The way we were

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How many of you remember when Saks Fifth Avenue opened in the former W.T. Grants? If you are a Pittsburgher you know what I’m talking about. What should I talk about first, Grants or Saks? Both have Pittsburgh stories that go way back.

DebbieNorrellBox

In the old Grants they made hot dogs right in the front of the store, it seems like it was practically in the window, they were good and tasty. Grants was a step up from a five and ten cent store. At this time in shopping history SFA was on the sixth floor of Gimbels (the building that now houses Burlington) and it was a small store with a boutique feel.

I was very young when I was sneaking up to Saks and felt like I was shopping in a very special store. Saks then moved into the building that housed Grants. It was a beautiful thing. Three floors of fashion and style, I spent many happy shopping days at Saks and a lot of lunch breaks. My favorite piece of jewelry came from the fine jewelry department at Saks. Fast forward to 2011, the announcement is made that Saks in Pittsburgh is closing, they aren’t renewing their lease, and then just last week the final leather pump dropped, Saks is going to close on March 17 and the sale is now in progress. Say it isn’t so; we are going to add Saks to the list of Pittsburgh places that are gone forever. I guess I will have to go and get a souvenir to add to my collection from Horne’s, Gimbels and Kaufmann’s.

While Saks is going, going, gone, I want to draw your attention to another former shopping area that is practically a ghost town, Parkway Center Mall. Yes, readers there are still some stores open in that mall right outside of Downtown. There is a Kmart, GNC, a nail salon, a comic book store, a store that rents tuxedos and one that sells sports clothing. There is a big Giant Eagle as the anchor in a mall that was once very vibrant; it even had a food court. I’m trying to figure out how they can afford to keep the lights on. They have big signs that read first and third level is closed.

A little closer to home, Morgan’s Restaurant on Rodi Road has served the last crab leg. It seemed like they disappeared in the middle of the night. They held an auction on January 24 and now even their sign is gone, poof.

While I have been looking at the demise of some retail giants, I noticed something else that makes me go hmmm, why don’t pregnant women wear maternity clothes anymore? I have seen so many pregnant girls and women wearing tight clothes that barely cover their stomachs. The clothes seem to be from their “I’m not pregnant” days. Maternity clothes are cut a certain way and are designed for the growing belly. When ladies wear clothes that are not suited for their current condition they look bigger and even more pregnant. There used to be stores that were dedicated to maternity wear. And just about every large department store had a maternity department. What happened to them? I guess stores stopped selling them because ladies stopped wearing them. The way we were.

(Email the columnist at deb­bie­norrell@aol.com.)

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