Remembering the Men’s Stores of Western Springs
When the Garden Market opened in 1959, it was home to a men’s store… one of only three that have called Western Springs home.
While Western Springs seems to have always had stores featuring women’s fashions, men’s stores were conspicuously absent until 1959, when Nortell’s opened in the then brand new Garden Market Shopping Center. Advertising itself as ”First in Students’ & Men’s Wear”, the store carried a full line of men’s suits, sweaters, hats (remember hats?), ties, and socks. See first photo.
While Nortell’s operated well into the mid- to late-1960’s, another men’s store opened in the Garden Market in the early 1970’s. See second photo.
The “For Men” store carried such items as Cricketeer sport jackets (no longer available), Jaymar “sansabelt” slacks, London Fog raincoats, Hart, Schaffner, and Marx suits, as well as dress shirts, sport shirts, and sweaters. The store also offered alterations. See third photo.
Downtown Western Springs also entered the sartorial age when The Gentry Shop opened in October 1975. See fourth photo.
This store was located at 909 Burlington, the same storefront now occupied by Snackers Café. Carrying such items as Pendleton sweaters, Hart, Schaffner, and Marx suits, Bert Pulitzer ties, and London Fog outerwear, the store was real gem compared to the sprawling shopping malls of today. Known for their interesting store displays, the shop even featured an antique barber chair. See fifth photo.
By the mid-1980’s, these smaller retailers were feeling the full effect of residents’ increased mobility, price competition, and the growing number of shopping malls. And, while all of them eventually closed, these images remind us of a time when life was a little less rushed and complicated.