Retail Council of New York State: Historical Highlights

August 15, 2023
Written by
Don Vidler
Don and Cliff from vidlers 5 & 10

Retail Council of New York State has just published a detailed article about some historical highlights of Vidlers 5 & 10, along with an interview from myself (Don) & Cliff.

Don: When our granddad opened in 1930 up through the early ’50s, we were just a local 5 & 10 – very much just for the village. Back in the ’50s, virtually every little town in the U.S. had a 5 & 10 store, whether it was the big chains like Woolworth’s or stores like ours. So, for a long time it was just local people coming in to get their shoelaces or a frying pan. In 1960, Grant’s, which at one time was one of the biggest variety chain stores in the country, came into East Aurora. That really set us back, but they closed just two years later.
In the late ’60s, we really started to highlight being the old-fashioned five-and-dime. There was a local graphic artist in town named Rix Jennings who suggested playing up the old five-and-dime theme. So, they redid the whole storefront. Then, in the ’70s, my father and my uncle Bob started going after bus tours, trying to be more of a regional draw, and that started to work pretty well.
Also, we had never really done any advertising to that point. But in the late ’70s they did a TV ad with Liberty Bank of Buffalo, which was running a series of ads called “Good Partners.” At that time, their spokesperson was Peter Graves, who was the original star of the “Mission Impossible” TV show. It was the number-one show in the country, and everyone knew who he was. He walked through our store and talked about the old five-and-dime. That really put us on the map, because more people from Buffalo and Rochester and Western New York said, “We want to go see the old 5 & 10.”
Then Cliff came in the ’80s, which is when we did the biggest physical expansion. From 1950 to 1980, it was pretty much the same size store.
Cliff: We put the addition on and we doubled the size of the third building. And then in the early ’90s we purchased the building next door, the fourth building. We went from two and a half to four buildings in a couple-year period. We’re around 15,000 square feet of selling space. We started at 800 square feet in 1930.

Find the entire article & interview from them HERE.

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