Old-fashioned five-and-dime goes back in time

June 26, 2008 6:37:28 PM PDT
Mike Gehant, the owner of the Southwest Side five-and-dime store, got his start sweeping the floor.Times have changed since the store opened in 1956, but J and R Variety, 6318 S. Pulaski, has not.

"These are cobbler aprons...ladies wear these over their clothes but no one around here sells them anymore," said Gehant.

The store has been in the Gehant family for 52 years.

"We try to keep the old-fashioned five-and-dime going...in our ads we always say your old-fashioned five-and-dime...come in for a blast from the past," said Gehant.

Forty-thousand different items make up the inventory of the store. Even though many of his suppliers have closed over the years, Gehant keeps on going. Gehant and his wife, Cindy, have four sons. They wonder if the boys will take over the store someday.

"I grew up in the neighborhood and I used to come here every week as a child buying little cut-out dolls," said Cindy Gehant. "It's just been great that we've been able to keep this store here."

A good number of customers come in just to take in the past.

"A lot of them ...come back and say, 'Oh when I was a kid I used to shop in a store just like this in some other town.' They just love to walk up and down the aisle...and just reminisce," said Gehant.

J AND R VARIETY
6318 S. Pulaski

773 735 4995


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