9 five-and-dime stores we wish were still around

Back in the day, a dollar could go a long way.

Image: Wikipedia

Long before the days of big-box stores like Walmart and Target, these five-and-dime stores had everything you needed. You could buy clothes, grab some treats, and eat lunch for under $20. These iconic American stores dotted Main Streets across the country before the big guys came around and put them out of business.

Here's a look back on years of good bargains and friendly store clerks. How many of these stores were in your town?

1. Woolworth's


The granddaddy of all five-and-dime opened its doors in 1878, and at its height opened a new store every 17 days. Oddly enough, the company still exists as Foot Locker in the United States. You can still find the Woolworth name in Australia, Germany and Mexico.

Image: Secret Fun Blog

2. McCrory's


The Pennsylvania-based chain was founded in 1882 by John Graham McCrorey and lasted until 2002. And yes, McCrorey did have an "e" in his last name, but took it out because he didn't want to pay for an extra letter on his store signs. Talk about thrift!

Image: State Archives of Florida

3. TG&Y


The original "turtles, girdles and yoyos" operated 900 stores in 29 states until McCrory's acquired the brand in 1986. 

4. Ben Franklin


The store modeled its business after Benjamin Franklin's famous saying, "A penny saved is a penny earned." Unlike the other stores on this list, you can still go to this one! A few still exist around the country, focusing on craft supplies. 

Image: Wikipedia

5. Sprouse-Reitz


The West Coast staple had over 300 stores at its peak. But unfortunately, Sprouse-Reitz stores went away quickly after it changed its name to "Sprouse!" in 1989. 

Image: Pinterest

6. S.H. Kress


S.H. Kress was a staple on almost every American Main Street because of its ornate architecture. The company's segregation policy made it a target during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s. Around the same time, the stores moved away from Main Street and into shopping malls, contributing to S.H. Kress' ultimate demise. 

Image: Wikipedia

7. J.J. Newberry


John Josiah Newberry founded this five-and-dime store after working at S.H. Kress for 12 years. Although the company had 565 stores by 1961, the chain slowly declined until it went bankrupt in 1992. 

Image: Wikipedia

8. W.T. Grant


In the early 1970s, about 1,200 W.T. Grant stores dotted Main Streets around the country. But not long after, the chain was one of the first large five-and-dime stores to declare bankruptcy. When it happened in 1976, it was our country's second largest bankruptcy in history. 

Image: Marion, Illinois History Preservation

9. G.C. Murphy


The company's success during the Great Depression helped it become one of the largest five-and-dime stores in the country. From the late 1980s to early 2000s, the company switched owners until its parent company ultimately filed for bankruptcy. 

Image: Flickr

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segarolow4 21 months ago
Man. The fun days of the fun past.
JonSullivan 31 months ago
They had a great toy section with all the early GI Joes and Secret Wars figures, right next to the vinyl album aisle, and then even a pet store section. I also remember seeing a rack of the OG Air Jordan 1's in the early 90's there on the rack for like $10 a pair!
JonSullivan JonSullivan 31 months ago
Woolworths, that is.
JohnDRipper 31 months ago
We remember these stores fondly, but as a commentator observed when Woolworths closed...."when was the last time you went in one?" Supermarkets, Dollar Stores, Walmart & Target have largely filled the role played by these places.
EveningSkye 31 months ago
Believe it or not, but there is a Ben Franklin store just up the road in my tiny town of Crystal Falls, Michigan. I love that store. They have everything
G102A543A2 38 months ago
I was surprised to find a Woolworths in Johannesburg South Africa a few years ago (2019). They had the soda fountain, and all the departments I remembered. The Burgers and Chocolate Shakes were just as I had remembered. But why did it survive just in South Africa?
DavidKaye 39 months ago
ONLY one we had was Woolworth's in downtown Bremerton - It and another block of perfectly good buildings/BUSINESSES was destroyed after 9/11 because some IDIOTS were scared of another attack on -- WHAT
ttenchantr 39 months ago
Woolworth's went bust in 1998, taking the watch and clock store chain I worked for, Best of Times with it.
GuitarAnthony 42 months ago
Also John's Bargains Store & Cheap John's.
BryanWFrazier50 50 months ago
My favorite five and dime was a place called : " Sterling's !! " They did NOT have a mere " Toy Aisle !! " " Sterling's " had a Toy ROOM !! ( And , it was a HUGE room at that !! ) I LOVED the place !!
idkwut2use 50 months ago
My mom tells me all that time how much fun she had at Woolworth’s with my great-grandma...!
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