Advertising and the News
Before the rise of the internet, most people received their information through newspapers. These newspapers had pages devoted to specific stores and their sales. If there was a sale, you'd see it advertised in the paper. Most of the advertisements come from the larger department stores, and the most prevalent trend was balancing the high quality of the merchandise with low prices. In the past, stores and businesses would also give customers cards to advertise the store, detailing the addresses of said stores and the services or merchandise they provided.
For those who are interested in the economics at work at the time, there is a CPI Inflation Calculator provided by U.S. Department of Labor that allows viewers to gain insight into what these goods would cost today.
This article detailed the wonders of the shopping center, a place where consumers could buy everything they needed and enjoy an evening of recreation. One such wonder was the public address system, which was used to look for "lost mothers" rather than lost children. These shopping centers could be seen as the predecessors to the superstores that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s.
This is an advertisement for a sale on winter coats, dresses, and various types of footwear at Pomeroy's, instructing consumers that if they wanted "quality, high fashion, and budget price," Pomeroy's was the place to go.
This is an advertisement for Pomeroy's "money-saving basement," held weekly on Wednesdays. It explains that coupons and payment plans were accepted.
Pomeroy's urged shoppers to come in on November 1, 1950, to take advantage of their "thousands of values." Credit was accepted; those without a charge account could apply on the fifth floor. During the post-war economic boom, many stores began to offer store credit and charge accounts since there was a growing sense of economic confidence.
In November 1949, Pomeroy's offered a variety of shoes for sale, including Oxfords and high heels. A selling point was that these shoes did not need to be "broken in," and that they would be the "most comfortable [shoes] you ever wore." How many shoes have you needed to break in, and how long have they lasted?
On its first anniversary in 1926, Neisner Bros. offered a sale on clothing items, records, and school supplies. Even now, stores still offer back-to-school sales. Where did you shop for back-to-school clothes and supplies?
As spring appaorched in 1913, N. Springer and Son's on 45 South Public Square, offered a sale on Easter suits for both men and boys, emphasizing that customers would be able to find the style "most becoming" to them.
Morris Jewelers put out an ad in 1949 urging customers to buy a Spartus camera at half-price, emphasizing its portability and stream-lined design.
In 1949, Pomeroy's advertised a sale on cotton housedresses, marking them down to $1.98 each while emphasizing their "dainty ruffle trims," pockets, the variety of colors available, and a guarantee that the colors wouldn't run or fade through repeated washing.
In March 1913, Lazarus offered a variety of spring and Easter suits, coats and dresses in a rainbow of colors. Lazarus emphasized that these garments were both chic and practical.
This is an advertisement for a sale on fall frocks and winter coats at the Lazarus store, noting that the coats are decoarated with a fur trim. How many of us still wear real fur today?
An advertisement for a sale on woven furniture at Landau's music, furniture and jewelry store emphasized the bright colors of the cushions. This store was located at 107-109 South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre.
Landau's Music and Jewelry store offered a contest in 1926, instructing entries that if they wrote a letter explaining how Landau's new furniture store would be beneficial to the public, then they could win $25 or $10.
This is an advertisement for the Isaac Long Easter sale, offering hats for women and girls, along with corsets, petticoats, gloves and other assorted clothing for women and children.
This article features an advertisement for the grand opening of the Wilkes-Barre Neisner Brothers store in 1925, featuring a list of items for sale. Each of these items cost no more than $2. Yesterday there was Neisner Brothers, now we have dollar stores.
An advertisement for Isaac Long's spring opening drew attention to Parisian millinery that was shown on "original Isaac Long models" and noted that the "choicest styles of two continents" could be found there.
Even in 1929 people stressed about finding the perfect Christmas gift - this advertisement from Fowler, Dick, and Walker has a list of potential gifts for him, for her, for the kids, and for the home. It also helpfully suggests which stores to visit to find these items.
An advertisement for the Boston Store's Diamond Jubilee sale in April 1939 urged consumers to come by and view some of the "featured gems" from the basement salesroom.
The Beverly Store, located at 69 South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre, offered a sale on "Chanel-inspired" suits and coats made from "Milanese imported silk." The targeted customers likely viewed imported silk as elegant, and Chanel was a recognizeable name during the 1960's, remaining so today.
This photo shows a pair of trade cards from the Lindsay & Norris tobacco and cigar store in Wilkes-Barre, and the Kirkendall & Haines Stables in Wilkes-Barre. Although they were larger than business cards, they served the same purpose, helping prospective customers find these places of business.