It seems like it was only yesterday that we were shopping at the S.H. Kress store in downtown Alexandria, Louisiana.
The original store was built on Third Street and would later be replaced by a new structure on the same street.
When we were kids, we did most of our Christmas shopping at stores like Kress where you could buy a lot of stuff with very little money.
The Christmas tree would have a lot of presents under it, but most of them would be from stores like Kress, Morgan and Lindsey and Ben Franklin.
One of my fondest memories is that of smelling the popcorn cooking in the popcorn machine in the store.
S.H. Kress stores became a center of controversy, when they refused to let blacks sit at their lunch counters and were sued numerous times for that refusal.
Part of growing up in central Louisiana were trips to the Kress store on Third Street in downtown Alexandria.
The first Kress store was opened in Nanticoke, Pennsylvania in 1887. Kress became a chain of 5-10-25 cent stores in 1896. Genesco purchased Kress in 1964 and 17 years later the company would no longer exist in the United States, and ceased operation in 1981. It missed by six years of surviving for 100 years.
Alexandria would see many other stores like Kress closed when their companies went out of business. Other chain stores that were located in Alexandria or Pineville including, W.T. Grant, Woolworth’s, Woolco, Ben Franklin, Morgan and Lindsey and many more that ended their presence in Alexandria or Pineville.
It has been thirty years now since Kress went out of the retail business. It was the same year that President Reagan took office on January 20 and would be shot in an assassination attempt by John Hinckley on March 30 of that year.
Other events that year include:
May 13 -
Pope John Paul II is shot and almost killed by a Turkish gunman inside Vatican City.
August 1 – MTV is launched.
October 6 – President of Egypt Anwar Sadat is assassinated during a parade.
December 28- Elizabeth Jordan Carr becomes the first test tube baby to be born and grew up to be a newspaper journalist.