The original McCrory’s building is located on the busy northeast corner of New and 3rd Street, and is now a storefront that encompasses five separate businesses from 3 East 3rd Street to 11 East 3rd Street. The large, ornately-carved stone structure was built in 1924, primarily to house a franchise of J.G. McCrory’s in its western half. McCrory’s was a five and dime store chain that operated across the United States for decades, and it was a welcome addition to South Bethlehem’s commercial district. The popularity of McCrory’s epitomized the community’s positive view towards five and dime stores in general, which supported numerous other successful five and dime stores in the vicinity. This included five and dimes such as Pulley’s and F.W. Woolworth, the latter of which operated in the building’s eastern half until the late 1990s. Many of these competing five and dimes were actually owned by the same corporations, leading to extremely low but rigid pricing. In the 1960s, McCrory’s was the only place to purchase Oriole label 33 rpm records, while F. W. was the popular stop for household items. Five and dime stores were historically popular among Lehigh students as well as town residents, with advertisements that specifically targeted Lehigh students existing as far back as 1926. McCrory’s also hired high school students to assist with monthly inventory.
This location of McCrory’s, along with many others nationally, was closed in 1996 in an attempt to stave off a looming Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Nevertheless, the once-popular chain succumbed to bankruptcy in 2001. The building now houses Edible Arrangements (opened in 2006), Raygun Samurai Tattoo, MVMNT Boutique (a high-end, national brand outdoor clothing and local designer store), and the Sultana hookah lounge.
1986, Mention of McCrory’s in a Lehigh University student publication
1928, Postcard showing Third Street looking east from New Street (McCrory's on the left)
1926, Advertisement aimed at Lehigh students in the university’s Epitome yearbook
1960, Photo of storefront when the building housed two different Five and Dime Stores
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Bethlehem, PA 18015
27 Memorial Drive West, Bethlehem, PA 18015