Retail History: Mammoth Mart, One of the First Discount Stores



From retail_historian:

Mammoth Mart was a discount department store chain, located in the northeastern United States,
primarily in the New England area. The chain was founded by Max Coffman in Framingham, Massachusetts in 1956, and was something of a prototype for the large, downscale department store, selling housewares, hardware and clothing in stark, unfussy buildings, usually in suburban shopping center locations. Other discount department store retailers like K-Mart, Zayre, and Bradlees would subsequently expand on this concept.

Their advertising mascot was Marty the elephant, a smiling, blazer-wearing mammoth.


By 1969 the chain had 35 stores, though they filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter XI of the Bankruptcy Act of 1898. The chain was acquired by now-defunct King's Department Stores in 1978.




Retail Hell Memories: Watertown Lockdown


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From  flannel_is_life, Tales From Retail:

In 2013, I managed a grocery store in an area near Watertown, MA. At that time, police had officially identified and located the now infamous Marathon Bombing suspects and l woke up one day to find out Boston and all the surrounding towns were on emergency lockdown. Nobody in, nobody out. Now, MA has weird laws about being in a state of emergency, and grocery stores fall in that gray area where you're not considered "non-essential", since if somebody were in a life and death situation and needed to get formula for their kid or something, somebody needs to be in the building to offer that service. Any business that was actively open to the public on April 19, 2013 was being forced closed by police and was subject to a minimum $1000 fine for breaking the emergency ban, but l headed into work so I'd be ready for when the lockdown ended.

All day long the phone rang incessantly with people wanting to know if the store was open, the occasional person strolled up to bang on the doors but later in the day I got the following call:

M = Me V = Customer on the phone, insert thick Boston accent.

V: Hey are you open?

M: No, we are not.

V: Why not? I need some food, you don't want customers?

M: The Governor ordered a lockdown. Businesses in the area aren't allowed to open until the lockdown is lifted.

V: Lockdown?? Why, what the fuck's going on?

M: Something to do with the marathon bombing suspect. They think he is in the area somewhere, they're hoping to flush him out.

V: Are you fucking kidding me? THAT'S why you can't sell GROCERIES?

M: I'm afraid so.

V: (tone escalating) FUCKING TERRORISTS, I want to EAT!

M: Yeah, I'm totally sorry for the inconvenience but this is very much out of my control.

V: FUCK THIS. What area do they think he's hiding in? If the police are going to take this long finding him, I'm gonna go find this fucking guy myself! I WANT A SANDWICH! FUCK!

Click. Line goes dead. The store didn't open that night and I don't know if V got to buy his sandwich ingredients elsewhere, but I laugh every time I think about him going vigilante and running around Watertown on lockdown, looking through sewer grates, and poking bushes because a "fucking terrorist" wasn't going to stand between a Bostonian and his fucking sandwich.

-- flannel_is_life