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Remembrances > Rike's Department Store
Rike's Department Store
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1 post
Aug 20, 2011
6:18 PM
Rike's department store, downtown Dayton.

I was a waif-y child, always "too skinny" either from being a sickly toddler or simply genetics.   My stick like arms and long limb legs,  were put into ballet classes partially to fill up my time, partially to follow in my big sister's footsteps and partially to achieve some kind of fulfillment my parents imagined that I have yet to discover. Yet the memories of my ballerina days are more vivid of the hours spent inside the Rike's department store building than of all the plie and grand jetes.

From the Schwartz ballet studio, upstairs in the Victoria Theater building, home of the Dayton Ballet, I would change out of my pink tights, navy leotard (I was not allowed to wear black as I had not achieved this honor only upperclassman were given,) wave goodbye to my sister who was beginning the first of her double-blocked 90 min classes and run downstairs to meet my mom. She would know I was starving, as these 4:15pm classes which immediately followed my 3:45 school days did not allow me time to eat. By now, at 5:30; we searched for food options: at Charley's pizza in the Rike's mezzanine, or the diner inside Elder-Beerman's, or maybe i would be rewarded with a 3 scoop chocolate/hot fudge sundae from Baskins-Robbins' 31 Flavors in the Arcade building a few blocks away. Either way, within the hour, we would be back at Rike's, starting on the 6th floor: toys, books, and furniture department; making our way to the first: cosmetics, jewelry and men's department. 

These hours were filled with a child's rambling of playground stories and her school day. But my mom would patiently listen as if they were the most exciting adventures ever told. On occasion, during my afternoon meal, she would tell stories in chapters that would take days to finish. This is how I was introduced to the tales of The Arabian Nights, The Man in the Iron Mask, and countless other literary classics. 

A giant clock shared the wall with a line of elevators on the first floor. And by the time we reached the jewelry department, my mom and I would look at it's sunburst face to see if we had successfully filled our 180 minutes. If so, it was time to meet my sister in the stationary department, at the side door near the intersection of Main and Ludlow, directly across the street from Victoria Theater. There we would wait for her to cross the street and go to meet my father, who would pick us up from the entrance on North Main  St. 

This was the routine, week after week, year after year; until it was no longer Rike's, but Shillito-Rike's and eventually Lazarus. I was no longer 9 years old, but a teen-ager, with ballets flats replaced by Reebok high tops. But the days of wandering Rike's will always be fond memories, as those were the days when I can see my mom, radiant and healthy; and I can count on my father to show up.
180 posts
Aug 21, 2011
11:53 AM
what nice memories, thank you for sharing them.
297 posts
Aug 21, 2011
3:26 PM
What you've written here is something Gold cannot buy,and only you posess. Thanks for sharing.
2 posts
Aug 27, 2011
4:33 PM
Wanering Rike's...what a great time we all had!! Thanks for sharing.....
3 posts
Nov 14, 2012
9:16 PM
I grew up on shaw av so me and my best friend would walk down to rikes 1or2times a week with no money we would go to the 4th floor toy dept yea spend hours there just messing around what a great time and with no money lol those days are long gone but they where wonderful times
55 posts
Nov 26, 2012
4:13 AM
Was downtown on Friday for the Children's Parade. Stopped in the Schuster to look at the old Rike's window displays. It really brought back a lot of memories. If you get a chance, you should stop and see them. It's worth the trip.
3 posts
Dec 17, 2012
8:06 AM
My younger brother (Harry B. Stoner,Jr.)was a decorator at Rike's He did some of the Christmas windows with all the animations in the early 60's.
6 posts
Jan 13, 2013
10:40 PM
My memories of shopping at Rikes with my mother will always be cherished. I remember my first trip to Dayton with mom in 1958. We would have lunch in the mezzanine or in the Gold Coin Room where models walked the floor showing the latest fashions while patrons enjoyed lunch. Mom & I loved our time together and even after I moved to Dayton she would come down to visit and we would still meet at Rikes. When the store was being demolished we took my parents for one final trip to this cherished landmark. It seemed impossible to think that the marble walls surronding the elevators, the esclators taking you to the very top of the store would soon be gone forever. It was a very sad experience knowing it would be the last time. Several years later I attended a wedding reception at the now Schuster Center. The dinner was held on the main floor and our table was near the front window, and I knew we were dining where ladies handbags once were displayed. The store will always hold a special place in my heart.
15 posts
Mar 10, 2013
1:57 PM
My memories of Rike's was it being my first actual job at 16 years old. After school I would take the back elevator upstairs to the locker room to put on my uniform, which I remember being a greenish, blueish color and take a hopper around to collect waste paper and etc. from the cash registers. Also I would move clothing racks from department to waiting area, and so on. If I worked on saturday I would eat lunch upstairs in the employee dining room.
That only lasted for a few months because I found a much better job, for LESS money, driving the delivery car for Reid's pharmacy in Trotwood. The part that makes it so much better was the driving, I would have done that for free. I was also an actual soda jerk as they still, in 1965, had a soda fountain. So I guess you can add that the job included all you can eat, and by you, I mean me. I stocked shelves and that included the latest Spiderman and Dr. Strange comic books.
I'm sorry that this sort of wandered away from Rike's. I still remember the beautiful animated windows at Christmas, I was just telling my wife, which got her started with her memories of Macy's in downtown Cleveland.
Which just goes to show you that we all have different memories but they still are the same somehow.
1 post
Apr 01, 2013
11:04 AM
I started working at Rike's in late 1958, in the 9th floor stock room. Stayed there all through college and paid my way through U of D. We took phone calls from the departments and sent stock down via dumbwaiters located near the freight elevators. Also filled stock carts for merchandise sent to the floor. Most stock was for the basement depts. , some for first floor notions and hosiery. I still remember David rike walking through every year on Christmas Eve, wishing folks a Merry Christmas. I still have fond memories of the folks I worked with there and the folks who worked stock in the respective depts.
4 posts
Apr 09, 2013
9:42 PM
Loved Rikes at christmas. They used to have a special shopping area just for kids to go and shop for family members. You had to be a certain height to fit under the door.
1 post
Apr 19, 2013
4:22 AM
Yes Rikes Christmas display as far as I can remeber was always A major attraction. And like some to you I worked at Rikes as well but at the warehouse in 1966 after graduating from Wayne High School in the same year. Worked there for several months when I got my draft notice.
Phil Robbins
1 post
May 31, 2013
4:49 AM
I remeber Tikes shopping as a little girl
It was just for kids
My Granny took me to shop for my parent's
I sure wish that I had pictures of Rikes and Tikes
Anything from the 60's to the 1970's
And the Great Animations in the windows
Downtown Dayton was so wonderful to go to no matter how many times you went
I was Born in 1959 My Parents and I left in 1975 But Still have my memories Of how Beautiful Dayton was :-)
Julia Carol GREGORY Levesque
Virginia Beach Virginia Retired Navy Wife
12 posts
Aug 18, 2013
6:34 PM
A day at Rikes was special, mine started in the mid to late 30's. Mom and I would take the Brown Street bus downtown to Rikes. We always had lunch in the beautiful dining room with all the models walking around. Do I remember someone on the piano or organ. They had a kids menu, I still have one is a scrapbook somewhere. Rikes WAS Christmas, gazing at those wonderland windows, and trip up to Toyland .... and .... the trains they had set up. I am now 80. and those are some of my fondest memories .... Born at Miami Valley in '32 in the old OB section .....
9 posts
Aug 20, 2013
8:46 AM
Fairbrooks, you made me cry. Sweet memories. I googled Rike's Christmas Display and clicked on Images and there is alot to see. Someone remembered to take pictures back in the day.
1 post
Sep 15, 2013
4:51 PM
What lovely memories, and I realize I am not alone. My Mama worked at Rikes (began at the original store and stayed for nearly 40 years), so I spent hours exploring every floor and department, staring at the models and entranced by the magic of Christmas. Funny memories now, because Mama was very protective but had no qualms about my wandering as a very little girl. My first job was at Rike's - counting buttons in the Notions Department. At 14, I became a "sales girl"- then other jobs, and achieved my dream when I was 18 and accepted as a parttime model while a student at U.D. Thank you to the person who wrote about the 9th floor! My husband and I just returned from a trip to Dayton, and a "discussion" about whether Rike's had only 4 floors!!!
4 posts
Sep 15, 2013
10:34 PM
luv my dayton
386 posts
Sep 16, 2013
1:48 PM
Seems like almost every woman young and older worked for Rikes
Loved that store and the opportunity to shop there or have a lunch. The average person would head to the mezzanine and even as a young girl would get the chicken salad plate. Also remember they had their own bakery where angel food cake lightly iced couldn't be beat. They also had a confectioner area offering wonderful candy.Think that tradition carried over to their other stores for awhile as did go to the kettering store to get goodies. It later was named Shillito-Rikes then became Lazarus. Wonderful memories and nothing has come close to it since.
3 posts
Oct 17, 2013
9:01 PM
Loved riding the escalators all day on Saturdays. We lived a mile north of downtown & walked down Main nearly every weekend to play tag & hide n seek on those magical moving stairs. I thought I remembered the toy dept. being on the 8th floor. Seems all the families would send their kids up there to play while they shopped on other floors. Tykes I remembered being on a lower floor but I could be wrong. The Tykes "helpers" were dressed as elves & adults were not permitted in while the kids shopped for that special present for mom & dad.
9 posts
Nov 19, 2013
6:24 PM
When I was 12 in the early 1970's, I needed to go downtown for orthodonture at King/Mayerson/Stump/Pope in the art deco Hulman Tower TWICE a week. I would walk from Precious Blood School at Salem/Denlinger down to the Bus 5 Turnaround just past KMart on Salem near a coin dealer to get downtown (can you imagine? my parents would be put in jail by Childrens' Services nowadays). After my appointment, I'd go to Rike's to hang out until my dad got off work from his CPA job in the Talbott Tower. I still remember riding the escalators and coming down that big one from 2-to-1 (it was really tall, since it bypassed the Mezz) and seeing all the Christmas decorations, smelling the cosmetic counter fragrances. It was quite regal. In later years, I ended up working in the Pet Dept on 8, and in the wrapping/shipping area in the bowels of 4 or 5 somewhere on weekends for extra $. Boy, do I have some stories from those jobs, lol. If they'd have known the stuff that I was naively doing, they'd have fired my a$$, lol. Oh, those were the days. Now, that's the same location where my daughter will be celebrating her wedding reception at the Schuster Center next September, 2014. The most expensive venue in town. And, I'm the Father Of the Bride. Wow...God does have a sense of humor.

Last Edited by gomershad on Nov 19, 2013 6:27 PM
2 posts
Mar 24, 2014
6:29 PM
Rikes? Yes, I was there a time or two. I remember the chocolate malts in the cafeteria on the mezzanine, and I remember the toy department on the 6th floor where I spent my allowance on Dinky Toys ... which I still have.

Last Edited by dcreep on Mar 24, 2014 6:30 PM
1 post
May 19, 2014
1:18 PM
I had an uncle who retired from Rikes. He was in the advertising department and designed the window displays. This included the windows at Christmas. He was a handsome man and was used as a model in the newspaper for their ads. I can only assume he was a model in the store too. His last name was Henderson. I graduated from Patterson in the late 60's and after school we would go over to Rikes to have a coke, flirt with the girls, and talk to our friends. Those were good times.
1 post
Aug 24, 2014
1:44 PM
Hello All,

I found a vintage Rike's Department Store hat at a warehouse sale in Phoenix, AZ.

I thought I'd share my Ebay listing here:

If this hat really means something to someone here, please contact me and we'll work something out.

All my best!

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