Limited.

    Not sure if originals, but The Gap has been there a long time as well as the McDonalds.

    • jrozek Says:

      You’re very close, DN. The first ads I saw for The Limited were in late summer of 1972 whereas Stride Rite was “ready and open for business” as mentioned in a Daily Herald edition of December 30, 1971. The Gap had their grand opening in November 1972. I could not find an ad for McDonalds before 1975. Very good!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian

  15. Dick Clark Says:

    I worked for IBG corporation, we built all of the geodesic domes & skylights on the roof of Woodfield, I think the total was 29 of them.

    • jrozek Says:

      29 huh? That would be interesting to see from the air. This is quite an interesting tidbit to add. I don’t often get information regarding the construction of Woodfield so this is good to see. Thank you!

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian

  16. Deborah (Diercks) Gray Says:

    I remember marching in the Conant band for its opening and fainting! And I worked part time at Sears in the notions department during high school. Sorry I can’t help on the other tenants.

  17. Dan Says:

    According to an article in the Chicago Tribune, Sears opened on August 4, 1971 prior to rest of the mall. The article even stated Sears hired a helicopter to broadcast traffic reports on WGN, WLS and WAIT to help people get there with the least amount of traffic!

  18. Joe Mancuso Says:

    I know the comments in this blog are a year old but I do know of an original store from Sept of 1971 that is still open. Men’s shoes, Johnston & Murphy. I opened a women’s shoe store just across the grand court from it. It was I. Miller shoes. We were both owned by the same corporate umbrella as well as Jarman shoes and Flagg Bro.shoes. The memories are great.

  19. Greg Thorne Says:

    Does anybody recall the Stereo store in Woodfield in its early years? I think it might have been named Team Electronics but not sure. It was a fun place for great sounds and the latest in high end stereo equipment.

    • jrozek Says:


      Was it maybe Team Records and Tapes? I have that store name in my list.

      Jane Rozek
      Local History Librarian
      Schaumburg Township District Library

      • Greg Thorne Says:

        Hi Jane, Thanks for clarifying my foggy memory of Woodfield Mall. I do remember the Team Records now that you mention it. What I can’t recall was the name of the Stereo Equipment store at Woodfield that was like Disneyland for (some) teenagers of that day. 72-74 ish. Not sure of the name now as I was thinking it was Team Audio or so. I think it was on the lower level too, but not even positive of that. Thanks for your recall attempt.

      • jrozek Says:

        Hello Greg,

        The only other ones I could come up with for that time period were Schaak Electronics, Musicland and Playback The Electronics Playground. Maybe it’s one of those?

        Jane Rozek
        Local History Librarian
        Schaumburg Township District Library

  20. edh Says:


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