Who Remembers Shoppers Fair? And When Did We Lose It?
How did that jingle go?
Shoppers Fair for dis – counts!”
When I was in high school I was in a local rock band. Even though there was a party store that carried records in that small town, when it came to buying them, I would drive the 20-plus miles it took just to get to Shoppers Fair (by the way, 'Shoppers Fair' has no apostrophe).
It was a typical department store with all the usual stuff, but for me, Shoppers Fair had a GREAT record selection, with the best prices anywhere.
CASE IN POINT:
At most stores that handled records, the top price for 45's (single song vinyl records...you might have to explain to the kids and grandkids what these were) was one dollar. And other shops would always try and beat that price. I recall buying those singles for 98 cents, 88 cents, 78 cents, and 69 cents.
Shoppers Fair was selling those same records for 49 cents...half of the top asking price! And vinyl albums were like $2.98, so heck, yeah, I would make that extra 20+ mile trek!
Shoppers Fair kicked off their all-too-short life in 1956 in Connecticut, but the majority of Shoppers Fairs was in Michigan. By 1962, there were thirty five stores spread out over twelve states – NINE of them in Michigan! No wonder we thought it was a “Michigan-only” shop!
The success of Shoppers Fair resulted in copycats, therefore lawsuits.
There was a store in Flint that called itself “The Fair” (how obvious can ya get?). Shopper's Fair lost that case.
Then there was another blatantly obvious ripoff under the same name – Shoppers Fair – in Arkansas. Our original Shoppers Fair lost that case, too. Where was the justice?
By 1974, with so many other department stores competing like Kresge, Meijer, Woolworth's, K-Mart – especially K-Mart – Shoppers Fair filed bankruptcy. At the time there were a total of 46 Shoppers Fair stores; by the end of the year, all the Detroit locations were shut down. By 1975, the rest were gone.
Since Shoppers Fair stores were so lengthy – almost filling up half a parking lot – most of their locations were sectioned off, split up, and turned into a series of smaller “strip mall”-style shops.
We were sad to see it go.
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