Memories of Kresge Newark Department Store

by Alfred Quinton


I have fond memories of working for Kresge Newark from 1956 to 1959. After completing 2 years of college, I was first employed as a management trainee and worked in various departments to learn various aspects of the business including floor sales, receiving and inventory, telephone order board and advertising. My starting salary was $45 a week with a promotion to $50 plus medical benefits after training was completed.

After 6 months training, I was selected as the Assistant Buyer in the Rug and Carpet Department. I held that position for two and a half years. During this time, I gained experience as a buyer and department manager under the tutelage of a very experienced head buyer and office clerk. I learned years later that I was selected primarily because I was 6’2” and 180 lbs. Those rugs and carpets were very heavy!

I caused quite a stir the Monday I started training on the telephone order board as there were a large number of ladies undergarment advertisements in the Newark Evening News and the Newark Star-Ledger the previous Sunday. Women were very hesitant to describe their needs to the male voice of a young man answering their call, so I was not able to complete many sales orders that day but I had a few good laughs.

During this time I married and resided in Perth Amboy, NJ, commuting to downtown Newark via the Pennsylvania RR. I would usually walk up Market Street to Kresge Newark at the corner of Broad and Market Streets. When the weather was inclement, I would take the Newark City Subway which stopped right under the Kresge building.

In those days, this section of Newark was very upscale as a business and shopping center. Kresge Newark competed with Hahne’s Department Store down the block on Broad Street. Kresge’s had an sit-down restaurant to compete with Hahne’s.The elevators were controlled by elegantly uniformed attractive female operators that would announce the various departments as they reached each floor. Rugs and Carpeting was on the 4th floor (my area) and we sold top of the line carpeting and twice a year held sales of imported rugs from all over the world. Learning about carpeting from Italy, Japan, and Belgium plus rugs from the Middle East opened a whole new world to me which affected my life long business career. We also had a “Bath Shop” that sold the latest colorful bath rugs and accessories. It was in managing this area that I learned the importance of having the most popular color rugs in stock and having a liberal exchange policy as the customer frequently wanted a different color when they saw their first choice at home.

I have always greatly appreciated Kresge Newark for the start they gave me so many years ago. This large department store exposed me to a new world of wonderful products and services. I also learned to deal with various personalities both as customers and co-workers in an upscale environment.

Al Quinton now retired in Dover, Delaware at age 79 with these fond memories.


Email this memory to a friend.
Enter recipient's e-mail: