THEN: Woolworth’s, opened in 1965 (originally 1924); closed in 1997 / NOW: Caspari, opened in 2005
“Your Money’s Worth More at a Woolworth’s Store” was one of the ad slogans of the beloved discount department store, a downtown C’ville fixture for 73 years. Woolworth’s first opened downtown in 1924 on Main Street, and in 1965 it expanded and relocated two blocks away to 100 W. Main St., current home to specialty gifts and home accessories shop Caspari.
Before Woolworth’s arrived at First and Main, a funeral parlor occupied the space (per one University of Virginia Magazine article), and after Woolworth’s closed, it became a Foot Locker.
Its larger Main Street location comprised 15,700 square feet of retail space and a new lunch counter with a seating capacity of 54 diners. (Woolworth’s old lunch counter stools can now be found at Quality Pie on Avon Street.)
The F. W. Woolworth Company was founded in 1879 in Utica, New York, and through the years, evolved into a variety store pioneer and retail chain powerhouse. Yet inevitable changes in the retail landscape–shifts to shopping malls and suburban, big box stores–foretold its doom. On October 22, 1997, Woolworth’s faded to black, forcing wistful Charlottesvillians to forever say good-bye to the iconic five-and-dime.
PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy of Steve Trumbull / www.cvilleimages.com