W.T. Grant Company

W.T Grant Co. 1964-06-03These two shots were tacked onto the end of a bunch of pictures taken at Central. I liked the young man reading a comic book because I whiled away many a happy hour perusing the comic books in Child’s while Mother was shopping. I, being one who believed in keeping my comics pristine would NEVER have folded the pages back like this miscreant is doing. It caused me untold pain when I came home from college and saw what my destructive younger brothers had done to my collection.

[Note:Wife Lila asked, “Do you REALLY want to label the young man as  miscreant?” It is obvious that SHE didn’t collect comic books. You gotta call ’em as you see ’em.]

Grants operated from 1906 to 1976

W.T Grant Co. 1964-06-03When you look at this slightly fuzzy photo of a little boy in cowboy boots looking and wishin,’ you know where the phrase “like a kid in a toy store” came from. The sign behind him lets us know he’s shopping in Grants, “Famous for Extra Saving and Extra Quality.”

I thought Grants was in the Town Plaza, and a quick check of the 1969 City Directory confirmed that it was at 2138 William Street. The manager was Tom Larson.

The first W.T. Grant Co. 25 Cent Store opened in Lynn, Mass., in 1906. Sources say that they were slower than Kresge stores to adapt to the grown of the suburbs and the change in shopping habits. I can remember seeing Kresge stores (although I’m not sure if Cape had one), but I didn’t realize until now that they were the forerunner of K-Mart. W.T. Grant’s bankruptcy in 1976 was the second-biggest in U.S. history.

I probably helped contribute to their bankruptcy because I don’t recall going out of my way to shop there.

33 Replies to “W.T. Grant Company”

  1. Brad Horkey is the guy in the picture, his younger brother Craig Horkey looked like him…both nice kids…Brad Horkey never missed a single day or was even tardy in 12 years of Cape school in grades 1-12. Now that is something to be remembered for.

    SS Kresge was the forerunner of K-mart and I don’t thing we had one until the K-mart opened on west Independance street. I dimmly remember WT Grant’s in Cape, but shopped them in the Memphins in the early 70’s

  2. I have many good memories of reading comic books. My folks were good friends of the Manager of JJ Newberry’s 5 & 10 downtown on Main Street in the earlt 1950s. I spend many hours sitting on the weight scale in the front of the store next to the comic book rack, reading. My neighbor on Cape Rock Dr had a good collection on his back porch so I had an open invitation to sit on the porch steps and read his collection of Red Ryder, Gene Autry, Roy Rogers and Donald Duck comics. I remember WT Grant’s and that’s definitely Brad Horky. I must confess I still read a comic occasionally but the ones I like are in antique shops now!

    1. I remember how traumatized I was the first time I went looking for some of my favorite groups in the record store (THAT alone, shows how ancient I am) and discovered they had been moved into the Oldies section.

  3. As indicated by the info of “Frony’s” photograph, Grants was in the town shopping center.

  4. I think Brad ended up in San Antonio TX. He worked for Southwestern Bell and moved to San Antonio when SWBT moved their Corporate offices from St. Louis to San Antonio. I have tried to find Brad when I visited the SWBT offices in San Antonio but was never able to make a connection. I’ll bet he’s retired and a scratch golfer.

  5. Mary here: I worked at Grant’s the summer before and during my Sr. year at Notre Dame (graduated in ’63). Also worked the summer afterwards until I moved to FL to live with my uncle and aunt in Dunedin. I transferred to the Grant’s there and stayed with them until March the next year.
    Was at work there the day Kennedy was killed. We watched all the TV’s in horror at the developing story and then the store closed for the day, maybe the weekend, I don’t remember.

  6. Ken,
    Just as a “conversation-starter” with your younger brothers, you might want to check the prices of those destroyed comics on Ebay. My copy of “X-Men”#1 netted me a plane ticket to New Zealand. …not that I would ever dream of encouraging discord or anything…

  7. I worked at Grant’s luncheonette while going to SEMO. We made sandwiches, salads, shakes, etc. I can’t remember her name, but a very nice young lady would come in everyday to eat. Shortly after I quit (to work at the March Hare (would love it if you have any photos of it)I read in the paper that she was shot and killed on Sprigg St. by a Cape County employee. I can’t remember his name. He later killed himself by running his car into a concrete post on Hwy. 55.

    1. You are thinking of coroner Don Kremer. The woman was Marilyn Holtzclaw. I mentioned the incident in a story about a crash at the Colonial Restaurant.

      There’s a link in the story to the original Missourian article, but the page was microfilmed at a 90-degree angle, so it’s hard to read.

      I don’t think I have anything of the March Hare. Where was it located?

      1. The March Hare was a really cool shop at 707 Broadway. I know it was there in 1971 & 1972. I don’t know when it closed.

  8. Mike’s memory is good. When Brad’s father died in 2011 at the age of 96, Brad was listed in the SEMisourian obituary as living in San Antonio. Craig and a sister were also listed.

  9. I used to go to Grant’s because we lived on Albert Street and it was close enough to walk there. I remember we bought a canary from them and it tried to peck my mother every time she put her hand in the cage to clean it or replace the seed or whatever. We had bought him for a mate for a female canary my grandma had given us. Mom wound up taking it back because it was so mean. She called it “Kruschev” so that should tell you about when it was–sometime in the very early 60s.

  10. I spent many a summer day at the Horky’s. In later years my wife and I attended 1st Presbyterian Church with Mr. and Mrs. Horky. They would just beam when telling any and all that would listen of the escapades of Craig and me when we were pre-driving age. Those really were some of the best days of my life and it’s funny that a story on Grants would get all these memories to start flooding back. Thanks for the confirmation Jane and for tapping memories Ken.

    1. Glad it brought back fond memories. I was exchanging email with a reader tonight about never knowing what stories will resonate with folks. I’ve worked for hours on pieces that never get a comment, but then grab a couple of random photos on the end of a roll and set off a memory flood.

      Well, you know what they say about blind hogs and acorns. Like them, I stumble across an acorn from time to time.

  11. I worked at Grants in the “luncheonette” while going to SEMO.( We would serve burgers,salads,shakes,etc. )There was this very nice young lady who would come in for lunch M-F,and I can’t remember her name,but I read in the paper after I quit working there, that she had been killed by a Cape County employee. I believe his name was Kramer. He later ended his life by running his car into a concrete post on Hwy. 55…..I started working for Marsha Edwards at the March Hare(on Broadway) after I left Grants. Loved that place!! I don’t think I ever brought any money home from a paycheck. ….Do you have any pics of the M H ,Ken?

  12. Ken, Like I said, my computer is still not showing any of my comments about Grants. I apologize for repeating without knowing. Crazy computer!! I would like to see the info about the Kramer guy though. THANKS:) (Brad is out of town,so I’ll have to ask him to check out our PC when he gets back.) Should I look at your site with my laptop?

  13. I worked with a man at Wards Big Star whose wife worked for Grants. They had a pet money for sale had she had the job of taking care of it at time. Said it wasn’t fun. Also while I was working At Wards Big Star, They gave a pony away. It would get loose and we would have to go catch it. John Baker can ad to that story as there was times we hopped on a bread truck to go chase it down. They had a big wire barrel that has all the contest slips in it. As John was taking it off the back dock to put in the Inclinator he dropped it and the door came open with the paler entries blowing all over. If you picked one up it most likely had Horkey on it. However another girl won it and was afraid of it.

  14. My spam filter is generally pretty good, but over the last couple of days this particular post has been the target of someone who has left some comments with offensive content (and, if I say it’s offensive, then you KNOW it’s offensive). I’ve deleted them, but anyone who has commented on this topic in the past may have had them delivered to their email. I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

  15. I worked at grants in Milwaukee in the early 50’s in the shoe dept and loved it even if it was part time after school. Downstairs it went out to an arcade where lots of kids hung out. I sure would be very happ to get the recipe to the great hot dogs and the toasted buns it came on. I forgot to say this was in Wisconsin Ave in the state of Wisconsin. We had two floors.

  16. My very first PEZ candy dispenser was purchased at W.T. Grant’s for me by my grandmother; it was a Donald Duck. I remember also that my grandmother bought an Ideal Motorific slot car setup there for my brother and me as well as a Motorific Tug Boat – which I still have and still runs.

  17. From 1969-1977 my Dad worked at Grants. He started in Connecticut for 3 years. We then moved to Bridgewater, Massachusetts where he was a Manager. I always liked it when they
    had the store open for employees and their families only, so they could do their Christmas shopping. It to me was a great store and I was sad to see it close. I have always thought Grants and Sears were the 2 best stores where the best buys could be had by all.

  18. The March Hare was a really cool shop at 707 Broadway. I know it was there in 1971 & 1972. I don’t know when it closed.

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