Newberrys, before and after dropping the J.J., was an American five and dime store, my favorite genre of store growing up later supplanted in my affections by 99 and 98 cent stores, thrift shops and any other place I could find a wide and often nonsensical variety of goods for bargain prices. These foot long metal rulers encouraging shoppers that “For a Full Measure of Value The Year-Round Shop Newberrys” featured calendars from September 1957 through December 1959, peak years for the chain whose beckoning portals invited shoppers to drop their cash on lots of cheap and oftentimes fantastically cheesy finds inside.

newberry-ruler_2070 newberry-ruler_2069

Although green on green was a popular color combo in the late 50’s it would have been even better if the rulers featured the store’s original gold serif signature logo on bright red that used to spread across the entire width of the top of the stores.


The logo changed over the years, dropping the serifs and going to a more modern script font but very little changed inside and it became one of the more excellent trips down memory lane before all the stores disappeared, gobbled up by time as chain monsters like Wal-Mart, K-Mart. stomped through the land.


This 1928 Newberrys on Hollywood Blvd. in LA is now the Hollywood Magic Shop.


Thank God I still have two full measures of Newberrys..


2 Responses to “Allee Willis’ Kitsch O’ The Day – 1957-’59 Newberry Rulers”

  1. Jenny Lens

    I bought BLACK ORCHID lipstick around 1977 at Newberrys in Hollywood. Lots of punks got makeup and all kinds of things there (notice I said got, not purchased).

    I loved the old-fashioned “dime stores.” Something different at 99 cent stores, if you go to the most of the smaller ones. I guess the 99 cent store on Wilshire near Fairfax comes close to it. But the vibe is different.

    They replaced Big Lots (formerly Pic ‘n’ Save) in West LA (Staples) and Venice (Whole Foods). I sure miss those! The one in Culver city on Jefferson/Sepulveda is really horrible, messy and crap stuff.

    I miss finding cheesy treasures and useful affordable stuff. Oh well, such is progress!

    Thanks again for another trip down memory lane!

  2. Kathy Cunningham

    “Newberry’s RULES!”
    We used to have one at The Miracle Mile/Americana shopping center in Manhasset!
    Boy…do I miss it along with Woolworth’s and McCrory’s!