The late 19th century gave us the five-and-dime store, where everything cost five or ten cents. Those are the ancestors of what we think of as a “dollar store” today. What you might not know is that dollar stores have been around for more than 140 years. It’s just that back then, a dollar could buy you a lot more, so they were rather swanky.
Here’s a relic of one such store in Albany, New York, resurrected by the history blog Hoxsie for our amusement. The ad’s style is typical effusive 19th-century, but who could resist a store that promises “An immence stock of beautiful and desirable articles” shown off by “POLITE AND ATTENTIVE YOUNG LADIES!” Especially when those “LADIES!” are promised to “show every attention to Visitors.”
Sources I’ve found differ regarding how much $1 in 1870 currency would be worth today, but around $20 is a good ballpark guess.
The store is long gone, as is the building. As far as I can tell, the office building now on that spot holds an Internet service provider, a Citizens Bank branch, and a Starbucks.
The Tweddle Hall Dollar Store [Hoxsie!]