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Remember Bradlees department store? Here is a quick look back

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Bradlees department stores may have gone bankrupt over a decade ago, but the chain still lives on through the hearts of many to this very day.

The discounts, the food, and the variety made it a popular shopping spot for years. Especially in the northeast of the United States.

A quick look back at the life and death of Bradlees.

The early planning stages of what would become Bradlees began in the 195o’s at Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, hence where the retail chain got it’s name.

The group of businessmen opened their first location in New London, Connecticut in 1958.

The grocery store chain Stop & Shop, which is is still prominent today, acquired Bradlees in 1961. This led to many shopping plazas in the northeast that had a Stop & Shop location, to also include a Bradlees to create a “one stop shopping” experience. You could even stop by the Bradlees food counter for a quick bite to eat.

The retail chain began to grow rapidly throughout the years, helping Stop & Shop increase revenue in what was an up and down time for the Stop & Shop Franchise. The grocer hit tough financial times, particularly in the late 1980s, which prompted Bradlees to cut back on its operation costs and growth. Even closing stores in the south. Due to Stop & Shop’s continued struggles at the time, Bradlees became a separate entity in 1992.

Remember Mrs. B in the Bradlees commercials in the 70s, 80s and late 90s?

Bradlees had some success on their own, but it was short lived. By 1995, Bradlees had filed for bankruptcy.

The retail chain came through the bankruptcy with flying colors in the late 1990s, only to land in bankruptcy once again in 2000.

Bradlees would not survive its second bankruptcy filing and closed for good in 2001. A company that once boasted over 15,000 employees and over 100 locations was no more. Many of us though would prefer to remember the good times of Bradlees. What do you miss the most? The food? The deals? The variety of merchandise? The locations? Let us know!

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Joanie Graham

    June 3, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    I miss working there and especially shopping there.

  2. Jo-Ann Kenyon

    July 2, 2018 at 9:08 pm

    I miss the people I worked with there, I also helped open the stores in the Maryland-Virginia areas. We at Bradless’s were a family.

  3. Steven

    January 19, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    I miss working there

  4. mrs b

    January 26, 2019 at 4:01 am

    most are still a family….have always kept in touch….sadly,more funerals now than reunions

  5. Lori D.

    September 9, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    I worked at Bradlees in Lewiston, Maine from Oct 1981 until June 1996 when we closed permanently. I worked in several roles during my time there but primarily on the front end as a cashier. I was young when I started and Bradlees and I kind of grew up together!
    Our store didn’t have a high turnover — there were a few sibling groups among us, mother daughter and my manager, Claudette (Jalbert) Moore was married to Dennis Moore –store manager at another location. We were like family.
    To this day I run into former customers who will at times crinkle their brow in thought and say “I know you from somewhere… Ohhh, wait a minute, didn’t you used to work at Bradlees?” And when I affirm that , we reminisce a bit about the “nice clothing, great prices” and specific events like when we were first allowed to open on Sundays (mixed feelings lol) and the Cabbage Patch craze, Skip-bo, legwarmers and the insanity of layaway at Christmas.
    It was the end of an era so to speak.

  6. Beth

    February 18, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    I worked at the Bradlees in Milford, Mass. from opening day in 1981-1985. Still miss the store and the fellowship with the employees. What stores had food? We sold candy and snacks stuff like chips but we didn’t have a food counter.

  7. Erik N

    February 19, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    My first job in 1986, I worked overnight thru the holidays and full time. Good coworkers and it was a fun job

  8. Donna Jutras

    February 20, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    I worked at the Hingham one

  9. Amy G

    February 20, 2020 at 11:11 pm

    My mom would take me shopping with her at the Bradley’s in South Plainfield, NJ. I remember eating in the luncheonette and the toy department!

    • Shirley P

      February 21, 2020 at 10:03 pm

      The employees… ( our little family ) ???

  10. Stacy Scott

    February 21, 2020 at 11:47 pm

    Met my husband when we both worked at the one in New Milford Ct. Still have many other friends I made in my 11 years there definitely was more like a family

  11. Ed Aide

    March 11, 2020 at 8:34 am

    I worked at Bradlees in Norwalk, Ct. from 1965 to 1969. Started out working in the cash office PT, to Front end supervisor to Asst. Mgr. in the Danbury store. My manager in Norwalk was Dick Ostrowski. Great times back in the day. Ed Aide

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