Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Shopping in Toledo

Back in the 1940's before there were malls, we went to downtown Toledo, Ohio to do our Christmas shopping.

GADS! It was cold and windy. To this day I still remember the wind tunnel that you entered when you left Lamson's and headed for the Spitzer Arcade and LaSalles. There were people rushing here and there all over the streets of downtown Toledo. That was Christmas. And when I think about those days I can still feel that cold wind that blew down the street between Lamson's and LaSalles. You would walk out of Lamson's and the wind would just smack you in the face and whisk you down the street. And then one day the Mall was born. It would never be the same again.

Several malls were built in the area and the Lion Store became the big anchor store. We all shopped there and eventually we all worked there during the holidays. I am not sure how that started but I know it had something to do with a "discount." It was a great place to be at Christmastime. 

We shopped while we worked. We got the discount. If we were lucky and we had a wrapping station in the department, we could be all wrapped and tree-ready by the time we left work. It was a sisterhood. There was a dress code so eventually we all started to dress alike. Other stores in the mall recognized us and gave us another discount. It was fun. It was merry. We all loved going to work every day. And the store had on fantastic Christmas Party for all of the employees. Each year we got a new coffee cup. My collection sits in the kitchen cabinet. On Christmas Eve it ended and we went back to our normal lives.

Then one day the Lion Store closed. Another store took its place but no one went to work there during the holidays. It just wasn't the same. The Lion Store was locally owned; the new store was a national chain. 

I believe if the Lion Store were still alive today, we would all still be working there. Of course we would all be in our 70's and a little bit slower. And they would have to provide chairs for us to sit and rest a bit. We might get a little cranky with each other. But the wonderful spirit of that locally owned store would still be there. 

I think I can speak for everyone of us when I say "We miss you Lion Store."


  1. I've recently learned of a store in downtown Toledo that used to order a giant piece of cheese every year. Was this the Lion store? Are you familiar with the giant piece of cheese?

  2. That was a very popular store named Tiedtke's. Today's Blade has an article about it: http://www.toledoblade.com/Food/2014/08/24/The-Blade-Andersons-revive-Tiedtke-s-Christmas-tradition.html

  3. Ooops! That looked like it was today's Blade but on second look the article was from a few months ago.