Jun 24, 2008

An Ode to Local Stores in the Key of C Minor

I was out shopping a couple days ago. Hunting, really. I went to a local antique mall - a good spot. I have shopped there for years. I happened upon a 1930s evening coat. Too flawed to purchase, but a local store label. I do love finding those.

And so an Ode to Local Stores in the Key of Coats Minor.

There was Byck’s. Byck’s was fantastic classy ladies clothing store. They were downtown in a fine Art Deco building, now being converted after years’ and years’ emptiness into lofts. Then they added a suburban store in St. Matthews, KY. What I remember as a teenager was their mall store, also in St. Matthews. Too pricey for a 16 year old on minimum wage, but what an educational place to window shop and browse. Byck’s was the most fashion forward shop for the Upper South/Lower Midwest - (Louisville, KY cannot make it’s mind about just where it belongs).

Wonderful Orange Wool Byck's coat & scarf, coming in July

Selman’s - My grandmother shopped there occasionally. Founded in 1915 at 4th and Walnut, across from the Seelbach Hotel, they stayed there for ever. A pricey, high quality store. As a sample of their prices, in 1949, Selman's chambray and bemberg summer dresses were advertised at $14.99, when other local stores were advertising similar but simpler dresses at $4.99. They had a Design Studio for custom made hats. Lovely. They were bought several times, and finally became a Gus Mayers before leaving Louisville altogether.
Classy Cream Wool 1960s Selman's Coat from the Past Perfect archives

Stewart’s - the revered and long lived Stewart’s Drygoods. Open from 1846 to 1990, under several names, but Stewart’s from 1900 - 1985. They had Tons of departments, a very ‘hats and gloves’ tea room, the Works. Even a department set up at children’s scale at Christmas, stocked with items under $5 for children to select for their parents. The child went in, alone! and walked through picking presents out, then the salesladies set them aside and wrapped them. Of course, your parents had to pay for it all, but they didn’t know what you had selected, so there was a surprise at least. To this day, ladies of a certain age will still tell you how they miss Stewart’s. It was an all day shopping experience.

Hot, Hot Pink Wool Stewart's coat form the Past Perfect archives

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