‘Under the squiggly roof’ of The Treasury

2010 - 3520 Tyler Street
2010 – 3520 Tyler Street

This past weekend, we stumbled upon a bit of retail archeology when we noticed the false-front of a now-shuttered Mervyn’s had been removed to reveal the zig-zag roofline of the building’s original occupant — The Treasury. (The removal is part of refurbishing the former Mervyn’s space for an incoming Kohl’s, expected to open in September 2010.)

For those who don’t remember, The Treasury was the discount division of JCPenney, which acquired the small chain (also known as Treasure Island in some parts of the U.S.) from General Merchandise Co. in 1962. Many of the stores sported a zig-zag roofline above the main entrance, which became part of the chain’s advertising slogan of “Under the squiggly roof.”

The Treasury
The Treasury

The stores were quite large, often in excess of 150,000 sq. feet. Permits from 1971 show the Riverside location at just under 185,000 sq. ft. (plus an 11,600 sq. ft. basement). To help patrons navigate the expansive sales floor, several colored lines designating the major departments (housewares, electronics, toys, womens’ clothing, etc.) fanned out on the floor from the main entrance leading shoppers toward the desired department.

1991 - 3520 Tyler Street - Target (at left) and Mervyn's
1991 – 3520 Tyler Street – Target (at left) and Mervyn’s

The Riverside store, located at 3520 Tyler Street, opened in 1972 and closed in 1981 when JCP shut down the then money-losing discount chain. Permits indicate the Riverside location was developed by Ernest W. Hahn, who also opened the then Tyler Mall (Galleria at Tyler) across the street in 1970.

In early 1983, Minneapolis-based Dayton-Hudson purchased the former Treasury site in Riverside, partitioning the large building for use as both a Target and Mervyn’s. A Press-Enterprise article from July 1983 indicates Mervyn’s spent $7.7 million over 4 months to refurbish its portion of the building (approximately 79,000 sq. ft.). (Interesting to note, the article also states Mervyn’s had been looking for a site in the city since 1975 — prior to the chain’s 1978 acquisition by Dayton-Hudson — but was unable to find a suitable location.)

2010 - 3520 Tyler Street - Incoming Kohl's
2010 – 3520 Tyler Street – Incoming Kohl’s

Around 1992, Target enlarged their portion of the building slightly by expanding outward along the store’s Diana Avenue (freeway side) frontage.

In mid 2008, Mervyn’s — now no longer part of Target Corp. (formerly Dayton-Hudson) — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, eventually leading to the shuttering of the chain by early 2009. The Riverside location remained vacant until the recent renovation by Kohl’s.


Sources: The Press-Enterprise, City of Riverside, Riverside Public Library, WikiPedia

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