Quantcast

Zayre Shoppers’ City Discount Department Store in West Duluth

Shoppers-City-Discount-Dept-Store

The West Duluth Memories page on Facebook has a bunch of old West Duluth photos, including some of Shoppers’ City, posted by Roger Nesje.

Shoppers-City-Sign

Shoppers-City-Paid-Sticker Shoppers-City-Button

Shoppers’ City was a department store in West Duluth, located at 50th Ave. W. & Wadena St., where a Menards store is now. It was part of a small chain of discount stores — the other locations were in Twin Cities suburbs (Brooklyn Center, St. Louis Park, Columbia Heights and Maplewood).

The West Duluth Shoppers’ City opened in 1961. The location was previously the main plant of a refrigerator manufacturer, Coolerator, which closed in 1955.

In the early 1970s, Shoppers’ City, Inc., sold its stores to the Massachusetts-based chain Zayre. The West Duluth store closed in the mid-1980s and was replaced by a Kmart. In 1991, Kmart moved to its current location in the Spirit Valley Shopping Center. Menards moved in shortly afterward, remodeling in 2003 to expand the building’s square footage from 119,000 to 225,000.

32 Comments

Barrett Chase

about 10 years ago

It was  Zayre's Shoppers' City. I believe it started out as just Shoppers' City in the 1960s but Zayre's bought the chain in the 70s. Basically, it was a lot like a Super WalMart. I grew up a block from there -- on 51st Avenue West near the billboard in that picture. You could buy anything at that place. Groceries. Tires. Clothing. Even monkeys.

monkey

PJ

about 10 years ago

I remember the monkeys! They were in the pet department, right next to the record department. I bought my first Beach Boys record there. It was a 45; I think I paid 49 cents. I lived on 45th and Oneota; went to Shopper's City often. What fun!

Barrett Chase

about 10 years ago

Wait. Oneota? Tell us about the scary wooden bridge.

Nostalgic

about 10 years ago

I remember one poor monkey there whose behavior resembled the "Man from Nantucket" in the infamous limerick, if you get my drift.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

Is that a "poor" monkey or a lucky monkey?

Barrett Chase

about 10 years ago

So many prisoners wish they shared his talent.

Nostalgic

about 10 years ago

He was poor because he was a captive. He was lucky because he was limber. I don't remember him being a primate Priapus.

heysme

about 10 years ago

Sloppy submarine sandwiches - created by the Shopper's City or the K-mart? I can't remember.....
But I do remember the monkeys.

Barrett Chase

about 10 years ago

I never ate at the Shoppers' City cafe, but I know that Kmart served sloppy subs. They were very oniony. 

The Kmart cafe was immediately to the right as you walked in up the ramp (directly across from the automotive pit). I want to say the Shoppers' City cafe was at the top of the ramp and to the left, across from the checkout counters. Is that correct?

Also, entering and exiting through the back door, with its one checkout counter, always felt kind of weird.

Liz

about 10 years ago

That was weird, I remember that.  It looked lonely & creepy that checkout at the back.

My co-worker, who grew up in West Duluth, and I have talked about Shopper City, how our parents would shop groceries while us kids would play in the toy section.  Nobody ever bothered or approached us.  Big toy section, if I remember, with toys already pulled out of their packages so you could play with them & nobody ever seemed to clean up that area.

One time when I was with friends at a bar in St. Paul, one of us mentioned we were from Duluth & this random patron at another part of the bar yells out "Shopper City!"

wildgoose

about 10 years ago

I wish I remembered the monkeys!  Everything else, I'm with you even us east Duluthers shopped there quite a bit, you could get everything, after all and it was quicker on the bus than the mall. 

--

Also that name ... can't help but think of Dr. Zaius.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

Random note:

In the mid-1960s, it was against the law for stores to sell stuff on Sundays. Shoppers' City and other stores were busted numerous times for violating this statute. Shoppers' City seemed to get the most attention from Police, and eventually charged the city of Duluth with discriminatory prosecution. 

I don't know how all that played out. I wasn't born yet.

Other random note: The store manager in 1965 was John J. Ormand, Jr.

Tony D.

about 10 years ago

Liz, we had a Shoppers' City in St. Paul. I grew up on St. Paul's East Side--a place much like West Duluth, so perhaps Shoppers' City stores were designed to go into neighborhoods a few rungs down the economic ladder?

I too was often dropped off in the pets department (but don't recall any monkeys--nor any other animals--performing autofellatio) and also bought my first record there: Aerosmith's "Toys in the Attic" in 1975 (I was 11).

cork1

about 10 years ago

Paul, this may be a dumb question -- especially since you've already indicated you weren't even born yet -- but how did Shoppers' City expect to be open on a Sunday and not get busted for selling stuff? Were you supposed to just browse on Sundays and come back during the week to purchase your items?

Stupid blue laws.

Paul Lundgren

about 10 years ago

I don't quite get it myself, but I suppose it was legal to be open and have employees stocking shelves and whatnot, without selling anything. But I think Shoppers' City and the other stores basically treated it like a normal day in order to challenge the law.

PJ

about 10 years ago

Barrett, it wasn't really "scary," but just a big wooden bridge at about 48th Avenue West and Oneota Street, near (if you looked to the right while biking west) Shopper's City (now Menard's.) I rode my bike across that bridge a lot when I was a kid (still remember the sliver I picked up as I ran my hand along the railing) and it was just a part of daily life. The SCARY part was the green "lake" under the bridge, which I remember as a bright fluorescent pond that never seemed to move. What was that stuff?

Barrett Chase

about 10 years ago

The bridge was before my time. I guess from stories I always assumed it was rickety, but I guess not.

Liz

about 10 years ago

Tony,

Oh, okay, so hence the patron in St. Paul saying that.  Interesting.  So there was a Shopper's City there too.

Sharon Trudell

about 10 years ago

You were very lucky to be playing unsupervised in the toy dept.  A young boy was molested in the bathroom at Shopper's City.

Brian from Proctor

about 10 years ago

This is too funny, I grew up with Shopper City, I remember being excited to look at the Sunday ad, then racing down there to buy my new three in one stereo complete with built in 8 track player, I heard a rumor that the mice they found in the back of the store were put in the pet shop for sale.....true or not I do not know. I also always wanted to ride down the thing they put the groceries down to go out side. Anyone else star at that when they were little? 
Thanks for putting up this site. I love it!

Debbie

about 10 years ago

Hah, yeah the conveyer belt for the groceries was cool, we would drive the car to parcel pick up, display our numbers from the bin and the guys would load the bags into the trunk. I remember gas at 25 cents a gallon. It was fun to look at the gym set hanging from the ceiling while mom & dad checked out (and wishing I could get that new gym set).

Cheryl from Saginaw

about 10 years ago

This sight really made me laugh. I too remember playing in the toy department while my mom & dad shopped. I remember my mom with a stack of coupons, you could give them any coupon whether you bought that item or not. I do not remember the monkeys but did spend some time in the pet store. I bought an Eric Clapton album there (with the song cocaine on it) Had to slip that out without dad seeing!!! Does anyone remember when a car that crashed through the doors? I can not remember if it was the front or back doors. This sight is awesome!!!!

Brian

about 10 years ago

It was the front door and didn't a lady get killed??

Brian

about 10 years ago

Does anyone have pictures of the inside of the store? That would be fun to see.

Cheryl from Saginaw

about 10 years ago

Shoppers City, Shoppers City, Shoppers Shitty, How many times can you say Shoppers City?

Wendy

about 9 years ago

I forgot about the pet store they had! My husband Tom who is 12 years older than me use to pack groceries there. My mom didn't have a car so we usually had my aunt or someone bring our groceries home.

I remember stealing my first training bra there; it was bright blue. I think I was embarrased to ask my mom to buy me one so I stole it!  I had a halter top on at the time but I also had a sweater with me! 
My friends and I use to go into the Tiddly Winks games and take out the tokens to use them in the gumball machines but we finally got busted by the private detective.  He had brown hair and a mustache.  That ordeal really scared me!  After that we couldn't be in there without our moms for a certain amount of time. Thanks for the memories!

Paul Lundgren

about 8 years ago

As mentioned above, before Menards, Kmart and Shoppers' City came along, the Coolerator plant was at 50th Ave. W. & Wadena St.

So, I just came across one of the greatest photos ever -- my parents in front of said Coolerator plant in the early 1950s.  

spy1

about 8 years ago

Secret beatnik.

emmadogs

about 8 years ago

Okay, that really is one of the coolest photos ever.  Neat!

Paul Lundgren

about 7 years ago

Audio from 1970 WDIO-TV report of fire at Fullerton Lumber Co. near Shoppers' City:

Paul Lundgren

about 3 years ago

Zayre Shoppers City bag

Recent discovery at the bottom of a box of stuff in my parents' basement.

Roy St George

about 2 years ago

First off, all the mice in the pet dept. were baby rats from nearby Elliott Meats.

Secondly, I too, saw the funky monkey. Nuff said. 

That green pond ... is still there ... somewhere.

Fullerton Lumber fire could be seen as far east as the ore docks. We lived in a green bungalow at 3927 W. Michigan St. -- upper side, one lot in from the corner. I was three in 1966 when the freeway came through. The exit ended directly across from our driveway, which faced Michigan Street. My mom's mountain ash tree sits in front of Comfort Inn. It remains as the only marker for any house on the block!

I watched the freeway and Perkins being built. My first "job" was sweeping/shoveling Perkins entry walk for free pop and pancakes, any day of the year -- not bad for 9 years old!

Used to walk from home across Superior Street to Ramsey Street, down Central Avenue to Raleigh Street. Stop to see Mrs. Mac, and off to Martha and Harry Baker's at 5914 Polk or my Grandma Francis' house at 122 S. 63rd, across the tracks from Klearflax. What a hike for an 8 year old!

Leave a Comment

Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here

Read previous post:
The Littlest Holidays Sale

Sale to benefit the Duluth Public Library.  Mark your calendars!  We are trying our highly successful Holiday Sale again this...

Close