Turn Style

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Turn Style Department Stores Inc.
Company typediscount department store
Founded1957; 67 years ago (1957) in Lynn, Massachusetts[1]
FounderHarold Sparks
Defunct1978; 46 years ago (1978)
Fatestores sold individually to other chains
Area served
Boston and US Midwest
ProductsClothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, electronics and housewares.

Turn Style was a chain of discount department stores and was a division of Chicago-based Jewel, the parent company of the Jewel Food Stores supermarket chain. Some mid-western Turn Styles had an Osco Pharmacy, at the time very uncommon for a discount store in the 1960s and 1970s.[2] At its peak, the chain comprised more than fifty stores throughout Chicago, as well as in downstate Illinois, Decatur, Illinois, Moline, Illinois; Davenport, Iowa; Omaha, Nebraska; Boston, Massachusetts; Merrillville, Indiana; Michigan, and Racine, Wisconsin.


Turn Style was a Brighton, Massachusetts-based discount department store chain that was founded by Harold Sparks who had open his first store in Lynn, Massachusetts in 1957.[1][3] This was the first discount department store that had opened in the state of Massachusetts and the second in New England following the opening of Topps which had just opened 7 months earlier in neighboring Connecticut. Other locations were quickly open in Massachusetts in Brighton (1958),[3][4][5] Lawrence (1960), and Medford (1961).[6]

Jewel acquired the Turn Style brand in 1961[7] and began rapidly expanding the chain. Sales for the 1961 year were listed as $14 million (~$105 million in 2022) U.S. dollars with four stores, with headquarters in Brighton, Massachusetts.[8] At its peak, the chain operated throughout the Midwest, as well as in the Boston, Massachusetts area. Within three years of opening a store in Racine, Wisconsin, profits as measured on a ROI basis were the highest within Jewel Companies. Rapid expansion, the corporate decision to incorporate a catalog type store within its four walls, and an unrealistic divisive venture into the "Hypermarket" business, all caused profits to suffer.

The economy also caused Jewel to rethink its growth strategy and the decision was made to sell Turn Style in order to concentrate its growth within its core businesses, which were food stores and drugstores. In 1978, 19 out of 22 of the existing stores were sold to May Department Stores and converted to the Venture format.[9][10] Other stores were converted to large Osco Drug Stores, and some were closed entirely.


  1. ^ a b "Lynn Turnstyle Store Birthday Sale Begins". Daily Boston Globe. April 21, 1958. p. 22. The Turnstyle department store, near the Edwards Bridge in Lynn, begins its first anniversary sale today. Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  2. ^ Johnson, David P. "Discount Stores of the '60s (1960s version of Turn Style references)". David P. Johnson's House O' Retro! (blog).
  3. ^ a b "Turn Style Opens New Self-Service Branch in Brighton". Daily Boston Globe. August 13, 1958. p. 24. Another branch of the Turn Style self-service department store has opened at Brighton. Harold Sparks opened the first Turn Style in Lynn in March 1957. Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  4. ^ "General News: 2D Turn Style Unit Will Open Soon". Women's Wear Daily. Vol. 97, no. 32. August 14, 1958. p. 21. Link via ProQuest.
  5. ^ "1st Birthday Sale By Turnstyle Corp". Daily Boston Globe. August 18, 1959. p. 18. A Brighton firm, the Turnstyle Corp, celebrated its first anniversary yesterday with a store-wide sale. Sparks, now president of the corporation... Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  6. ^ "Turnstyle Opens Medford Store". The Boston Globe. November 21, 1961. p. 35. Turnstyle open its fourth department store yesterday in Medford. President of the firm is Harold Sparks who opened the first Turnstyle in Lynn in 1957, the second in Brighton in 1958, and the third in Lawrence in 1960. Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  7. ^ "Jewel Tea Co. Set To Buy Turnstyle, Boston Area Chain". Women's Wear Daily. Vol. 103, no. 111. December 7, 1961. p. 6. Jewel Tea Co. Inc., the nation's 10th ranking supermarket chain, has reached an "agreement in principle" to acquire Turnstyle Corp., four self-service department stores in the Boston area. Harold P. Sparks, president of the Boston-area department store group, was elected a vice-president of Jewel Tea Co. Turnstyle would, in effect, become the third arm in Jewel's projected plans for self-service family centers combining supermarket, department store and variety-drug store units under one roof. The eastern firm will assist in the development of such combinations, the first of which is planned for completion next spring in Racine, Wis. In family centers, it will concentrate primarily on soft goods but also carry other products. Osco Drug Inc., a consolidated subsidiary of the Jewel Tea Co., Inc., is another major link in the family center concept as the food chain intensifies its diversification program in sel-servicing. Osco will handle a line of general variety goods, including hardware accessories, small appliances, outdoor furnishings, and normal drug merchandise. Turnstyle opened its first store five years ago in Lynn, Mass., and also operates three other self-service department stores in that area. Link via ProQuest.
  8. ^ Discount Merchandiser magazine, July 1986 issue
  9. ^ Lazarus, George (March 8, 1978). "Jewel to sell Turn Styles". Chicago Tribune. p. C7. Alternate Link via ProQuest
  10. ^ "Venture to acquire 19 stores of Turn Style". WWD. Vol. 136, no. 46. March 8, 1978. p. 54. locations in Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Illinois. Link via ProQuest.