Friday, July 18, 2008

The 'C' And The 'O'


Back in March, we presented a slew of wondrous photographs from the personal collection of a former Caldor employee, Jim. Jim or "Jimmy," was a long-time employee at the late New Britain location who often took photographs (that's right, film, ladies and gents) of the store in-and-out over the course of a decade plus.

Following a story (which seems like history now) that ran in our local newspaper, The Hartford Courant, Jim had contacted me via email about a girth of photos and memorabilia he carried on with him throughout the years as a Caldor employee.

These "time capsules" are one of my proudest offerings for the site seeing as my inspiration for was built upon the late rainbow-icon discount store Caldor, but specifically the bygone location on Farmington Avenue in New Britain. One of my goals with the site when I began, was to do whatever I could to find tangable evidence of this very store and others.

Because of Jim's personal photos, he's helped visually remember the store in ways I myself had not due to often spotty details of memory and its fallacies.

On Jim's final day of work, he recounted to me how it was one of the most horrifying days of his career at the New Britain Caldor -- as parts of the plexiglas lettering came falling down from the withering, old stucco and rockface facade that seemed cutting-edge back in 1972 and as the chain's 21st store for the 21st Anniversary.

They, like most of the store's remains in 1999 went to the landfill. Except for a few morsels Jim has kept them snugly in his garage for all those years: the 'C' and the 'O', wonderfully preserved in their burnt-orange goodness.


This sign, another iteration of the well-known "rainbow" motif, was the second one used on this store, likely replaced from the original one sometime during the 1980's.

All photos are the respective property of Jim and were given permission to use on The Caldor Rainbow only. As with all of Jim's photos, do not reproduce or share on any other website.


GeorgeL said...

Those letters are just da fuggin BOMB! Way to go Jim for saving them! I saved some choice pieces from TRU in westport and I know how it feels to keep some memorbilia from a retail store you grew up in...


Thanks for posting this stuff Nick! You're da man for putting this site together. Its a great trip down memory lane!

Nicholas M. DiMaio said...

Many thanks for your kind words, George.

By the way, have you seen the former Toys R Us site in Westport? I've got a shot of it -- with the entire facade gone to make way for Home Goods.

Pseudo3D said...

Man, that's pretty cool. Is the lighting inside gone or can he theoretically get an ALDR made and rebuild the facade of his house looking like a vintage Caldor? (oooh, that would be expensive)

Great pics, although your Toys R Us finder should be updated with my Waco, Texas finds...

GeorgeL said...

Yeah Nick, I drive by the Westport TRU site every day on my way into the office and out. I just stopped by about 2 weeks ago and grabbed 3 of the colored tiles that went around the front of the building. Got a full yellow one and a broken red and broken yellow. I sifted through the dumpster for about 10 mins. Could only find one complete tile. The rest were shattered.I was trying to get one complete of each color.

Everytime I drive by I get so depressed that TRU is gone. It was such a nice getaway on my lunch hour. Now i have to drive to Norwalk and that store stinks. Its just an ugly store and they never have anything good. Westport had that nice vintage feel. :(

Dolphin Hater said...

Dude. That is awesome. God my parents were budget since all of our shopping was done at Caldor. You should post more of this vintage store stuff. Pretty sweet.

jessie lee said...

we lived for a brief time in new britain and remember my mother being so angry with me for using a quarter meant for the collection plate at church in a gumball machine at this caldor. all my other caldor memories are of the store in torrington, along with the bradlees and of course, my beloved nu-stars. a search on stars is how i found this blog and i'm a fan for life now. so happy to see those letters are with someone who'll love them!

as a little girl, i dreamed of having one of those stars from the torrington nu-stars and i wept like a fool as a teenager when thy closed.

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