The evolution of Ben Franklin on Madison St.

August 8th, 2019 8:00 AM

Ben Franklin in its final days at 7443 Madison St.

By Historical Society

Only a few years after Forest Park installed it's first traffic light, McLellan's, a five-and-dime store opened in the late 1920's.  During the Depression of the 1930s business at this discount store boomed.  It was sold and renamed "Ben Franklin 5Cent and $1" in 1958.  Its name suggestive of one of Ben Franklin's quotes, "A penny saved is a penny earned."

Ray Campbell was the franchise owner of the store in town for 33 years, until he retired.  Mike Bolander invested in the business and even for about 6 years Bolander also ran a clothing boutique, Ben's Closet, in neighboring 7441 Madison to diversify his offerings to the community. 

 By 1993, Ben Franklin was pinched out of the market according to Bolander.  He sighted, in 1993 Forest Park Review article, the competition in the area from the Forest Park Mall, Osco, the F&M and Walgreens. 

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