Good Riddance, Big Store | Letters | Chicago Reader

Good Riddance, Big Store 

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To the editors:

Your story by Michael Ervin on the demise of the Archer Big Store [Our Town, August 3] was very well written, but as a former employee of the store, it is no time for tears.

There is no need to lament over its closing or indeed to hold any tag days for the avaricious owners who made a fortune throughout the years. They were fortunate that the neighborhood of Brighton Park somehow has not changed in the past 50 years. There have been no racial inroads; it remains a bastion of ethnic, working class residents who resist any changes in life style.

As for the store itself, the merchandising and advertising were a throwback to the depression. The advertising was consistently the worst ever produced; merchandising was medieval, as befitted the awkward and backward tactics of the owner.

Treatment of employees and benefits were laughable. The word union was considered an obscenity, when it was whispered that perhaps the Retail Clerks Union might organize the workers. Yet, many stayed on for years, since working in a store was a step upwards from a dreary job in the nearby Campbell Soup Factory.

Zemsky's Department Stores who are the new owners will bring the store into the 20th century and give customers a far better shake for their money.

So say farewell and good riddance to Archer Big Store forever.

Richard L. Brown

Northbrook

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