Thursday, September 4, 2014

Dick's Fine Foods

I have no idea. This abandoned place on Division near 32nd was long gone before I lived here but the sign was super-charming so I Photoshopped it back to life because that's the sort of thing I do sometimes.
Does anyone remember this place at all? Air conditioning! After this I'm going to go check into a motel with color TV!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Reggae Sunsplash '89

I randomly heard some reggae music while on a road trip this summer and it took my mind back to an event I went to back in 1989 called Reggae Sunsplash. It took place in Johnson park in Wyoming. I ended up there because a guy who went by the name Rastaman Nane' had come to the local public access TV station GRTV looking for somebody to shoot video of the event.  At that point I was very active down there and agreed to do it because it sounded like fun. 

Anyway, it occurred to me that I must still have the tape someplace and sure enough, I did.  Here is a short I edited together to put online from about 2 hours worth of footage. Hope some people enjoy this time-portal to a summer long ago!


Saturday, July 12, 2014

What was Witmark?

This building has sat abandoned down on North Plainfield forever, next to Kmart (of course) What was Witmark anyway? My only memory of it was me and a friend walking into one in the early 90s, looking around a minute then walking out. Anyway, I like taking pictures of abandoned buildings for some reason.

What does wikipedia have to say?
Witmark was a catalog showroom and jewelry/electronics chain that operated in West Michigan from 1969 to 1997. The chain was founded by Paul Leven.Over its nearly 30-year history, Witmark dominated the jewelry market with an average of a 34% market share. The organization made it a point to develop and keep close ties with the communities the stores served.
By the early 1990s, Witmark's earnings began to decrease due to continued involvement in unprofitable categories outside of jewelry. Big box stores such as Best Buy, Circuit City, Toys "R" Us, Dick's Sporting Goods, and MC Sports captured the electronics, toy, and sports markets respectively and more effectively than Witmark could. 
In 1996, Witmark experienced its fourth consecutive year of declining sales and earnings, and the company announced changes to its operating strategy. Unfortunately, vast barriers—such as long-term leases on real estate—limited the company's ability to adapt to the changing business climate. The following year, Witmark liquidated its assets and laid off its 700+ employees. Like the larger national chains of catalog showrooms (such as Best Products), the retail concept collapsed in the late 1990s due to overwhelming competition from big box stores and Internet shopping.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

DJs Lounge

So I've only ever been to this place one time last year when I was trying to tour obscure dive bars. There were literally only 2 other people in there the whole time along with Jim, the owner. It has a cool look from another era. It was featured in the movie "30 Seconds Or Less" as a strip club (they added "Gentleman's" to the sign, above the "Lounge."

Driving past yesterday, I saw that it was finally closed and for sale.

I think the sign is an amazing piece of Americana. I wish there was a way to preserve it but I guess the best I can do is make this cool animated gif of what it might have looked like when it was working!

Anyone know the history of this old place?