Dime Stores, also known as five-and-ten-cent stores and variety stores. Frank Winfield Woolworth, the father of dime stores, learned the concept while running a five-cent booth in the store of William Moore in Watertown, New York. In 1879, Woolworth opened his first store in Utica, New York, eventually developing into a major sector of U.S. retailing and became an important outlet for American mass-manufactured merchandise.

The Dime stores lowered prices for housewares and other products too, so European immigrants and rural Americans who had moved to the cities, could afford to buy merchandise in incredible volumes. The stores’ major merchandise classifications in the early days included toys, notions (sewing supplies), china, glassware, stationery, shoes, and Christmas ornaments. In time, candy and toiletries also became big sellers of Dime Stores distinctive and inexpensive merchandise.

However, changes in shopping patterns and new forms of retailing in the 1970s and 1980s caused the virtual demise of Dime stores by the early 1990s. They lost their advantage in all of the major merchandise classifications they once dominated. Discount stores and toy chains, such as Toys ‘R’ Us and KB Toys, captured the toy business. Woolworth closed its last Dime store in 1997.

The pictures are part of Alan’s collection of Five & Dime toys.