Oh, boy! A nostalgia trip back to the good old days! My mother clerked at Kaufman's Dept. Store, and my aunt at Stewart's, two big competitors in Lous ville, Ky. Both stores on Fourth St., shopping street with Woolworth's, Grant's, Kresge's, etc. and with a usual big Sears basement display where l remember Gene Autry singing "Rudolf" a few blocks down Broadway. Them was the days!
Sticking with the nostalgic part and growing up in the suburbs, my mother worked a secretary for a company in downtown Boston and used to take us to see the train displays at either Filene's or Jordan Marsh (can't remember which) on Washington Street in downtown Boston.
And only a few blocks away on Tremont Street was Eric Fuch's Hobbies.
I have always felt no matter what kind of a store you have, to get people into it, just put a circle of track in your window with a train on it.
I agree with Jim. We lived in Stockholm for a while. Near Christmas, an optician near our apartment had a loop of Marklin track in his window with an HO gauge train of flat cars/gondolas that had glasses. contact lenses, accessories, etc. There were always "kids of all ages" looking at the train.
You guys are making me feel deprived!
I grew up in Morristown, N.J., about 30 minutes from the Hillside factory, and I can't remember even one department store layout from the late '50s or early '60s.
I don't think our two town department stores (Epstein's and Bamberger's) stocked Lionel and certainly didn't have display layouts. Our big-box store (Two Guys) stocked trains at Christmas, but big-box stores used every square foot for merchandise and didn't have space for displays.
I eat my heart out whenever I see pictures of the Lionel dealer display layouts. As a kid, I would have gone absolutely nuts for those layouts.