Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Classic Old-School Store Chain #2

One of my favorite memories of being a kid was when Mom would take me to the Blue Ridge Mall in nearby Independence when I was about 6 or 7.  It was there they had a Newberry's dime store, which was special to me because of the Topps baseball cards they sold.  They didn't just have the packs of ten cards with that yucky stick of gum enclosedhell, no!  They carried the Topps multi-packs that contained three packs of ten cards in clear cellophane (minus that crappy gum), as well as the cigarette-type packs of 25 cards that always showed one card in the front, so you knew who you were getting!

The Newberry store at Blue Ridge Mall (which looked a lot like the one in this pic before the mall was enclosed in 1971) was a frequent stop for Mom and me when I was little.  What I loved most about it was the escalator that led downstairs to where the baseball cards were--there were up-and-down escalators flanking a stairway that one could take if they felt like walking.  This same escalator/stair set-up endured long after Newberry's closed up shop in the mid-'70s, as that area of the mall was converted into the North Court that housed our favorite video arcade in the early '80s, Space Port (remember all those quarters we wasted there, Tom?), as well as V's Pasta Parlor (or V's Plaster Parlor, as I derisively called it) with its rank Parmesan cheese funking up the whole downstairs areaall of which was eventually replaced by a movie theater that existed until the late '90s.  The escalators and stairs were demolished along with the entire mall in late 2005/early 2006.

During my trip to Cooperstown, NY in 1994, I happened upon a Newberry store just a couple doors down from the Baseball Hall of Fame, and when I walked in, I thought I'd stepped onto a time machine.  The place looked like it hadn't changed hardly at all since the '70s, complete with a lunch counter very similar to the one in this picture.  Naturally, I had a burger, fries and a malt there, and I absolutely loved it!  I believe there are still a few Newberry stores in existence today, and I sure hope that Wal-Mart hasn't totally driven all of them into oblivion...

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