Destination: Montrose

With its many restaurants, salons, boutique shops and small-town charm, Montrose Shopping Park has become a popular shopping destination for many in southern California. It wasn’t so long ago, however, that Montrose was the shopping destination for nearby residents, offering most anything they might need within a couple of blocks.

While a handful of businesses like Faye’s, El Charro, Frank’s Shoe Repair, Grayson’s Tune Town and Landry’s Sporting Goods have lasted through the years, many are long gone as the overall “flavor” of Montrose has changed over time.

Do you remember Shopping Bag market? Shopping Bag was a full-scale grocery store located right in the heart of Montrose, at the southwest corner of Honolulu Avenue and Market Street. The east side of the building still sports the tall structure sticking up from the roof that held the large, red “Shopping Bag” sign.

Do you remember Montrose Pharmacy? Located in the corner building now occupied by Rock Cola Café, prescriptions were filled in the upstairs area while the downstairs held a selection of greeting cards, toiletries, a makeup counter and a soda fountain.

Do you remember Sew What or Embassy Fabrics? Both shops carried all the necessities to sew the latest fashions, and if you couldn’t sew, there were several clothing stores, too. Do you remember Cosette’s or J.C. Penney? Cosette’s, which carried mainly children’s clothing, was located where Tom’s Toys is today. Unlike some of the larger J.C. Penney stores, the one in Montrose, whose former building is now split between Sake restaurant and Spa Pura, carried only clothing and shoes.

Talking about shoes, do you remember Elson’s, Meldon’s or Bill Bailey’s Shoes? Elson’s specialized in Buster Brown shoes for kids and was located where Walk This Way shoes is today. Mr. Elson himself used to wait on the customers and always gave the kids a lollypop. Meldon’s was located on the ground floor of the old Montrose Hotel building where Andersen’s Pet Store is now. Bill Bailey Shoes, located at the southwest corner of Honolulu and Ocean View had a large sign in the shape of a boot outlined in flashing marquee lights!

Several stores carried gifts, cards and stationery. Do you remember P.B. Carroll’s and Dorsey’s? Dorsey’s occupied the building next to Black Cow with a toy section upstairs and a large selection of greeting cards, novelty gifts and seasonal merchandise downstairs. P.B. Carroll’s, on the south side of Honolulu, sold general merchandise, but in the basement was the “Holy Grail” for kids – the toy department with the glass case on the wall displaying the latest Hot Wheels cars!

One shop on the north side of Honolulu carried cameras, lenses, tripods, photo paper – everything for the amateur or professional photographer.

Do you remember Woodall Camera? The sign in front of the store had the silhouette of an owl, with the owl’s eyes used in place of the “Os” in Woodall.

Do you remember Avril’s TV? If your television was on the blink and in need of repair, or if you wanted to buy a new one, Norm Avril of Avril’s TV was always happy to help. Avril’s was located in a small, red, clapboard house on the south side of Honolulu.

Montrose even boasted two auto dealerships. Do you remember Fred Hauter Ford and Ed Priester Chevrolet? Hauter Ford was located on the spot that the new Trader Joe’s will soon occupy and Priester Chevrolet was situated on the northwest corner of Ocean View and Broadway.

One of the more unique stores in Montrose was a one-stop supply depot for camping needs. Do you remember the Montrose General Store?

Sleeping bags, duffel bags, lanterns, hiking boots, Levi’s – even equipment for panning gold – crammed the floor-to-ceiling shelves reached by a rolling ladder. Located where Once Upon a Time is now, the Montrose General Store was a real throwback to the old west.

Though still as popular as ever, Montrose Shopping Park has changed over the years from one sort of shopping destination to another. Do you remember being able to shop for all your necessities within a two-block stretch?