Field Notes

Vintage Memo Book Archive:

Kinney’s Famous “639”

September 9th, 2008 by Aaron

Ask For Kinney\'s Famous \"639\"

Here’s a memo book from one of the greatest American shoes retailer from back in the day: Kinney’s Shoe Stores.

The brainchild of George Romanta Kinney, he revolutionized the retail footwear industry by “offering popularly priced shoes to working Americans.” We like the sound of that. This all started out in 1894, in a little town in upstate New York. He grew that first little store into a one hell of a business, and 50 years later, the string of regional stores were crafted into a nationwide chain. Even more success followed, with mergers and new subsidiaries. So little over a century later, with billions in revenues, tons of stores nationwide and all sorts of slick spinoffs like Susie Casuals and Foot Locker under their belt, “Black September” of 1998 fell, and Kinney’s closed their many doors.

So get a load of the memo book we’re featuring today. These were items that were given out to customers in the stores. A way to advertise. Some added value. Functional. Useful.

A good way of going about things, if you ask us.