Remember Shopping at Service Merchandise in Waterbury?
I've been walking down memory lane a lot lately, thinking of my mom and dad and how much I miss both of them. One of my favorite things to do with them when I was a kid was shop at Service Merchandise.
I got so many of my video game systems, games, and Star Wars toys from Service Merchandise. They always seemed to have the stuff that Toys R Us was sold out of.
Do you remember those stores? Service Merchandise was an American retailer that sold jewelry, toys, sporting goods, electronics, and a lot of luggage. They sold goods out of their catalogue-showroom retail stores, which were spacious, and set up kind of like a lux BJ's or Costco.
You picked up a clipboard at the entrance, and you would write down the catalogue number of the item that you wanted on slips of paper. Valuable Items were always displayed behind glass. Finally, you had to take a tag or number to the register. After you paid, your merchandise would come down a conveyor belt ramp from the back warehouse. There were Service Merchandise stores across Connecticut, we used to go to the one on Wolcott Street in Waterbury, but there were also Service Merchandise stores in Derby, Enfield, Manchester, Newington, Orange, and West Hartford.
I found a couple of old commercials, you can get an idea of what the stores looked like-
Here's one from 2000 -
Service Merchandise existed from 1934 to 2002, 68 years. The company rose from it's beginnings as a five and dime store in Pulaski, Tennessee, to the country's leading catalogue-showroom retailer in the 1970's and 80's. I remember Bob Barker constantly giving away Service Merchandise good on the Price is Right.
The company downfall started to happen in the 1990's, when fellow giant retailers like Walmart and Best Buy ate away at their market share. The company filed for bankruptcy protection in 1999 and finally closed the remaining 200 stores in early 2002.
I have such vivid memories of beautiful paintings, cool home accents, rows of luggage, and tons of jewelry and the latest electronic devices whirring and beeping away. My dad was always on the lookout for a shoeshine machine, and my mom loved the kitchen and bath aisles. I was a Star Wars, Atari, and Colecovision addict, and always made a beeline to the toy aisle. I have such good memories of that store.