Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Special Today!

I love old signage.  Case in point:

Oh, yes.  Isn't this glorious?  I love everything about it - the colors, that "store" font, the ridiculously low price, the size (roughly 6 X 10"), the fact that the actual store name is featured - it's ALL good.  :D

And how about that store?  If you can't read it, it says, "Murphy's, the Complete Variety Store".  From a quick Google search, I believe I discovered that these stores began in McKeesport, Pennsylvania and, like many other variety stores, had a lunch counter and low, low prices (here's something fascinating - in doing my research, I discovered this photo from a Murphy's - right here in Fond du Lac!!  Is this true?!?!  Native Fond du Lacians - help me out!).  :D  From the company website, it seems that there were many stores, mainly in the Eastern U.S. and some Midwestern states.

Because of my age, I pretty much missed the "variety store" days.  By the time I was cognizant of store branding and retail merchandising, the "discount store" had taken the variety store's place.  Sure, K-Mart had a cafeteria, but it wasn't the same as a lunch counter, at least to my mind.  I'm pretty sure the Slushie was the only 'fountain' drink that K-mart served - no phosphates or egg creams there.  :)

Because I enjoy living vicariously through those who have come before me, I would LOVE to hear any variety store stories you have.  Please - share with me and the readers what you remember and loved the best about any variety store in your area - and don't forget to name the store!  :D


  1. Indeed, this sign is a work of art. Today's signs, it seems, have no style. I guess there will come a time when historians will look back and be able to, at a glance, date fonts and advertising styles to the period of 1995-2015, but it all seems so bland and lacking personality to me.

    1. I thought you might like this sign, Chris - we Ephemeraologists love stuff like this. :D And I agree wholeheartedly - the new signs are so boring and alike! Everyone uses the same colors (green, blue or red, it seems)and logos are indistinguishable! It'll be really interesting to see what type of havoc the Internet has wreaked on store design.