Thursday, June 4, 2009

Main Street Stories: The D & C Building


Saturday, June 29, 1940 was a red-letter day in Rochester - literally. It was on that day that the D & C Store, a fixture on Main Street since 1926, opened to the public in its brand new building at 401 S. Main. The sleek Art Deco design complete with the big red D and C letters over the entrance replaced the old Lambertson block which had once housed George Dennis's store and following that, Axford's Sport Shop.

The advertisement for the grand opening of the new store welcomed customers to a "greatly enlarged modern daylight store, complete with new fixtures, sanitary candy department and many new and enlarged lines of merchandise." That candy department was hard to miss, being located right inside the door where it tantalized the kids of the town. On opening day, according to the ad, the special was cream nut fudge for 19 cents a pound.

Other opening specials were souvenir needle books for the ladies and yardsticks for the men. A quart of Aerowax floor wax could be had for 35 cents, and clothes hampers (choice of 3 colors) were on sale for 89 cents.

At first, the D & C Store did not occupy all of the space in the new building at Fourth & Main. The back of the building, with a separate entrance off Fourth Street, housed at various times the Tot to Teen store, Plassey's Market, and Mason's Market. Eventually, the D & C expanded to use the entire space.

Rochester's D & C Store was part of a chain founded in Stockbridge, Michigan in 1926 by brothers James and Paul Dancer and their partner, Glen Cowan (hence the D and C name). Their business expanded to 54 stores across Michigan at its high point, but by 1993, the giant discount retailers had taken their toll and the D & C chain closed its stores, including the one in Rochester.

After the D & C faded into memory, the building was remodeled for restaurant use. The first tenant, opening in late 1994, was America's Pizza Cafe; it was replaced in 1998 by Andiamo's, which currently occupies the space.

OK, readers: most people remember the squeaky wood floors, the candy counter, and maybe the legend of the ghost. What do YOU remember about the D & C?

Photo: A view of the D & C building about 1950.

12 comments:

  1. I was in the D&C the day the announcement of the death of Karen Carpenter came over their radio.

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  2. I worked the Christmas season of my senior year, 1958 at the famous candy counter of the D & C Store. Most of my paychecks went for things that I put on layaway. I sure remember the squeaky floors. Ilene (Mowat) Hyder

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  3. My grandmother, mother and brother all worked in the D & C Store at the the main four corners in Howell. It's now a restaurant and though my wife and I moved away from the Howell in 1971 and now live near Grand Rapids, we return often. Sitting in the estaurant, we often try to imagine it like it was with the various "departments" and the wooden floors and of course candy counter as you walked in the front door.

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    1. My grandfather owned the D & C store in Howell until he passed away. I hope your family members liked working for him. I've heard he was a very kind & lovable man. I'm on here trying to search for pictures of the store because our family has very little photos.

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    2. I worked as stockboy at D&C Store in Howell 1963-1967. Mom worked there 1960-1968. Great place to work, wanting best effort, but treating employees well. Noted Courtney Klaus posted above looking for photos of store. Found one, link: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/33/01/9d/33019d12967e8dab40ff0152bf0856ea.jpg
      I would check the library as they are very organized and probably have better photos. Jeff, made the trip up from Florida last month and it was great to see you last month at Zemp's Memorial get together. He would have been the source for photos everything Howell, but we're a month too late to ask...RIP.

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  4. I remember in the 70s when they carpeted the old wooden floors...they still squeaked underneath!

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  5. I worked there in High School during the early 80's. Swept floors, stocked shelves, shoveled sidewalks and anything else that needed to be done. Mr. Tisch, the manager, was awesome. Sometimes he would make breakfast in the basement on Saturday mornings. Never heard about the ghost thing until I read it in the paper many years later. Maybe I just forgot. Spent alot of time in the basement too. Best perk as employee was samples from the candy counter.

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  6. I have never herd of this place until I received some jewlry I bought on eBay . It has the a maple leaf ( gold ) it is on the card it was sold on . Writing said oct 25 th 1969 second trip price on back is 10 cents . I was intredsted in the comment so I had to look this up . I love the history .

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  7. It sold Weegee squirt guns: the most accurate for indoor work.

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  8. I remember that a lady crashed her car into he side of the building. No one was hurt, but the building was damaged. And I remember those squeaky floors!

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  9. My mother bought some Christmas decorations in a D&C Store. I know it was before 1962 because we left the state then. They are 4 small angel figurines. They are 2 3/4" tall, all in colorful gowns - red, pink, blue, green. It's nostalgic for me in that my Mom gave me these and she is now gone. Does any one remember this product in the D&C Stores. Just curious. Thanks. Jeannette....

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