Whatever Happened to Ben Franklin Stores?
Every town had one.
OK, that may be a bit of an exaggeration. But it sure seemed like every town had one!
It's funny how some things from a person's growing up years just seem to fade away. There's no big explosion, no headline news story, no memorial. It's kind of like, you turn around and they're gone.
It seemed like every town had a Ben Franklin store. You might have called it one of the old 'five-and-dime' stores. There's a pretty good chance your Mom got craft items there, things she could sew with, things she needed to 'create' with. If you can remember her crocheting on the couch, or maybe stitching up a shirt or pair of pants, well, chances are she'd been to the Ben Franklin store.
And you wanted to go along 'cause they had a great candy selection, too!
Named after (of course) the great Ben Franklin, they took his 'A penny saved is a penny earned' credo and brought it to retail. You didn't need a wad of cash to shop at Ben Franklin. After all, remember this was a five-and-dime store.
And when I say it seemed like they were in every town, well, at its peak, there were 2,500 stores nationwide!
But by the 1990s the hey-day of Ben Franklin had come...and gone. Founded in 1877 as Butler Brothers, and in 1927 as Ben Franklin, they declared bankruptcy in the mid-'90s.
But there are still Ben Franklin stores! Promotions Unlimited stepped in and purchased the chain name in 1997 and has continued operating as a distributor servicing individual franchisees. In fact, in checking around the internet, there's a Ben Franklin in Sheldon, Iowa, and various craft stores around the country. And they're online, too.
So while you may not walk down the street to your hometown Ben Franklin anymore, they're still around. You just have to look a little harder!
Wikipedia Contributed To This Article
Art Alley 2020