Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Dining With Department Store Enthusiasts

I recently received an invite to dinner with a group of department store enthusiasts, and gratefully accepted.  Eight of us met last night at Macy's Lakeshore Grill at Oakland Mall in Troy, MI. The defunct J.L. Hudson Department Store once occupied the space that Macy's now fills.

Author and historian, Mike Hauser, coordinated the informal gathering. If you've attended one of my J.L. Hudson presentations, you know how grateful I am to Mike for his help and generosity. He has incredible knowledge about downtown Detroit businesses and their buildings [past and present], and shares his expertise so freely. His newest book goes beyond Detroit, and takes readers to Grand Rapids stores on the western side of the state.

Another department store author, Bruce Kopytek, was there with his wife, Carol.   

L: Mike Hauser  R: Bruce Kopytek

Below are books Mike has co-authored with Marianne Weldon.

Have you ever visited the online department store museum?  Mr. Kopytek created and maintains it [www.thedepartmentstoremuseum.org/]. He has also authored a book about Michigan's Jacobson's department store,  and his latest book, Crowley's, Detroit's Friendly Store, just came out.  Sadly, both stores are now memories of the past.

Several of us ordered Hudson's signature Maurice Salad with a popover and Canadian Cheese Soup.  Mr. Kopytek said Jacobson's also served Canadian Cheese Soup.  In my research I discovered many department stores [with their tea room and restaurant divisions] banded together into the American Merchandising Corporation [AMC] and shared recipes and food service ideas, which explains why many department stores had the same offerings on their menus.

Another couple at the gathering was Maura and Scott.  I discovered they were former owners of Sweet Afton tea room in Plymouth, MI, so tea was in the evening's conversation too.

It was an enjoyable evening listening to knowledgeable conversations about department stores of yesteryear, and meeting new people with like interests. 


  1. You do the most interesting things!

    What a neat opportunity - and the food lookis so delish!

  2. What a fun evening for a department store enthusiast! I visited the website for the online museum, and was happy to see there was information about Rich's, our wonderful Atlanta-based store that sadly no longer exists. My first job out of high school was at Rich's and it still holds a special place in my memories.


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