These days, Cary residents have plenty of options when it comes to shopping. Clusters of shopping plazas are just about everywhere. But before Cary’s boom, folks had to travel to Raleigh.
Margaret Travis: I remember going to Raleigh to buy shoes once a year. We didn’t wear shoes in the summertime, we went barefooted. But once we had to go to school in the fall, we’d go to a big place in Raleigh to buy shoes for the family.
Mildred Sanderford: We went to Raleigh to shop. I made most of what I wore and the children wore. Belk’s had a wonderful basement, and they had lots of fabrics down there. One of the men that was the manager of it lived just a little ways from us in Cary, Mr. Morgan.
When I went to Raleigh, I was dressed up more than usual, I reckon, because I always met my husband for lunch. I went in on the train because he’d take the car. Of course, nobody had but one car. So I’d take the children, go down to the station and take the train.
If we had to go to the dentist, that’s what we did. The train let you out at Nash Square, right downtown.
The Raleigh shopping area was really only three blocks on either side, of stores that you’d bother with. Of course, Belk’s was my big store. We had Taylor’s, oh boy, you had something if you bought your suit from Taylor’s. They had clothes for women and men too. It was a big store on the block next to the capital, on the far side.
There were lots of good stores: Jean’s, Ellsberg’s, and Efird’s, that was on the second block. Belk’s was on down on the third block. There were some nice places to eat, nice restaurants downtown too.
At Christmas they decorated all the store windows in that three blocks. We always rode down there at least once during Christmas, just to see it. Later on, we started to decorate in Cary. We made a lot of Christmas and we had parties. I had an open house every year.
Mary Crowder: You had to go to Raleigh to shop, at Hudson Belk’s and Jean’s, Lerner’s, Mangle’s, and Betty Gay’s; they were little dress shops that were on Fayetteville Street. McClellan’s, Grant’s, and Woolworth’s were your five-and-ten-cent stores. Taylor’s was one of the better dress stores, and it was on the opposite side from Jean’s, back where the Ambassador Theater is. There was also Land’s Jewelry. Plus Jolly’s Jewelry was uptown at that time.
Cary’s Heritage was taken from the book “Just a Horse-Stopping Place, An Oral History of Cary, North Carolina.”