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Zayre, a Former New England-Based Department Store

Does anyone remember the New England-based department store chain, Zayre? Sort of like an earlier-day Walmart, Zayre sold virtually everything under one roof. Local comedian Norm Crosby was a Zayre spokesperson (his beloved schtick was using big words incorrectly) on local radio and television commercials. I always loved riding the motorized horse in front of the store at Fresh Pond in Cambridge (for the record, I was a kid then, not an adult). "Sports Huddle" Boston radio legend Eddie Andelman had a great spoof in the 70s on Zayre called Zaire ( a region in Africa!).  Great memories of this place, would love to hear your experiences at Zayre!


  1. I not only remember Zayre, just last year I bought a T-shirt with their mid-'70s orange logo on it. The one my family shopped at was in the same shopping center on Rt.1 Saugus that had a Child World, and on those very rare occasions when I couldn't find what I wanted at Child World, I would run over to Zayre and look for it in their toy department, which was pretty extensive for a department store. I loved the giant pink neon letters that spelled out "ZAYRE" on the roof, they made a nice contrast to the blue-green neon squashed globe light that was Child World's logo in the early '70s. I won a coloring contest at Zayre once, and got a $50 gift certificate, all of which was spent in the toy department. $50 was a lot of money back then, especially for a grade-school age kid. I bought one of those slotless slot car race track sets with it - the cars could change lanes. Lots of fond memories of that store. If I recall, the Zayre in Saugus had a lunch counter that was pretty good, as did most department stores back before the '90s.

  2. I still weara nylon polyester winter sports jacket that I got just before the wellington Square MA store closed. Does,anyone know what year that was?

  3. Worked at Zayres in Burlington just off 128 in the summer of 1969. Horrible place to work. They made me the cashier in the auto department even though I knew nothing about cars. They had an early attempt at automated stock control there. If an item had a checkerboard pattern on the price sticker, you would have to push a special button on the register and enter a five-digit number before you entered the price. If you forgot to push the special button, you would have to stop, get the whole order voided and start again. Made for some unhappy customers.


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