Fond memories of Zuckweiler’s department store – Red Bluff Daily News

In my day, Zuckweiler was the department store, and most people still living know that it was located in the Cone & Kimball building in Main and Walnut before the unfortunate fire of 1984 when it burned to the ground. It was the place where discerning shoppers went to shop.

Although Elmer (aka Zuke) Zuckweiler had competitors, such as JC Penney and Montgomery Ward, his store seemed to carry more family-friendly merchandise, which they stocked and sold in a wide variety of sizes. So Zuke operated our only general purpose department store at the time. Locals sometimes traveled to Redding for shopping, but before the highway it was a time-consuming trip.

These days, with the introduction of Walmart to our beautiful city, it would have been difficult for Zuke, if he was still in business, to compete in today’s market and it is unlikely that his company survived.

Speaking of department stores and franchises, sources say Kohl’s, Macy’s and Nordstrom have been unable to withstand competition from Walmart despite CEO changes and makeovers, and all will eventually suspend operations.

Montgomery Ward, who pioneered catalog shopping, has been characterized as failing to keep up with the changing times. It couldn’t develop a strategy to compete with fresh companies such as Target, Walmart and other mid-range specialty stores that reduced its business. However, when did Montgomery Ward go out of business? In 1997, Wards filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, emerging from protection in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois in August 1999 as a wholly owned subsidiary of GE Capital, which was then its largest shareholder, according to Wikipedia.

In a last-ditch effort to stay competitive, the company closed more than 100 outlets in 30 states, ditched the specialty store strategy, rebranded the chain as simply Wards, and spent millions of dollars renovating its outlets. remaining. be flashier and friendlier, says Wikipedia. GE Capital has reneged on promises of further financial support for Montgomery Ward’s restructuring plans.

On December 28, 2000, after sales fell short of expectations during the Christmas season, the company announced that it would cease operations, close its remaining 250 outlets and lay off its 37,000 employees, according to Wikipedia. The ensuing liquidation was at the time the largest Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation in American history (it would later be surpassed by the 2009 and 2018 store closings of Circuit City and Toys ‘R’ Us respectively ). One of the last stores to close was Salem, Oregon, where its human resources division was located. Montgomery Ward was liquidated at the end of May 2001, ending a 129-year-old business.

In conclusion, Elmer Zuckweiler was an intelligent and pleasant man, a good businessman and very well liked in his community. However, he managed to leave the company just in time and retired to Florida, if I remember correctly.

By the way, JC Penney was founded in 1902 and the company carried that name for years, JC being the name of founder James Cash. However, after more than a century in business, JC Penney filed for bankruptcy protection in 1997. Who would have thought?

As a second aside, I remember a few days before Christmas standing outside Penneys on Walnut Street and feeling very cold because I was wearing short pants. My mother, sensing my discomfort, wrapped her long fur coat around my legs before we entered the store and into the basement where they displayed a huge array of toys for sale.

“You don’t appreciate a lot of things in school until you get older: little things like getting spanked every day by a middle-aged woman…things you could pay a lot of money for later in life.” Emo Philips.

Every evening, in the newspaper or on TV, we are exposed to the fate of the Ukrainians. A sentence keeps repeating itself, “the city has been reduced to rubble”.

Can you imagine Red Bluff ever being reduced to rubble? I can not.

However, we are fortunately quite far from Russia and unless we misstep in our defense of Ukraine, we should not fear a nuclear confrontation with the Ruskies.

B. Corneilus and P. Johnston recently accused me of being a “self-proclaimed self-glorifying columnist.” Greeley horrors!

Yes, that is correct and I wear the badge with honor.

Yes, I profess greatness. I have not only lived a long life, but I am the dean of columnists for no other reason than to have a line in this newspaper every once in a while, since 1964. In doing so, I have surpassed the longevity of the column of l esteemed Jean Barton who writes about livestock in Tehama County and thus saving me from recounting that unfortunate period of my life when I profited from the deaths of thousands of animals raised for human consumption but nowadays, where I urged 4H mothers and fathers to desist from raising – and often naming, tsk tsk – the brief burdens of their children, and the possible sale of these to slaughterhouses, or even the fact that the parents have the custom-made little critters slaughtered, then later announce at the table to their children, “There, wasn’t that more eating your little Bambi, your lamb, than just parading him around the ring Oh, don’t cry.

A pithy quote from the late George Burns (aka Nathan Bimbaum) after celebrating his 100th birthday: “You can’t help but get old, but you don’t have to get old.”

A woman walks into the kitchen and finds her husband lurking around with a fly swatter. “What are you doing?” she asks. “Fly hunting,” he replies.

“Oh great. Did you kill any,” she asked. “Yeah, three males and two females,” he replied.

Intrigued, she asked, “How can you tell them apart?”

“Three were on a can of beer and two were on the phone.”

Robert Minch is a longtime resident of Red Bluff, former columnist for Corning Daily Observer magazine and Meat Industry, and author of “The Knocking Pen.” as well as his new book “We Said”. He can be reached at [email protected]