National Department Store Day was yesterday, October 16. So I decided to ask on Facebook "what department store do you miss the most?" The answers you gave ranged the gamut from traditional stores like the downtown Rock Island institution that was McCabe's to discount department stores like Turn Style and Venture.

Tracy mentioned McCabe's. McCabe's is that local department store. The one that could give bigger chains fits because they were local. McCabe's opened near16th street and 2nd Ave in Rock Island in 1870 and grew from there. The McCabe family sold the store in the late 1920's, but the name had such value in community it was brought back in the 1950's and remained until the store closed.

An article from the Dispatch-Argus posted by the Rock Island Preservation Society had this to say about McCabe's: "With multiple locations, it became the standard for retail, even challenging larger chains with its customer loyalty."

Michelle, Ron, Cynthia and Leslie all mentioned Turn Style or Venture. Turn Style was owned by Chicago based Jewel, the parent company of Jewel Food Stores. At their peak they had 50 stores and were in both Moline and Davenport. According to Wikipedia: "Rapid expansion, the corporate decision to incorporate a catalog type store within its four walls, and an unrealistic divisive venture into the "Hypermarket" business, all caused profits to suffer." In 1978 Jewel decided to focus on it's core business selling food and sold 19 of the 22 Turn Style stores to May Department Stores which converted them to Venture.

Venture at one time was the largest discount department store in the Chicago area, thanks to their acquisition of Turn Style. Venture eventually ran into trouble trying to compete with Kmart, Target and Walmart. An ill fated adventure to expand Venture into Texas doomed the company, and they were completely out of business by 1998.

Marshall Field's is the department store I miss the most. Field's went away after Target sold the stores to Federated, the company who owns Macy's. Marshall Field's were then all converted to Macy's stores and they're just not the same.

What happened to these stores, and why they went away is fascinating. However, it's not half as fascinating as our own personal connections to them. It's about our memories.

For me, it's my Mom taking me into a Ben Franklin store and coming home with a miniature Ben Franklin truck. It's walking to Woolworth's behind my Gram's condo and looking at the toys. It's shopping at Venture to outfit my first dorm room. It's about walking over to Marshall Field's State Street store to buy some cologne after I got my first pay check from my first full time job.

Stores may come and go, but the memories will remain treasured. Try having that experience by shopping online.


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