Shillito's, Cincinnati, Ohio







The John Shillito Company (Shillito’s)
7th & Race Sts.,
Cincinnati, Ohio (1830)





Do you remember 
The Dining Room, the
Coffee Shop or
any of the restaurants
at Shillito's?

Click above to read about a new book
about Cincinnati's great department store
Tea Rooms . . . and contact the author
with your memories of them.



DOWNTOWN STORE DIRECTORY   (840,000 sq. ft.)

Lower Level
Charlie’s Downstairs • Shillito’s Budget Store

Street Floor
Fine Jewelry • Jewelry • Handbags • Small Leather Goods • Gloves • Hosiery • Neckwear • Cosmetics • Health & Beauty Aids • Prescriptions • Top Shop • Blouses • Sweater Shop • Street Floor Sportswear • Street Floor Shoes • Notions • Luggage • Travel Shop • Stationery • Games • Calculator Center • Books • Bake Shop • La Gourmandise • Optical • Men’s Bar • Men’s Gift Shop • Men’s Accessories • Men’s Furnishings • Sport Shirts • Active Sportswear • Shillito’s Coffee Shop

Balcony
Men’s Suits • Men’s Outerwear • Men’s Shoes • University Shop • Men’s Sportswear • Trendsetter • Levi’s Shop • U-Shop • Formal Wear Rental • General Repair Office

Second Floor
Infants’ Wear • Toddlers’ Wear • Children’s Accessories • Children’s Shoes • Girls’ Wear • Jr. Boys • Prep Boys • Boys’ Wear • Teens • Prep Shop • Toys • Pet Shop • Junior Sportswear • Junior Dresses • Junior Coats • Junior Shoes • Young Juniors • Junior Shoes • Shoe Salon • Pavilion Shoes • Pappagallo Shop • Etienne Aigner Shop • Concept Shoes • Millinery • Town Hall • Place Elegant

Third Floor
Moderate Sportswear • Moderate Dresses • Casual Dresse • Gallery Dresses and Knitss • Active Sportswear • Moderate Coats • All Weather Coats • Contemporaries Shop • Miss Shillito Shop • Regency Room • Regency Place • La Boutique • Young Designer Shop • Clubhouse Sportswear • Cosmopolitan Dresses • Fur Salon • Bridal Salon • Coat Salon • Discovery Sportswear • Sportique • Signature Sportswear

Fourth Floor
Pavilion Sportswear • Pavilion Dresses • Pavilion Coats • Pavilion Lingerie • Sleepwear • Loungewear • Daytime Lingerie • Foundations • Pavilion Juniors • Daytowne Dresses • Studio 4 • Women’s Sport Shop • Women’s World • China • Glassware • Silver • Crystal • Gifts • Table Linens • Bridal Gift Registry • Decorative Home Accessories • Bed Linens • Bath Shop • Notions • Closet Sjhop • La Bite

Fifth Floor
Furniture • Recliners • Interior Design Studio • Sleep Shop • Broadloom • Accent Rugs • Old World Shop • Homeworks • Contemporary Accent Shop • Pictures and Mirrors

Sixth Floor
Housewares • Small Electrics • Cleaning Supplies • Gourmet Housewares • Gourmet Cookware • Clock Shop • Lamps • Lifestyle Shop • Hardware • Garden Shop • Paints • Home Accessories • Gift Galleries • Fabrics • Sewing Center • Art Needlework • The Dining Room

Seventh Floor
Rob Paris Portrait Studio • Beauty Salon • Canned Ego • Tonsorial Parlour for Men • Travel Service

Garage Store
Appliances • Vacuums • Televisions • Sound Center • Records • Cameras • Sporting Goods • Ski Chalet



BRANCH STORES

Tri-County (1960)
230,000 sq. ft.








Western Woods (1963)
189,000 sq. ft.

Kenwood Mall (1966)
209,000 sq. ft.

Beechmont Mall (1969)
114,000 sq. ft.











Oxmoor Mall (1970)
Louisville Kentucky
281,000 sq. ft.

Fayette Mall (1977)
Lexington Kentucky
185,000 sq. ft.

Florence Mall (1977)
Florence, Kentucky
125,000 sq. ft.

Jefferson Mall (1979)
Louisville, Kentucky
150,000 sq. ft.

53 comments:

  1. I loved Shillito's. Every Christmas my Mom and Grandma would take me downtown to see Santa there. So many memories!

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  2. The Macy's stores at Oxmoor Center in Louisville and Fayette Mall in Lexington (which opened in 1971, not 1977) still have the original Shillito's look on the outside, though they have both been redone on the inside several times over the years.

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  3. Does anyone know whatever happened to the Christmas display they had at Shillito's? I went there every year when I was young, and I took my Children there until the mid 1980's. I was just wondering what they did with it?

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    1. Many of the displays are displayed at Crossroads Church in Oakley during the holiday season! They're a delight to see!

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  4. They are trying to find a home for the Shillito's Christmas display now. Here is a link to the official Face Book page...

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1584960717#!/pages/Shillitos-Christmas-Display/138110972911216

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  5. My first real job. The basics of discipline, talking to people, and service are the fundamentals I use to today in my current job. I would be very interested linking up with people who worked in the Kenwood store from 1972-1975. markj10350@fuse.net

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  6. Shillitos in Cincinnati was not just the flagship of the chain, but the premier department store of Southern Ohio. They set a standard for quality and customer service that has never been equalled since.

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  7. My first job out of High School was Shillito's Better Shoe Dept. on the 2nd floor. After having children, I took them to see Santa at Shillito's every year. They were the good days. I now have grandchildren and miss being able to share those days with them.

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  8. Such fond memories I have of the early 1980's with my mom and sister dress shopping at the downtown Cincinnati Shilito's.

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  9. At one point, SHillito's was the Largest department store in America. Until the 1930's it was the largest west if the Appalachian Mtns. Shillito's was famed for buying directly from Paris. They would also buy from New York. Influential families would travel from all over the mid west and south to attend their fashion shows to see and buy what was new from Paris.

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    1. I am interested in finding out about dresses that might have been sold at Shillito's around 1910, particularly so-called "lawn dresses." If anyone has any information, please contact me at mpriogrande@gmail.com Thanks!

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    2. The Cincinnati Art Museum has a collection of costumes including dresses from Shillito's. You might try contacting the Curator, Cynthia Amneus, to see if she can help. See www.cincinnatiartmuseum.org

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  10. My family and I always looked forward to shopping there many times a year. The store was part of our family!!!

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  11. I wonder if the 840,000 sq. ft. given for the downtown store includes their "garage store". It was accross the street at the northwest corner of 7th and Elm Sts. on the first floor of the vast Shillito's parking garage which took up most of that whole block (the garage is still there, but the current owners obliterated all evidence of the old store by bricking up the doors and windows so that one would never know they had ever been there.) The garage store housed their appliances, electronics and phonograph records departments. The Federated Department Stores corporate offices were also in that structure on the top floor.

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  12. I am looking for the 1960's Capezio shoes (not Capezio dance shoes) that I use to purchase at Shillito's in CIncinati, OH as a teen..many people are lookin for these shoes (kinda like a t-strap flat shoe..came in suede and leather in various colors)...lots of people would purchase them again...if any info please email me at shrncffy@yahoo.com

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  13. My mom purchased a child's toy Garden design set back in the mid to late 60's. It had a plastic greenhouse you put together, with cardboard covered in green fuzz to look like grass. It had planting beds you put little plastic flowers in, rock walls, columns and plastic wrought Iron gates. Not sure if is was made in England? or what the name was. I still have it today but no information about it. LOVED it, probably the root of my love of gardening!!!! If anyone has any information on this please email me at Themom800@zoomtown.com

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  14. In the 1950's and 60', Shillito's served a wonderful chef salad with an amazing French-style dressing. I still try to duplicate that dressing, but it never matches the original. Anyone have a recipie for this?

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  15. in the mid 1960's we used to go to Cincinnati at Christmas and one of the big department stores had the most incredible area for children - they had a big wooden playhouse that only children could fit in the door - there was a "lemonade tree" with a spigot and paper cups you could fill and refill as many times as you wanted, but my favorite thing was the candy cane factory - elves behind a window and a row of telephones you could call the elves and request what flavor of candy cane you wanted and out would come a warm candy cane - does anyone remember what store that was or where I might find more information about it?

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  16. Shillitos's probably wasn't the biggest store W of the Alleghenies for long, if at all. May Co (Cleveland), Hudson's, and Marshall Field's all were larger, and all came well before the 30s.

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  17. Years after shillitos closed the Boy Scouts purchased the elf display. I was thrilled to go through it again on Harrison Ave. about ten years ago. The display has moved again and i have no idea where it is. I would like to see it again. I have such wonderful memories of it. I have a video and maybe pictures. Can I somehow get the video to the webmaster for this site?

    I also have pictures of Pogue and Pogie from Pogues. They were at the Cincinnati Museum Center in the room with the train display.

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  18. I have several pieces of art that my grandfather purchased at Shillitos, possibly as early as the 1930's. I believe that they are originals and I am trying to authenticate them. Does anyone know if sales records exist from that time period?

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  19. I was wondering if anyone knows where Shillitos bought candy from? They had peanut cream clusters, and at Easter they bring in Fiesta Malted Milk Ball Eggs. I love them and always look to see if someone else carries these but have yet to find a replacement. Any ideas on where I can look to find this information out. This was in the 60's and 70's and even into the early 80's.

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    Replies
    1. My Mom use to work there most candy and baked goods were done in store.

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  20. WHAT HAPPENED TO THE PLAQUE ON THE SIDE OF THE BUILDING DECLARING

    THE JOHN SHILLITO COMPANY

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    Replies
    1. It's still there, I think.

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  21. I loved the bally shoes sold in the Men's shoe dept at Shillito's. The tie ups with the leather upper sides and the various suede colors on the top were my favorites. Wish I could buy some today

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  22. I worked at Federated Department Stores in the Garage store from 1967 until I just retired last year (2012) from Macy's in the "new" bulding (which was built in 1979). I could write a book on the way downtown used to be...... It broke my heart when they took the pictures of Fred Lazarus, Jr. and Ralph Lazarus down and replaced with Macy's private label posters. Mr. Fred was Founder of the company. The name Federated Department Stores,Inc. has been buried with their pictures. What a sad thing. History is history......

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  23. I am so glad that I googled department stores in Cincinnati! I was born and raised in Cincinnati but now live in Arizona! Just reading all the comments puts a smile on my face! I loved going downtown to Shillito's and spending the day shopping with my mother and grandma! I loved the different levels of the store, the bakery everything! I miss all the richness that Cincinnati had and has lost with technology! Now living in Arizona we have lost a lot of history too with stores and malls closing. I long for the simple times in life when we were all happy! Wouldn't you agree? Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, I miss those times .. Cherish them
      ..a former Cincinnatian....

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  24. Capezio person above - I was/am very into them although the ones from Shillitos were mostly from the childrens/teen shoe dept. In the mid 60's Pogues carried the ones I'd love to find, but can't. Also sold @ Giddings in the '60's. Also looking all over online for a purse that everyone carried during the 1962-63 school year - they were leather and had a huge bamboo hoop for a handle. The body of the purse was attached to the hoop by brass rings. The purse closed by flipping over a leather strap that was weighted down by a large/heavier brass ring. Also NOTHING was as good as the downtown pre-teen dept.!!

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  25. I can remember my grandmother taking the four of us grandkids to Shillito's to buy us Easter outfits. We girls dresses, hats, white patten letter shoes the boys suits, ties and shoes. We had a ball. I also remember seeing the Christmas displays and all the fun of sitting in Santa's lap.

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  26. I have Ideal Toledo Cooker with a cooper label on it stating The John Shilleto Company Cincinnati Ohio. It is in excellent Condition. If it would be of any interest to anyone to purchase you can contact me at event12@comcast.net. The cookers alone are estimated for $200-$400 dollars. I can sent you pictures of it also if you are interested.

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  27. I have some pencil sketches done by a student named Mary Lou Wilson who attened Holmes. These where entries into the The John Shillito's Company scholastic art exhibit. Classification is commerical 14. ANyone interested can contact me at 937-618-1621. Annette

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  28. I remember trips to Shillito's with my Aunt when I was very little. early 70's. We moved to Florida and then she moved to Florida years after we did. We recently moved her to a nursing home. To my surprise I found a Shillito's paper sack in her closet neatly folded like brand new. It came home with me. :)

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  29. God Bless your Aunt, and how dine that a memento of her love and care for you as a child "popped up!"

    I would be happy to show the bag in my bag exhibit and dedicate it to your Aunt if you'd like. bakgraphics@comcast.net

    Thanks for sharing the story, though!

    Bruce

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  30. Hi my name is jimmy i have a tie from Shillito's with american heritage club tag on it and the united state's seal all over it what year was it made??

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  31. I worked at the Tri County store in the early 80,s (Shillito's, Shillito-Rikes) till I got promoted to a buyer (Misses and Women's) for several years, housed in the sub-sub basement, where all the merch was received, tagged and shipped from, before the Distribution Center (DC) opened.

    Each store had a number, like Tri-county was TC or 003. I was at the big store (001) when a pipe burst on Race street and flooded the place, LOL. It was also designated as a bomb shelter from the 50s, and a tornado shelter.

    I also prowled the store in my off time, including the circular shipping tubes that ran from top to bottom. I know this dates me, but does anybody else remember when the interior of the old store was a circular ramp that included a glass roof and skylight on the 7th floor over the china department (before they painted it over)

    Everything you could possibly want was in "the big store" as we called it. Dry cleaning, travel agency, toys, luggage, books, coins, watch repair, check cashing, wine, general merch, alterations, Santa Land, and even a pet store. A snake actually escaped from the pet store and made it all the way up to a dressing room on the balcony before they found it!

    To me, as a little kid, we always went down to look at the windows and Santa at Christmas. It was like walking into a big TV where everything and everyone was well-lit and beautiful.

    All the food was indeed prepped for the branch stores (like Charlies )at the old store, including entire turkey dinners you could get at TKGS. They also made all the candy, bakery and specialty items like Christmas candy and cookies, as well as ice cream (not the best, but loved the bakery stuff)

    Behind the scenes, they had a giant employee cafeteria on 7 and a half where they sold a hot lunch for about $1.50 to $2.50 as an employee benefit, as well as a cold line for salads and deserts, and everyone ate together; managers, buyers and floor staff. Ah yes, turkey with mashed potatoes and green gravy that I spilled on my tie more than once heading back to my desk.

    The advertising agency was also hidden on a "half level" where the "new store" from the 30's wrapped around the old store and the floors didn't line up. So was the employee credit union. Display was also on a half floor and wrapped around the 6th (?) floor behind the selling floor. It even still had the windows that wrapped around the outside you could even see out of.

    I'll close with a story that was handed down to me in the 80's from a co-worker who worked there in the 30's. At that time, department stores were one of the places that women (mostly single) could get a "respectable" job. In those days "Mr. Fred" used to roam the store on Christmas eve and hand out bonuses to employees out of his own pocket who he knew were struggling. Nothing was ever said, but the Lazarus brothers ran that place like a family. I have to admit, that story still chokes me up when I think of how awful working in retail has become, it's basically soulless slave labor.

    After I left Shillito's, I moved to Pogues and Ayers. That store was even more interesting, but that's a store for another day.

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  32. I have found a jacket with the tag ShillitOs in it. Made me think on looking into this company. It must of been a sight to see in its day. I bought the jacket because I really loved the look. It is not even my size. It says on tag (Made expressLy for shillitOs) made in British crown colony of Hong Kong pure silk. the detail is amazing.can anyone tell me about this?

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  33. I have come into possession of "The One and Only Ice Princess" that was displayed in the front window every Christmas for over 40 years downtown. I remember seeing her every year as a kid and what a memory! She deserves to be in a museum for all to remember. Can anyone guide me in my quest to find this Cincinnati treasure a permanent home?

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  34. On 10/25, they opened the store for Shillito's Abandoned and gave tours of the abandoned floors. The tours started on the 7th floor, the Home Store, and walked around the sales floor and into the Interior Design Studio. We then went down to the 4th floor and looked around, saw the fur vaults, the alteration area, through the TV studio (which also had signs that said collections department), and then all the way to the bargain store and the subbasement. It was a neat step back in time. The tours were used as a fundraiser, but I hope they do it again and open up more of the building to explore.

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  35. What fun it used to be going shopping in the days when there was Shillitoes, McAlpins and Pogues. It was such a delight for the senses! Mall shopping cannot even begin to compare. It seems like most of the pictures I see are of the outside building. Would love to see some of the inside of the store when it was still in business.

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  36. this is truly amazing! I typed Shillito's into Google and had no idea. I worked in the Louisville, KY store for 9 years and we had such fun while working hard.

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  37. I was a Freshman at the Univ. of Cincinnati in 1963. I was with three other students, riding the Shilito's main store escalator up, when we learned that President Kennedy had been shot. The TV department became our information source and we were there when Walter Cronkite made his tearful announcement that the President was dead.

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  38. It seems that several people still remember the old store. So I will add my memory .
    For those buffs who remember the store you may not know how it and the people in it directed the current retail enviroment. With Macy's now bowing to the new retail enviroment and opening on thanksgiving I can remember hearing the story of two folks who may be looked upon as the authors of black friday and the 'Christmas season. Mr Fred and Mr. Frank Lazarus both were routed in our past. One became the manager of the store the other became the ceo of Federated Department Stores which is still housed in downtown cincinnati. NOw the story as I remember it was during the 30's Mr Franklin Roosevelt asked the business leaders of the time how to jump start the economy well it was proposed by one of these gentleman to make thanksgiving be on one special day of the month of november and use that to develop a season from Thanksgiving thru New Years to spark celebrating gift giving and of course retail sales. This my friends became what in retail was to become fourth quarter and more specifically the day after Thanksgiving the biggest shopping day of the year our very own black friday.
    Other things I am proud to be associated with is that the downtown store was at one time the largest department store.
    The store was one of the first to integrate its work force and restruants way before it was in vogue .
    The people working were the best in the world and kept christmas very very well.
    It had a coffee shop which was in it's 100 year of service when the store was shut down.
    It had its own candy department and candy was made on premises and had it's own secret ingrediants passed down from candy maker to candy maker.
    It had multiple restruants in it from the high class to the basement snack shop.
    It had elves, windows, and lets face it it was across the street from world headquarters for many a year.
    So, if any building or history should be written it is of this store it is the framework of where retail evolved. Some folks hold up a parade and a movie. I put forth let history show how great of a leader one Big /little store and more so the people who worked and lived there challenged and changed an industry. And who as I remember would honor that holiday season and not open Thanksgiving but would unveil the windows on that special friday in november...
    's ow

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  39. My Grandmother Mabel Gribbons worked in the jewelry department up until near the closing of this Cincinnati icon of history. My memories were of my mother taking my brother and I down to visit. I'd walk outside and see the Christmas displays in the front windows. I knew we were close to seeing NeeNaw as all her grandchildren fondly called her. We would go in and all the ladies would come around as she would show us off and make us pose for them. Everyone seemed to love her there. She had wonderful friends. There was a strong tie to memories of my grandmother and this store. Tildon Gribbons, my grandfather would often be doing something in the garden or around his small little shop and garage. He would say we'll NeeNaw will be working at Shillito's this week. But we can see about asking her this weekend. He was a maintenance supervisor at the downtown Holiday in my uncle managed. We lived in Groesbeck but downtown is where they earned thier income. So we visited often. Whenever I hear Shillito's it always brings back memories of my NeeNaw. Thank you for hosting this site and allowing to note what this store meant to me.

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  40. My Grandmother Mabel Gribbons worked in the jewelry department up until near the closing of this Cincinnati icon of history. My memories were of my mother taking my brother and I down to visit. I'd walk outside and see the Christmas displays in the front windows. I knew we were close to seeing NeeNaw as all her grandchildren fondly called her. We would go in and all the ladies would come around as she would show us off and make us pose for them. Everyone seemed to love her there. She had wonderful friends. There was a strong tie to memories of my grandmother and this store. Tildon Gribbons, my grandfather would often be doing something in the garden or around his small little shop and garage. He would say we'll NeeNaw will be working at Shillito's this week. But we can see about asking her this weekend. He was a maintenance supervisor at the downtown Holiday in my uncle managed. We lived in Groesbeck but downtown is where they earned thier income. So we visited often. Whenever I hear Shillito's it always brings back memories of my NeeNaw. Thank you for hosting this site and allowing to note what this store meant to me.

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  41. Jeffery Leitner said...
    My Grandmother Mabel Gribbons worked in the jewelry department up until near the closing of this Cincinnati icon of history. My memories were of my mother taking my brother and I down to visit. I'd walk outside and see the Christmas displays in the front windows. I knew we were close to seeing NeeNaw as all her grandchildren fondly called her. We would go in and all the ladies would come around as she would show us off and make us pose for them. Everyone seemed to love her there. She had wonderful friends. There was a strong tie to memories of my grandmother and this store. Tildon Gribbons, my grandfather would often be doing something in the garden or around his small little shop and garage. He would say we'll NeeNaw will be working at Shillito's this week. But we can see about asking her this weekend. He was a maintenance supervisor at the downtown Holiday in my uncle managed. We lived in Groesbeck but downtown is where they earned thier income. So we visited often. Whenever I hear Shillito's it always brings back memories of my NeeNaw. Thank you for hosting this site and allowing to note what this store meant to me.

    02 February, 2014 19:29

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  42. David Vaughan11 June, 2014 13:24

    Having reviewed the comments above I may be the senior commentor that was actually a member of the Shillito family for just one (great ) year -- 1948. The touching stories of the responders, as told from the outside, can be reinforced by this writer from the inside. It was truly a fantastic place to work. I was hired 'off the street', shortly after graduating from Ohio Wesleyan, to join a select class of twelve college graduates to participate in an Executive Background Training Program. After six months of intensive 'hand's-on' training in every department in the store I was promoted to an executive position as assistant-buyer in the beddng and domestics department on the fourth floor. Although this proved to be an interesting.assignment, it was 'sidebar' projects that made my brief, but memorable, 'career' as a Shillitoite. (I left the store for active duty in the Navy).
    As I progressed through the store in my training I met many employees that had professional experience in show business prior to retiring to a less stressful life at Shillito's. The thought occured to me why not create an employee club that would afford these folks, and others, an opportunity to join together and share their experiences? It would be an informal and fun way to make new friends from other departments thus furthering management's quest to promote a family atmosphere. So, I submitted the suggestion to management who not only whole heartedly indorsed the concept but Fred Lazruth, Jr was the first employee to sign up as a member and I was assigned the responsibiliies of Executive Director. Thus, a Shillito variety club, appropiately named "On Stage" was born soon boasting over 350 members.
    The first club endever was a very ambitious undertaking to say the least, It was to write and produce an original musical based upon department store life. After taking a maximum effort requiring weeks of after hour rehearsing, building sets, making costumes, writing and arranging all of the original music with not only an all out effort from each member, but with full cooperation from the entire store. The pride and enthusiasm this project produced throughout the store was indescribable. The way it was recieved and reviewed when it played three nights at the Wlison Auditorium on the University of Cincinnati Campus to a full house more than rewarded all of the employees that perticipated, and supported, this in-store achievement..
    Another Shillito 'sidebar' program I became envolved with was a community project few were aware of. It was the support a boy scout troop for which I was the scout master, and store coordinator, near downtown Cincy located in what was commomly referred to as 'the slums' known to have the highest rate of juvinile delinquency in the city.
    Yes, the now legendary John Shillito Department Store was indeed the warm and friendly heart beat and economic blood that rightfully represented the best of a great city.

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  43. David Vaughan11 June, 2014 13:57

    I worked at Shillito's in 1948 as the assistant-buyer of beddings and domestics and also served as the Executive Director of a employee variety club called 'On Stage' with over 350 members many of which were retired professional entertainers. Fred Lazarus and other top executives were also a members. The group actually wrote and produced a complete musical , a satire of department store life, that performed for three nights to a full house at the Wilson Auditorium on the University of Cincinnati campus. I also served as the scout master of a troop the store supported in a slum area near downtown Cincy.

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  44. I bought a record off of discog's and it had a Shillito's price tag on it.The record is still in the shrink now I know where it came from.Frank Sinatra greatest hits from the 60's

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  45. Wondering if anyone remembers a Barbie Doll offered for sale by the Fur Department (possibly in the early to mid 1980's). I bought one and would like to find another (not sure if it was at Shillito's or Pogue's but it was definitely one of the two). She had a real mink coat.

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  46. Looking for photos of Santa Claus from the 1966 -1968 Shillitio's. Can anyone help me? Looking for the Afro American Santa. He was my Uncle Arnold E. Hill. Also, I bought my first dress coat from the ladies department in 1978,Full length suede with the fake fur collar. I still have this coat,I can't part with it. loll Brendadarb@aol.com

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  47. My mother use to work at the Coffee Shop. I remember my dad would take me to visit her on Saturdays and she would make me the best cheeseburger! :)

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