Before there was Dollar General, Dollar Tree, Family Dollar…there were dime stores, also known as the old 'five and tens'. The signs outside touted items for “five and ten cents” but that usually meant candy, gum, pop, coffee, and comic books. Most everything else was more. I remember going to a 5 & 10 when I was a kid and asking my mom “how come this isn’t 5 cents or ten cents? What about this? And this? And this?” I was baffled…I felt I was lied to.

In the second half of the 1800s, there were shops where everything cost only five cents. A certain guy with the last name of ‘Woolworth’ definitely took notice of the success of these ‘nickel stores’ and took it a step further. He opened up his own shop, “The Great Five Cent Store” in February 1879. It didn’t take long for him to expand, as his first “Five and Ten Cent Store” opened just two months later, in April 1879.

Then the floodgates opened with more entrepreneurs starting up their own “5 & 10” stores.

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Most of them used “5 cent” and “10 cent” in their logo, and after a while some stores added “25 cent” and even “$1.00”. But the “5 & 10” concept was the one that drew the customers.

Call ‘em what you will:
“5 & 10” - “Five & Dime” - “Dime Store” -  these shops were great. Toys for the kids, records for the teens, clothes for the girls, sports stuff for the boys, lunch counters for the hungry, soda pop for the thirsty, comic books for the kid in everyone, and much, much more. It was a kid’s paradise and a mother’s dream afternoon.

Take a look at the gallery below for some great old Five-And-Dimes from Michigan’s past!

Michigan 5 & 10 Stores

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