The new Kresge store stood at the prominent corner of Washington and Pennsylvania Streets. (Courtesy Indiana State Library)

The new Kresge store stood at the prominent southwest corner of Washington and Pennsylvania Streets. (Courtesy Indiana State Library)

Business:  S.S. Kresge and Company

Date of Ad:  October 28, 1923

Location:  Downtown, 41 East Washington Street–at the southwest corner of Washington and Pennsylvania

Years of Operation: 1911- 1987

Notable: Founded by Sebastian Spering Kresge, the company began as a five and dime in Detroit Michigan in 1911. In fifty years, the company would grow to over 750 stores putting them in third place behind Woolworth and Grant’s in the variety store segment. Despite the large portfolio of stores, the company remained primarily an east coast and Midwestern operation. This would all change in 1962. The company began researching the decline of the variety store as early as 1957. They came up with a brand new concept of large stores in suburban locations with plenty of parking. The first K-Mart opened in 1962 in the San Fernando Valley. By the end of the year, there were eighteen. K-Mart grew to be the second largest retailer in the nation behind Sears and the S.S. Kresge Company officially changed their name to the K-Mart Corporation in 1977. The remaining Kresge five and dimes were sold in 1987. K-Mart is still limping along today however store closures are frequent, the locations are outdated and often located in declining areas, and fierce competition have put them in the back of the mind of many American shoppers.

Additionally:  In the 1930’s through World War II, two Kresge stores operated downtown, the other one being located at 17 West Washington. In 1948, the company cleared the site on West Washington to construct what would be the largest store in the company. This large art-deco building located directly west of L.S. Ayres remained open until 1975. The wrecking ball arrived in the early 1990s to make way for the Circle Center Mall. The building at 43 East Washington served as a home for the Wilking Music Company in the 1970’s and today houses the Indianapolis Business Journal and Morton’s Steakhouse.

This ad from 1948 shows what shoppers can expect when the old buildings along east Washington Street are demolished and replaced with a massive new six story Kresge store.(Courtesy Indiana State Library)

This ad from 1948 shows what shoppers can expect when the old buildings along east Washington Street are demolished and replaced with a massive new six story Kresge store.(Courtesy Indiana State Library)

This company postcard demonstrates what a suburban Kresge variety store would look like in the days before K-Mart. (Courtesy eBay)

This company postcard demonstrates what a suburban Kresge variety store would look like in the days before K-Mart. (Courtesy eBay)