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Wurzburg’s and the Good Old Days of Shopping Downtown Grand Rapids


You Tube/pilot49588
You Tube/pilot49588

Remember shopping in downtown Grand Rapids in the “good old days? Those were the times of the big department stores, Herpolsheimer’s, Wurzburg’s and specialty stores. The biggest, and fanciest was Wurzburg’s.

Wuirzburg’s was considered the city’s finest department store from the 1920’s into the late 1960’s. Wurzburg’s featured upscale clothing and fine home goods, many imported from Europe and the far east, an expensive and unusual practice for the time.

You could find almost everything at Wurzburg’s on their seven shopping floors. On the street floor there was Fine Jewelry, Diamonds, Clocks, Cosmetics, Charles of the Ritz Powder Bar and all that good stuff.

From there, you’d find sportswear, bedding, appliances and so much more on the upper floors.

And, at Christmas, well, that was the most special time. Thousands would line the streets around Wurzburg’s just to see their fantastic animated Christmas windows. Of course, with the season came their annual Santa Claus Parade.


GR Retro
GR Retro


The streets of downtown Grand Rapids would be filled with people and excitement. I even hosted it on WOOD-TV in the early 70’s as my dear friend Captain Woody. HA! What fun.

Wurzburg’s moved down Monroe to, what later became Herpolsheimers, now the Grand Rapids Police Department. They also opened mall stores, Eastbrook (now Shops at Centerpoint), Southland, and North Kent, as well as Lansing, Kalamazoo and Jackson, eventually, as many department stores have done, all closing.

What became of the original department store? It was torn down, and the area cleared. In it’s place? The Grand Rapids Art Museum!

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