This Is Framingham

This Is Framingham
Life in the ‘ham

I miss you!

July 5th, 2006

whats left
Especially when the weather is nice out, I miss having the old Shoppers World around.  All that’s left are these steel beams at Rt. 30 and Speen Street that used to hold the neon sign.  I know some people say it was ratty and ugly (and outdated towards the end) but I think it was really special.
It was so great to just walk around from shop to shop without having to worry about getting mowed down by a car and getting some fresh air at the same time.  Where else could you find a Windsor Button Shop, a House of Zodiac AND see live reindeer all at the same mall? 
I remember going there with my mom and sisters when we were little, shmying around and taking train rides, being a teenager and going to the movies with my friends and working at Joan and Ed’s deli when I was in college.  I feel like Shopper’s World was such a terrific place and now it’s just chain stores and asphalt.  I don’t want to sound like an old lady shaking her cane into the air but, the new shoppers world isn’t even worthy of the name Shoppers World!  They should call it Another blob of generic stores you can find anywhere in America with bland, unoriginal structures and no trains or reindeer”
I know it would be a big sign but they can afford it.
Check out this link  and this link to see some great old shoppers world photos.
Also thanks to Mitch Cohen, here’s a last look at Jordan Marsh before the old girl was torn down.

no!

Feel free to comment about any of your favorite stores or experiences at Shoppers World (the real Shoppers World).

37 Comments »

  1. I remember when Record Town stopped selling records : (
    I liked how they decorated for Christmas. I think some people still own the giant soldiers, I see them around town somtimes.

    Comment by Chris July 6, 2006 @ 12:16 am

  2. Aw, I loved the old shopper’s world! the big fountain, the Christmas decorations, the movie theater, and the Friendly’s. It was a middle schooler’s paradise.

    Comment by Eileen July 6, 2006 @ 12:59 pm

  3. I am with you. I have a high regard for old stuff and mostly dislike change. Although I live in Boston, I never shopped at Shopper’s World, but I am familiar with its venerated history.

    Comment by Rhea July 6, 2006 @ 7:04 pm

  4. Ah yes, The days pre ‘Flutie Pass’

    I remember how we used to ride on the train that went around the bottom floor of Shoppers World & we barely fit in the seats & all the parents were afraid we would torment their children.

    Wasn’t there a playground in the middle too? I vaguely recall playing on it.

    Toys R Us wouldn’t let you in without an adult. So, we’d wait til some adult was going in & tag along behind them.

    I can’t say I miss Dr Pet. That place was pure torture to animals. I used to complain everytime I was there about their mistreatment of animals. Ill never forget the massacre in the hamster tank. 🙁

    What was the name of the joke/mystical shop? We used to get itching powder & disappearing ink there. I used to love those hologram necklaces! LOL!

    Comment by Mindy July 11, 2006 @ 1:27 pm

  5. I wasn’t in the Boston area for the original Shopper’s World, but it sounds a little like the Mid-Valley Mall in Newburgh, NY (where I grew up) when I was little. It was an open-air plaza (before the malls were all enclosed). There was the Pizza Wheel, The Village Shoppe (which was a head shop, but I didn’t know that ’til I was older). I thought they just sold cool t-shirts, incense and psychedelic blacklight posters! JC Penney was there, where I got almost all of my clothes – including my Boy Scout uniform of course. The Mid-Valley Cinema, where we saw almost all the new movies. And who could forget Toy World? That was G.I. Joe central for me! I got some cool handcuffs there, handcuffed one of my friends up the street, then couldn’t find the key, and my Dad had to drive us back to Toy World for the old lady to open a new box and get a key to unlock him. Good times!

    Comment by Seth July 12, 2006 @ 6:32 pm

  6. I have great memories of Shoppers World from when I was a kid and my Grandmother took me there around Christmas time to “pick out” my present (which I wouldn’t actually get until Christmas morning), and to see Santa’s Reindeer!

    Much later, I took my son to see Santa’s reindeer too! And to play on the playground and ride the train (we also shopped).

    I also remember a couple of very early Sunday mornings when I took my husband to the parking lot to teach him to drive my manual transition car. I think we lost a few gears there.

    I also met my husband in front of that pet store. We met because of a radio singles show and talked for quite a while. I chose the spot – very public, and I could check him out from a distance before actually going up to him.

    Comment by Gail July 24, 2006 @ 4:30 am

  7. When I was a kid growing up in Worcester, it was a big deal to drive to Framingham and go to Shoppers World. There was not much shopping in Worcester available at the time. Actually there still isn’t, but thats another story.

    After I married and moved to Framingham, I went to Shoppers World all the time when my kids were little. It was the best place for Santa and Easter bunny visits and pictures and to walk around with a carriage. I still prefer Shoppers World over Natick Mall but the uniqueness and the personality are gone.

    Comment by Andrea July 24, 2006 @ 9:10 am

  8. Shopper’s World used to be a community gathering place, too, with concerts in the courtyard, a petting zoo at the holiday time, etc.

    You can’t walk from store to store easily and safely, and parking is beyond awful. What a disastrous design.

    I don’t shop there any more.

    Comment by Perry September 15, 2006 @ 3:29 pm

  9. As much as I liked the great variety of stores gathered there I’m not sure it was ever a great idea. Outdoor malls may be fine in some climates but for a large part of the year the winter winds following you dowm the ramps would chill you to the bone. Then again the current strip mall layout is a disaster and since the Natick Mall has set its sights on being another Chestnut Hill collection of overpriced shops it makes me think more than of shopping locally

    Comment by Bob Ames September 16, 2006 @ 2:05 pm

  10. I thought the mall was a great place.
    The shopping plaza that is there now is pretty boring. It might be functional, but boring.
    When I was a kid we used to slide down the dome on top of Jordan Marsh.
    As a previous person commented the only drawback of Shoppers World was it was very cold in the winter, the breeze blowing through was like an artic blast.
    The Sizzler next to the theater was a great place to eat
    I think that’s what it was called.

    JR

    Comment by Jim Rizoli September 22, 2006 @ 11:13 pm

  11. Oh the memories! We used to get dropped off or take the bus down route nine when we were in junior high, see a movie and just spend the day.
    And I think all the kids did the same thing at Toys R us…one adult with 10 kids following him/her inside!
    If we wanted to go to the Natick Mall we would just cut through the woods (now Flutie Pass).
    I remember the concerts in the evening and the reindeer. I also took the Pepsi Challenge at shoppers world. I picked Coke.
    The place had a lot of personality. The House of Tarot, the barn looking exterior of Hickory Farms. The set up now is just awful and not fun at all. I dread going everytime!

    Comment by Jennifer October 5, 2006 @ 7:05 pm

  12. Oops, not the House of Tarot….House of ZODIAC! My bad.

    Comment by Jennifer October 6, 2006 @ 9:46 am

  13. Yes, House of Zodiac. Tucked as it was in such a desolate, dark, nearly subterranean corner of Shopper’s World, I think I only got up the cojones to enter it once or twice as a kid.

    But the mall in general was like a teenager’s playground; you could ride your bike or skateboard up and down the ramps, and along the wide cement walkways. With the old General Cinema as an anchor, and the weird Santa Claus houses in the center, this was THE place to go as a teen in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Many a legendary adolescent relationship was born there.

    (As a Natickite, it was always hard to admit that Shopper’s World was a much more interesting place to hang out than the old Natick Mall.)

    Comment by Micah October 10, 2006 @ 2:04 am

  14. Did Jim Rizoli say he used to slide down the Jordan Marsh dome??
    Glenn Davis and his team of Security Guards would’ve had a fit!!

    Comment by dave October 27, 2006 @ 2:43 am

  15. Yeah, I was also wondering how Jim got up on the dome, slid down and with the angle and speed didn’t just fly off into the parking lot.
    Jim, if you read this, were you a Navy SEAL at the time? How did you get up there?

    Comment by michelle October 27, 2006 @ 1:22 pm

  16. I avoid malls like the plaque now. I started working down the street from the old shoppers world during its last days. I used to see movies there but generally avoided the shops.

    I knew it was done when the last christmas they were open they had this poor live reindeer with mange in a cage in the middle of the open section.

    At the end it was real dump.

    Comment by Stan November 15, 2006 @ 8:22 pm

  17. I vaguely remember the old Shopper’s World because I was only 6 when they knocked it down in 1994. My parents used to go there all the time when they were kids, and from what they’ve told me, they prefer the old one. They also used to take me to the old Toys R Us.

    Comment by Ben November 27, 2006 @ 2:06 am

  18. OH this was my favorite place in the world I grew up in south south wayland, and we’d go to friendly’s every wednesday night from 1981 or so to 1992 (we’ll we’d rotate York’s Steak House @ Natick once in a while) I was a hobby town addict, I got all my “battletech” games there and Toys R US!! My brother andI would go there for our GI Joe and Transformer fix. I remember leaving my wallet in the upstairs part of Filenes only to have a near panic attack before finding it right where i left it. Herman’s, Lawerence Stationary.. Papa Gino’s and lauriats…Man i miss that place. I was thrilled when I found that the Toys R Us In Woburn is laid out just like the old shoppers world one, but even that’s being “modernized”

    Comment by Jeff December 19, 2006 @ 7:29 pm

  19. The soldiers you see around town where given to the Park’s Department but the other’s where stolen from the world. I first saw Shopper’s World in 1967. We moved to Framingham in 1969. I spent alot of time there, worked at four stores, hung out with friends and meet my husband there. Went food shopping with my Dad every saturday morning (when Stop and Shop was there) before Toy’s are us and saw “Gone with the Wind” 23 times at the cinema. Took my daughter to her first movie, Santa, Easter Bunny, baby animals etc. I miss it alot!!!

    Comment by Andrea January 2, 2007 @ 6:50 pm

  20. I am soooo glad I checked this blog today. I was with my fiance a few weeks ago getting our marriage license and we got to talking with the woman working at the courthouse who was originally from Ashland some 20 something years ago. As we were reminiscing about old Shopper’s World and trying to describe it to Trish, we just finally said, “ya had to see it.” NOW SHE CAN SEE IT!! Thank you soo much for this blog and whenever I feel homesick (just a little) I can always visit and feel like I”m there again. 🙂

    Comment by Jeff Lee April 12, 2007 @ 7:08 am

  21. All I remeber was that they tried to save the Jordan Marsh dome before the place was razed. I had heard that they were going to save the “steel” that formed that roof. Like the Coca Cola sign that used to be on Storrow Drive in Boston, I guess it just disappeared into the night.

    Might have made a good place for an indoor arena. It was a big dome. To bad it’s gone.

    As to Shopper’s World, it too bad it couldl not have lasted but then what really does anymore.

    Comment by Mister Chandu May 4, 2007 @ 5:44 pm

  22. My dad was a model airplane junkie. Fitts Photo was a great place for him to get his fix, and I recall sitting in the car in a spot by the top of the ramp with my mum, two older sisters, and older brother for what seemed like hours. I was only a little tyke at the time, and contented myself by watching the flames roar from the grill through the window at the (Roundup?) steakhouse. The smell was great too.

    My family would often go there in the 1960s and 70s, especially Sundays (in the days where few places would open on Sunday). There were very few people there, and the kids could burn up all their energies running around, watching the fountain, or just ogling the stuff in the windows of the stores. The grass was always perfect, as well as the shrubbery and trees. We’d even go in Winter despite the cold. The place was lovely when snow-clad especially with the Christmas decorations up. The crew there took great care during the holidays when hanging the lights. The eye to detail really showed.

    Then the kids grew older and the family outings together there ceased; the attraction to Shoppers’ World did not, however. I’d often walk or ride my bike to the original Natick Mall (which I also miss sorely). I’d waste some time there, and then head out of Filene’s, across the parking lot behind Star Market (remember grocery shopping there; you’d get a numbered tile at checkout and you’d drive up to the door to see your goods arrive on the conveyor belt, to be loaded in the trunk by an employee? Hundreds of little stainless steel wheels spinning on the conveyors sure delighted my young eyes). From there, there was a path through the trees that was often swamped by the stream that ran across it. I’d pass the power station, and enter via the underground Jordan Marsh tunnel. Another bunch of time wasted there, (since my elder sister worked at the General Cinema, I saw Star Wars dozens of times) and then I’d head home, with a lengthy detour across Rte 9 at Fun and Games (when it was HUGE).

    In the 80s Shoppers’ World was all about Hobbytown for me. That place had an impressive D&D book section. In the late 80s one of my best friends who worked at Hobbytown introduced me to a girl that worked at Hickory Farms there. I went steady with that girl for 7 years, frequently picking her up as she closed the shop down and then headed up the road to Liam’s Irish Tavern for some porter, cribbage, and live Irish pub music before going home. Great days there before it was annihilated and replaced with the mess there now. I like John Harvard’s and Cambridge SoundWorks (if that is even still there) but can completely do without the rest of it. I have a slightly fuzzy aerial photo circa 1980 of Shoppers’ World taken with a 110 Instamatic camera from a small plane when I was a cadet in Thunderbolt Squadron, Civil Air Patrol. It brings back very fond memories.

    I’ve visited the links supplied here that have various photos of the old place (I came across the same ones over a year ago while on another nostalgic chase), but if anyone out there knows of any other sources for pictures of this sorely missed treasure (or any other places around the golden mile, please post.

    Comment by Nostalgio May 24, 2007 @ 8:55 pm

  23. I grew up in Framingham in the 60s and 70s just 20 minutes walk from Shopper’s World. My first suit came from Howard’s, my first watch from a jeweler whose name escapes me, but I remember the store was next to a ramp and was white outside. In high school I worked at the Jordan Marsh photo department. My mom always shopped at the Stop and Shop and when I was seven I got lost in the basement store room for what seemed like an eternity but was probably about 10 minutes. Candy bars at Mcrory’s were 5 cents. It was not a mall in the way we think of today, but a group of local businesses that partnered with a couple of national chains to make an alternative Main St.

    Man, thinking about it now makes me very bummed out. We have traded in our souls in for corporate consumerism.

    I took some great pictures just before it was all gone and as soon as I find them, I’ll share them with everyone.

    I’ve got a ton of Rt 9 memories going back to 1963.
    -Natick Drive In
    -Zayre’s with a lunch counter in the back
    -Giovanni’s Restaurant
    -The Monticello (Big name acts played there and I got Diana Ross’s autograph in the orange roofed Howard Johnsons that was right out front.
    -The Meadows Restaurant ( There is an office building there but Jazz greats used to play there in the 40’s, 50s, and 60s)

    I have to stop now. My present day life calls :O)

    Comment by RiFe May 29, 2007 @ 10:45 pm

  24. I don’t even know where to start with the memories…

    -The concerts my parents dragged me to as a kid, which always featured a sweet, bald, mentally retarded man acting as a conductor.

    -The playground that had awesome, huge (at least they seemed huge) wooden bears and squirrels to climb.

    -The movie theater were I worked as a teen and met all sorts of bad influences (including a boyfriend who “accidentally” locked us up on the roof of General Cinema.

    -My favorite clothing store ever: The Lodge. I still own a Lodge shirt that doesn’t really fit anymore, but I refuse to let it go.

    Oh, Shoppers’ World, I miss you!

    Comment by Kerry August 18, 2007 @ 2:31 am

  25. I miss Shoppers World too. Especially House of Zodiac! There was something so magical about that store! Must have been the tarot readings in the back room.It was really dusty too!

    Comment by Allison November 13, 2007 @ 4:52 am

  26. i remember the old mall i agree with every thing you have writen it is very sad and it bugs me that i will never be able to bring my kids there

    Comment by crystal February 21, 2008 @ 3:12 pm

  27. I loved Shoppers world -As a kid i would go to the movies with my friends then go Papa Ginos-and go in the house of Zodiac and look at all the neat stuff-I loved it at Xmas time-I still see the big solders in Framingham across where crown car dealership used to be . That was a really neat mall and I miss it! I always liked the fact that it was outside and i loved going to Jordan Marsh when I was a child and getting the blueberrie muffins (do you remember those?) Our family got our 1st dog at the pet store there he was a peekapoo his name was Ernie he lived to be 17 years old. When I was in Hairdressing in downtown Framingham which the School is no longer there also -(Mansfield Beauty Acd) sometimes we would blow off school to go shopping there! AHHHH the good OLE DAYS!!

    Comment by Sharon May 1, 2008 @ 2:04 am

  28. Sorry typo error I menat to type Hairdressing School–Sorry it is late—LOL

    Comment by Sharon May 1, 2008 @ 2:07 am

  29. I had been trying to figure out the name of shoppers world forever! I got my beloved Barbie dream house there when I was younger. I believe the store was Child’s World. The train rides were the best! They don’t make shopping centers like they used to.

    Comment by Lee June 23, 2008 @ 6:56 pm

  30. The present SW is a dangerous place: Last week I saw two kids nearly run over as they crossed to Best Buy.

    Whoever approved of that traffic flow and layout? It forces traffic and pedestrians to cross in front of the stores.

    The masses, most who never saw a Jordan Marsh, crowd in to the big boxes nonetheless.

    I am suspicious about Framingham zoning – who would permit such a hazard? What a disaster for the town, but a huge success for the big boxes. Plenty of SUVs in there carrying loads of mass buyers of offshore merch.

    Comment by Bob Crowley August 2, 2008 @ 6:33 pm

  31. I loved the ramps, the Jordan Marsh brownies and blueberry muffins, how you could go to the movie theater, have pizza at Papa Ginos and then hang out with your friends or get fudge at Fanny Farmer

    What happened to the giant toy soldiers? 🙁 I loved the joke store… why can’t I remember the name.. House of Zodiac? Why did they have to change it 🙁

    Comment by Wendy Akeson September 6, 2008 @ 10:30 pm

  32. Late to the party, as usual.

    No weekend was complete without a trip to SW. Fitts photo for Hot Wheels, models, AFX cars etc. Yes, blueberry muffins at JM. Burger and shake @ Friendly’s.
    About a million movies over the years. House of Zodiac (can still smell the incense) Herman’s for fishing stuff, Round-up for lunch with Dad.

    As a kid it was super with all the outdoor goings on. Having to go shopping with Mom but still being able to run around, go to a fun store and have a treat.

    Then riding our bikes there as we got older and eventually driving ourselves.

    Was a nice place to hang out and I’ll miss it for sure.

    Comment by David Brown February 11, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

  33. Found some really great images of the old SW – if you Goolgle “shoppers world source:life” there are a ton of photos that appear to be from the opening day – I wish there were descriptions with them!!

    Comment by Laura February 20, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

  34. @Laura – could you port the URL to the photos you mentioned? I had no luck with the search. Thanks!

    Comment by Brock April 6, 2009 @ 2:33 pm

  35. The pics http://www.google.com/images?q=shoppers+world+source:life&rls=com.microsoft:en-us:IE-SearchBox&oe=UTF-8&rlz=1I7GGLL_en&um=1&ie=UTF-8&source=og&sa=N&hl=en&tab=wi

    Comment by Jodi Anderson October 22, 2010 @ 2:43 pm

  36. anyone remember what year Giovanni’s closed? The greatest resuarant ever in the world. My aunt was a waitress there for 100 years. We used to go to the old wooden screen door in the kitchen and she would get us a table within minutes with a 2 hour line at the front door. I remember sitting on the giant mound of dirt created by the earth movers and watching them build Shoppers World, It was a major part of my life for it’s entire exsistance. We could walk there in 20 minutes.

    Comment by john jones May 2, 2011 @ 5:15 pm

  37. Brought back good memories of going to Shoppers World from when it first opened when I was in first grade. It was where I saw Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger and other celebrities. It had a great variety of stores. They used to have a nice Christmas exhibit and many years at Thanksgiving they had a presentation on the Holiday, especially when the Mayflower II came to Plymouth. The cinema looked so modern and wonderful compared to the Saint George and Gorman theaters downtown. Although we did love to sit in the balcony at the ST. George. I remember the how people would dress up to go to the movies on Friday and Saturday nights especially on Dates.

    Comment by Tom Kearns March 2, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

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