Business in Yakima That Are Gone, But Not Forgotten – Riggs’ Top Five
As much as I love the city of Yakima, have you noticed that people in town will say "This new store is where this other old store was." or give in-town directions based on stores, whether they are there or not? "Sure, turn left at the old Tiger Mart, then right in to that empty lot that used to have a Montgomery Ward you'll find your store where Crazy Mikes Video used to be." "Oh, you mean where they used to have Giant T and Sprouse Reitz?" If you're not from here it can get confusing. Let me tell you about my favorite stores in Yakima that don't exist anymore, but I dream of them every night.
Anyone in Yakima can tell you stories about going to the Yakima's legendary Country Store, complete with shopping for clothes, picking up pet supplies, maybe even a new pet, playing video games in the arcade and, to me, the highlight of going to the Country Store, playing Tic-Tac-Toe with a chicken. That's right, there was a chicken encased in a booth where for .25 cents you could challenge a chicken at tic-tac-toe. I've tied with it several times, but never won. I'd love to take it on now, but don't have the option as the Country Store closed down in
And, don't get me wrong, I miss both Hollywood Video and GameCrazy as well, but Royal Fork was something else. It was one of the best buffet style restaurants anyone in Yakima has ever experienced. It was quality food, not your standard fair of eating from the public trough. The highlight for anyone of all ages was their buffet of dessert items, especially the do-it-yourself ice cream bar. I remember the slices of cake came individually wrapped so I'd cram as many slices in my coat pockets before I paid the bill.
Yakima has always been a hub for music and musicians with great stores like Taylor Music, Ted Brown and, until several years ago, Talcott's music store. Talcott's holds a place in my heart because it was my home away from home. Actually, it was my school away from school. I'd actually skip class when I went to Davis to play the piano at Talcott's for an hour. Since my dad worked there, most of the employees knew me so they never ratted me out. I took piano lessons here for 3 years and was sad when I learned they were closing their doors.
Tiger Mart was your standard issue convenience store on the street corner. In the 80s, they had anything you need from filling your gas tank to getting your "comeback cup" refilled with Pepsi (or whatever you drink) to having penny candies. They even had video games as many places did in the 80s and 90s. Being that I grew up near the corner of 24th and Nob Hill I was at this store about once a day for as much as I can remember. Sometimes twice or three times in the same day. In 2001 the owner declaired bankrupcy and the stores still sit there with nothing happening except for the weeds growing. If you happen to be in the area, peek inside through the window. You can still see stuff on most of the shelves and in the coolers.
Anyone who was anyone shopped at the Yakima Mall. It was your typical mall complete with clothing stores, toy stores, record stores, arcades, Orange Julius, your Mall Santas at Christmas time and all points in between. Some stores would come and go but the base of the mall stayed true. My typical path would be to enter on the 'Rons Coin and Book' side, see what new video games they had at Jolly Joker, grab a free sample from Mrs. Field's, see what tapes they had Sam Goodie or whatever tape store they had at the time, make my way down to see if my friend Dan was playing the piano at Center Court, play with the toys at K-B Toys n' Hobby and grab a soft prezel. Now I can't do any of those things because most of the nationwide chain stores moved to Valley Mall in Union Gap leaving Yakima Mall a shell of it's former self. It finally closed and remodeled itself into a hotel, but the legendary Mall logo is still on the backside. I hope they never remove it.