The Many Faces of 1960s Shoppers’ City

There was something for everyone at this St. Louis Park store.

Behold the legendary Shoppers’ City! This low-budget version of Target was my workplace for two years in the 1970s, where I dished out food at the cafeteria, folded towels and sold ladies’ hideous polyester pants for $3.

The four-square-block site had many lives, starting as baseball fields and ice rinks. After World War II, the city erected ten quonset huts to house returning veterans. Next it was considered as a site for a civic center, complete with a city hall, library, and municipal auditorium. In 1962, the city was offered $440,000 for the site and the proceeds were used to build the present City Hall.

The building was built in 1962, with Topps Department Store as the first tenant, opening in fall 1963. Topps declared bankruptcy in 1965 and was replaced by Shoppers’ City.

The store had it all: bakery, record store, furniture department, beauty shop, barber shop, optical shop, dry cleaner, shoe repair, cafeteria and more. Legend has it the pet department sold monkeys.

In 1967 the store became Zayre Shoppers’ City until closing in 1979. Stores came and went: K-Mart, Red Owl Country Store, Applebaum’s Grocery Store, and now, it’s home to Micro Center and Burlington Coat Factory.

Jeanne Andersen is secretary of the board of the St. Louis Park Historical Society.