I grew up in the 5 & 10 business as Dad was working for Ralph's 5 & 10 & 25 Cents Store
The first successful 5¢ & 10¢ store was started by F. W. Woolworth in 1879. The first Woolworth stores in Illinois were opened in Springfield, Joliet, Aurora, and Decatur in 1904. Dime stores purchased in large quantities and sold inexpensive merchandise such as candy, toys, Christmas ornaments, and glassware priced below 10¢. After the 1930s, slightly more expensive merchandise was added to the stores, but people continued to call them dime stores. What would you find in Dime stores? My dad (Paul William) came to California in 1937 and got a job (which was tough in those days!!) dressing windows in Ralph's 5&10&25 Cent Stores, Ralph David Leibowitz , proprietor! Dad was pretty good and within a short time, he was managing a new store in Los Angeles, store #2, and then Pico Store #3.
A retail store selling a wide variety of inexpensive articles. Also called dime store , five-and-dime , ten-cent store . A variety store or price-point retailer is a retail store that sells inexpensive items, usually with a single price point for all items in the store.
The dime store was a fun place to be! In the 1950/60's, I would work there in the summer and on a lot of weekends, I would join my dad in visiting the stores.
Here are a few of my recollections...
Opening A New Store - Yippee. Got to see everybody tipsy!! Champagne flowed and adults giggled and told stories...about the good old days!
Easter!Oh how I loved to make the Easter baskets... let's see, one candy for the Easter Basket and one for me! (Talk about sick! I still do not eat Easter candy after 40 years!!!)
Going To The Wholesalers - I would often go with dad to the wholesalers... one time (I was 7 or 8), the fellow we were visiting offered me anything in the warehouse. Dad tried to get me to pick out a Red Radio Flyer Wagon. What did I want you ask...I wanted some rope! Dad almost shot me afterwards!
Packing Boxes - Every Monday during the summer, I would help dad "fill the orders". The store managers would send in a written list and we would fill it.. meaning pull it off the shelf and put it on the floor. I would go as fast as possible packing all of the items he placed onto the floor in cardboard boxes... and wheeling them to the panel truck for delivery! Trying to keep up with dad was a chore!
Christmas Party At Ralph's - Ralph was Jewish and Carolyn, his wife, was not! They threw a Christmas Party every year. I remember because that was the second time every year that dad got "drunk". Mom would stay at the party for a while and then we would go home... Mom would make sure dad got home safely afterwards! Ralph was a very gracious host!
Inventory In January - Although dad only finished the 5th grade, I can't this day figure out how he could go through a page of numbers, extend them, and write the answer on the bottom... and never use a piece of paper, pencil or "calculator".