I along with probably millions of people who have lived in or frequented Atlanta for the past 40 or 50 years all remember Rich’s Department Store. Someone who is my mother’s age remembers it even better. Every time we go shopping in Atlanta, I think of Rich’s. I can’t help it! The family and I were just in Atlanta this past Friday and Saturday morning, and we went shopping at Lenox Square. If for some reason you are not too familiar with Atlanta and the Buckhead area, but like to go to Lenox Square Mall, the Lenox Rich’s was at the Peachtree Street side of the building. Macy’s took at big chunk of it on that end. I really miss it, and get nostalgic every time we go.
Rich’s was started in 1867 in downtown Atlanta, and by 1906, it was in a large building between Martin Luther King and Whitehall Streets. My Nanny Caylor grew up in Atlanta from 1918 until 1936. She, her mother, and two sisters use to go shopping at Rich’s. When my Nanny was a child, Rich’s had a “pulley system” that ran above the customers heads with containers. Evidently, the customers placed a ticket that coincided with the merchandise with their money, and then they sent the container to a cashier. The cashier then sent the receipt and the change back to the customer.( Now, if any of you can explain better, please do. It’s been about 30 years since my Nanny last told me the story).
My Nanny’s mother (Sarah Maro Cox Aleander… Sadie Alexander) was also a genius at sewing. My Nanny rarely had store-bought clothes, but she had excellent home-made clothing. If my Nanny Caylor saw a dress she really liked at Rich’s, my Nanny Alexander would say, “Okay, let me study it for a few minutes.” She would then analyze it, store it in her memory then make my grandmother a dress like it. Cool, huh?
I only got to go the main Rich’s building one time around 1986, and I really enjoyed it. It closed not too long after that. Not just for nostalgia sake, I always enjoyed shopping at the Rich’s department stores that were in the Atlanta malls until the early 2000s. They had great, quality, men’s clothing (especially their ties), and always had good sales. Oh, me, thanks for the shopping memories, Rich’s!