JCPenney, Washington Square, Tigard, Oregon outbuilding

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Super S
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JCPenney, Washington Square, Tigard, Oregon outbuilding

Post by Super S » 19 Sep 2012 23:01

Not long ago I visited Washington Square, and noted the JCPenney store, which had a relatively modern looking exterior. A Wikipedia search shows that the store opened in 1980. There is also a detached outbuilding that currently houses a "JCPenney Home Store" (furniture etc.) I was curious if this outbuilding was originally an Auto Center. While JCPenney did close their auto centers down as they removed hardlines in the 1980s, at the beginning of the decade many of their auto centers were still operating, so it's not out of the question.

wnetmacman
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Re: JCPenney, Washington Square, Tigard, Oregon outbuilding

Post by wnetmacman » 21 Sep 2012 06:44

Strictly by looking at Bing and Google maps, I'd say it's plausible.

In Google Maps Street View, if you look close at the sign, JCPenney seems to be older than the Furniture signs below it, and from Bing's Bird's Eye View, there appears to be a concrete pad that looks like a driveway going to one of the doors. If I were to guess, I'd say it may have been one of the last auto centers. I know of a store built in late 1978 that had an attached center, but this would be one of the few detached ones built later on.
Scott Greer

Super S
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Re: JCPenney, Washington Square, Tigard, Oregon outbuilding

Post by Super S » 21 Sep 2012 14:00

It makes more sense that it would have been an auto center, as JCPenney usually has these Home departments inside their larger stores.

I have wondered to what extent JCPenney operated auto centers in Portland. The Lloyd Center store, to the best of my knowledge, never had an auto center, and today the location is Sears and still lacks an auto center. As for Vancouver Mall and Clackamas Town Center, built in the late 70s and early 80s respectively, I have not been able to determine if either location had one. If they did, they would have been attached. Vancouver Mall has an area on the east end of the store that hints at a former auto center, but I can't say for sure about Clackamas. However, the two stores are very similar in size. The former Oregon City store has a detached Firestone Auto Center nearby that I assume was originally JCPenney.

I have also wondered what year JCPenney opened their last auto center. It seems like the attached ones were less common. The Sandusky Mall store in Ohio, which was built around 1976, had an attached center in the north end. The roll-up doors remain intact to this day.

rich
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Re: JCPenney, Washington Square, Tigard, Oregon outbuilding

Post by rich » 23 Sep 2012 11:13

The "auto center" as "home center" seems mostly to have happened in locations that were planned shortly before JCP sold off the auto centers to the retail side of tire companies (mostly Goodyear). I'd guess 1980 was around the time this happened. Older auto centers would have been more difficult and expensive to convert to home centers, because of lifts and brownfield issues associated with having lubricants and so forth. Perhaps they made the effort with some of the older attached locations, esp. if there already were tire stores nearby. The home centers that probably never functioned as auto centers I've seen were spaces that obviously weren't designed for retail and lack the usual effort at creating a department store-like home furnishings environment. Often they have a big drive in area (rather than individual garage doors) that've been adapted for stocking and pick-up purposes.

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