Many of my childhood memories of growing up in mid-century, middle-class America revolved around the family store. The stories, beginning with the “garage-sale” like environs of Milwaukee’s Jewelry & Toy Center are regaled in the 300-plus pages of my book, Retail Schmetail. In fact, the ad slogans of the time, broadcast across schlocky poster-painted, sun-baked signs still make me queasy. The now cliché “lowest prices in town”, “newest hot imports” and “try our easy lay-away plan” were the bromides of the era.
The latter, “easy lay-away plan”, was utilized by the street-smart Stein twins to appeal to their hard-working post-war customers. It enabled their shoppers to make weekly payments on a ring, watch, or transistor radio, before gaining possession of the sought-after item. This was long before the advent