MEMORIES OF EL MONTE
By Richard Cortez
Sears came to El Monte in or around 1958. It was located on Peck Road between Stewart and Sitka Street. The building had three stories. The main floor was for retail and the basement had retail and the credit department. The top floor was used for the warehouse. When you entered the store the first thing you would see was the candy and popcorn stand. The smell of the freshly made popcorn would fly all through the store and would make you hungry. The Craftsman tools were the best tools made in America and came with a lifetime warranty. For the women Sears had stylish and reasonably priced clothing. In August Sears would have their white sale and mothers would stock up on clothing and bedding for the new school year. Families would charge them on their Sears credit card and pay off the balance in time for next year’s white sale. Sear had the best appliances for the home. It was a status symbol for families to boast they had a Kenmore washer and dryer or a Coldspot refrigerator. For the car you had to have a Diehard battery which never failed. When the Sears building was designed it was in the middle of the cold war and the architect made sure that there was a bomb shelter in the lower basement of the building. The basement was so large that Longo Toyota uses it to store their new cars. Sears closed down in the early 1980’s and a Latin themed specialty grocery store opened and closed. So what opened in its place you got it Sears!
A&W Root Beer
The A&W Root Beer stand was built around 1957 and was located on Peck Road just shy of Lower Azusa Road. Right after World War II A&W entered the fast food business to compete with McDonald’s. The food menu was similar to all hamburger stands of the 1950’s. Hamburgers, Cheeseburgers and French fries but, what made their menu stand out was the Root Beer. You could get a frosty glass mug of A&W root beer. The frost from the glass would turn the root beer into ice similar to a smoothy. “I would walk bare footed to the A&W stand and get my frosty root beer for a nickel” explained Clarke Moseley of his memories of El Monte. A&W was torn down around 1977 and replaced with a mini mall. The donut shop is approximately where the stand was located.