Home » The Water Cooler – What Store From Your Past Do You Wish Was Open Now?

The Water Cooler – What Store From Your Past Do You Wish Was Open Now?


The “Water Cooler” is a feature on where we ask you a question or provide a topic, and you talk about it.

The “Water Cooler” will be up Monday-Friday in the noon hour.

Think about a store that you loved. It could be one that’s still open but not quite the same anymore, or one that’s closed. Then tell us, what store from your past do you really wish was open now?


Talk about it….


TTD January 13, 2023 - 12:34 PM - 12:34 PM

Capwells, Bullocks, Hallmark Stores, Bed Bath & Beyond (before they changed to their current inventory), El Papagallo (restaurant), El Torrito, Chevys, David M Brian (before they changed locations and down sized), Crate & Barrel (before they changed locations and downsized), Radio Shack, plus many more – lol

AJR January 13, 2023 - 2:07 PM - 2:07 PM

I love how most of these are still open businesses….at least BB&B is alive for now 🙂

Well Folks January 14, 2023 - 9:06 AM - 9:06 AM

David M’s was always the bomb for a fabulous unique gift. Or a “spoil me” goodie for oneself. Mine was always a pair of Glam Gloves (fancy rubber gloves) or a cute kitchen towel. Bought one of each when I was moving out of the area for my new home I was buying

S January 13, 2023 - 12:37 PM - 12:37 PM


there are more, but this one will do……….

Fed Up January 13, 2023 - 2:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Another Oaklander!

S January 13, 2023 - 4:40 PM - 4:40 PM

Nope, Richmond….. went to the one in San Pablo
Didn’t know O-Town had one; Neat !

The Wizard January 13, 2023 - 8:29 PM - 8:29 PM

S, Where was Gagerdines in S.P.

S January 14, 2023 - 7:53 AM - 7:53 AM

Just the other side of El Portal Plaza; buy the junior college.
Shared the same parking lot and strip by Baskin Robbins, and the Fish & Chips place (Rhodes English F&C ???)

The Wizard January 14, 2023 - 3:50 PM - 3:50 PM

Lived in Rollingwood by the church. Never went to that strip mall to much. Did go to Grand Auto and the Fish % Chip place and the Safeway before it. Also went to Sambo’s when I was younger. Thanks S for the 411

Well Folks January 14, 2023 - 9:08 AM - 9:08 AM

Oh LOVED Gaberdines on the E One Four. A friend was cleaning out stuff when her mom died and found an old Gaberdines bag.
And what about MacFarlane’s on on 35th and E 14

Dawg January 13, 2023 - 12:45 PM - 12:45 PM

Mervyn’s, they always had a great selection of men’s clothing, at good prices, and I always bought my towels and sheets there. I also miss the old Sears and Roebuck, when Craftsman, and Kenmore were top quality. Grand Auto was much better than what we have now, they installed the parts they sold, including tires, engines, and transmissions. And, Radio Shack had electronic parts that couldn’t be found anywhere else.

Original G January 13, 2023 - 12:48 PM - 12:48 PM

Yardbirds and Eames Hardware & Supply

Cyn January 13, 2023 - 12:51 PM - 12:51 PM

Willits Rexall Drugs in Willits, CA. They offered a little bit of everything besides filling prescriptions, from authentic Polish stoneware to the most delicious homemade fudge; lots of nice gift options, and of course, Hallmark cards. I always stopped in when we passed through and always left with a new purchase. I think I miss their big sign the most.

S January 13, 2023 - 2:05 PM - 2:05 PM

The old Willits Cafe make the best Patty Melt.

S January 13, 2023 - 8:22 PM - 8:22 PM

opps…. made…

Exit 12A January 13, 2023 - 12:51 PM - 12:51 PM

Yardbirds Hardware. Friendly, knowledgeable staff, good prices, and locally owned.
It was bought up by Home Depot in 2005.

Captain Bebops January 13, 2023 - 12:55 PM - 12:55 PM

Fry’s Electronics. It is difficult to know if you got the right part or not by ordering online. There you could check the item out as well as alternate items.

Snappy97 January 13, 2023 - 1:15 PM - 1:15 PM

I Magnin’s – loved the french soaps and the home store

Cellophane January 13, 2023 - 1:22 PM - 1:22 PM

That’s an easy question.

Tandy Leather and Radio Shack/original version.

Dorothy January 13, 2023 - 1:31 PM - 1:31 PM

Emporium in SF. Woolworth’s on Market. Hallmark’s when it was a larger store. The original Sear’s before it was bought out. Others that were small businesses that no longer exist.

Dawg January 13, 2023 - 3:01 PM - 3:01 PM

The rooftop rides at the Emporium were always a fun place for little kids and, and their Christmas decorations were the best in the City. Woolworth’s was always busy, with lots of customers.

Ancient Mariner January 13, 2023 - 1:37 PM - 1:37 PM

Fred Kelleway’s Hardware, Mervyn’s, Long’s, Big ‘B’ Lumber, OSH, Bill’s Ace in Pleasant Hill (the new one isn’t as good as Bill’s), Hogan’s Sporting Goods.

Well Folks January 14, 2023 - 9:10 AM - 9:10 AM

My dad would say if you couldn’t find it Kelleway’s it couldn’t be found

The Fearless Spectator January 13, 2023 - 1:57 PM - 1:57 PM


domo January 13, 2023 - 2:38 PM - 2:38 PM

Gemco, El Papagallo, Hogan’s gun shop / sporting goods, Scott’s restaurant, original El Charro, and Velvet Turtle

Old Timer January 13, 2023 - 3:17 PM - 3:17 PM

Top Notch Variety.It was in El Monte shopping center and we use to ride our bikes down to the store and buy matchbox cars to collect.That was back in the sixties.To bad I didn’t save them lol.

Roz January 13, 2023 - 3:18 PM - 3:18 PM

Dating myself here, …. Above The Belt.
First it was in Sun Valley Mall the moved to Contra Costa Blvd.
Closed down sometime in the early 80’s.
We bought a furniture cabinet during the close out of the store.
Still is one of my favorite pieces to this day.

ClayDen January 13, 2023 - 3:19 PM - 3:19 PM

Hobby Town, Burton-French Lumber in Walnut Creek, and the original OSH in San Jose. Using the way-back machine, Huston’s Hobby Shop in San Jose.

jprcards January 13, 2023 - 3:33 PM - 3:33 PM

The Lollipop Palace in Walnut Creek was the greatest when I was a kid….Ice Cream counter and loads of cheap candy….a great hangout after school. The women that worked there likely got tired of us hanging around but they never ran us off….That was in the Encina Grande Shopping Center.

bdml January 13, 2023 - 3:53 PM - 3:53 PM

K-Mart really miss them

The Wizard January 13, 2023 - 4:06 PM - 4:06 PM

Bobs Big Boy

The Wizard January 13, 2023 - 4:09 PM - 4:09 PM

Woops…Store…Lets go with Mervyn’s in San Pablo.

Clyde Martinez January 13, 2023 - 4:14 PM - 4:14 PM

Longs Drugs

Hanne Jeppesen January 13, 2023 - 4:37 PM - 4:37 PM

I use to go to Sports Authority for running shoes, hiking gear and other work out clothing. Can’t say l miss it tough, shoes l can get anywhere, and Macy’s carry active wear, besides l think l have what l need for some time to come. I miss that’s there’s no bookstores in the mall, such as Borders.

Mr. Smith January 13, 2023 - 5:54 PM - 5:54 PM

Shams, the original owner.

Mimi (original) January 13, 2023 - 6:22 PM - 6:22 PM

MERVYN’s!!! Open! Open! Open!

Bayslashers January 13, 2023 - 6:24 PM - 6:24 PM

Second Deck

Dr. Jellyfinger January 13, 2023 - 6:44 PM - 6:44 PM

Mayfair Market

The Wizard January 13, 2023 - 8:26 PM - 8:26 PM

I went to the one on Cutting & San Pablo in El Cerrito.

BWIZZLE January 13, 2023 - 6:52 PM - 6:52 PM

Hilson’s in Concord. Got my first Levi’s there.
I think there was one in downtown Martinez too.

Well Folks January 14, 2023 - 9:11 AM - 9:11 AM

Yep. Martinez had old squeaky wood floors

just me January 13, 2023 - 8:23 PM - 8:23 PM

I really miss Navlet’s! They had such great employees and the owner was wonderful…as were their plants etc! The company that bought it is ok, but not the same as Navlet’s.

The Wizard January 13, 2023 - 8:31 PM - 8:31 PM

A&L Poster and A&L Records in San Pablo

No Excuses January 13, 2023 - 9:30 PM - 9:30 PM

Woolworth’s in Park & Shop…. took each of my toddlers there for their first ever grilled cheese and a sweet fountain coke. I’m still their Hero-mom… just because of that!

Gittyup January 13, 2023 - 10:13 PM - 10:13 PM

Just when I was finally making enough to be able to shop there, I. Magnin and J. Magnin stores closed. There was really nothing to compare to their sense of style.

Well Folks January 14, 2023 - 9:14 AM - 9:14 AM

JM sales were the bomb. My first credit card, with a limit of $200 was issued by the JM in Oakland in the Kaiser Center. I worked down the street and would use my mom’s card. Manager finally asked if I wanted one of my own

Well Folks January 14, 2023 - 9:15 AM - 9:15 AM

FabricLand or House of Fabrics. There is no decent fabric stores unless you can find a small indy store. JoAnn’s sucks

Happy Squash January 14, 2023 - 2:16 PM - 2:16 PM

Longs! The one in Clayton Valley had awesome book selection. I cannot stand CVS.
Also: Hobby Town & Beverly’s Fabric & Craft

Cautiously Informed January 14, 2023 - 3:36 PM - 3:36 PM

Slow Sams Market. At Olympic and Tice Valley Rd. Old time small family run grocery, with a meat counter in the back. The family that owned it lived on the 2nd floor above the market. We used ride our bike there, in the late 60s, to buy candy.


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