Business: G.C. Murphy and Company
Date of Ad: December 10, 1920
Location: Downtown, 33 North Illinois Street
Years of Operation: 1906- 2001
Notable: Before K-Mart, Wal-Mart and the plethora of big box retailers, there was G.C. Murphy and Company, affectionately known as the “five-and-dime.” Offering a wide array of general merchandise, Murphy’s was an institution in many cities throughout the Midwest and Northeast. The most prominent locations in Indianapolis included the downtown store, featured in this ad and another location in Fountain Square in the former Granada Theater. In the late 50’s, Murphy’s expanded to the major suburban shopping centers. When they opened in Lafayette Square, the first enclosed mall in the city, it was difficult for shoppers to escape without a bag of caramel corn as the aroma seemed to permeate the entire building. After being acquired by the failing Ames chain in the 1980’s, the once prosperous chain declined until finally going bankrupt in 2001. What once was a chain of over 500 stores had dwindled to around 80 at the time of its demise.
Additionally: Many have probably attended an ugly Christmas sweater themed party. The often mocked craftwork highlighted at these events is known as needlepoint. This pastime involves painstakingly stitching different colors of thread over a pre-made pattern to produce “art.” The 1930 advertisement highlights this new technology in gift making. For the low price of seventy five cents, one gets a needle, loom, two patterns and a free demonstration setting up years of crafty enjoyment.
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