“Meet Me Under the Clock”

“Meet Me Under the Clock”

By: Avera Worrall

Photos Courtesy of:
The Hagen History Center
oldtimeerie.blogspot.com
Mercyhurst Library 

Erie, like most urban areas at this time of year, is bustling with holiday shoppers. But, over a century ago and for decades to follow, the most popular place to shop, which still holds fond memories for many residents, was the Boston Store in downtown Erie. Parents, grandparents, and just about everyone in Erie knew the meaning of “meet me under the clock.” The giant timepiece, located in the center of the main floor, was a familiar meeting place for shoppers rushing up and down the escalators. To understand why this iconic store was so fondly remembered by so many people, let’s first look at the history behind such a well-respected store.

The Boston Store was founded in 1884 on Peach Street in downtown Erie under the original name of Sibly’s. It was owned by a Rochester firm with a group of stores locals referred to as Boston Stores. A year later, the Erie location adopted that familiar name too. By the turn of the century, the store was expanding and eventually filled a complete block from State Street to Peach Street. In 1929 a redesign was planned by local architects, Myers and Krider. This new, modern design began as three stories but quickly grew to six which included plans for a pool on the top floor. However, due to accessibility issues, that idea was scrapped. More upgrades occurred with the installation of escalators and a water sprinkler system, the first commercial operation to do so in Erie, keeping the Boston Store updated and even more popular for its attention to customer service. 

Throughout its history, The Boston Store made a memorable impression on its customers, as one resident describes, “What nice memories I have of the early ’50s, meeting in the downstairs cafeteria or under the clock.” For children, the Boston Store was a magical place as this former customer recalls, “I have wonderful childhood memories of special shopping days with my mother at the Boston Store including Easter dresses, school shoes, and our Christmas visit with Santa in the Fabulous Toyland.” It was also a hot spot for teens according to this former patron, “Next to the escalator you could pick up the Top 40 list from WJET radio. Occasionally they would have special lists such as the Top 500 songs of all time. I still have one copy of that from the 1960s.” 

 

It was a special place for employees too. Mercyhurst graduate, Barbara Chambers fondly recounts her days behind the counter. “Working on the main floor, near the elevators, in the Notions Department, gave me a view of almost every shopper who came to the Boston Store. As a result, I met lots of new people, customers, and passersby, as well as lots of my friends and relatives.” Ms. Chambers proudly explains that she earned 96 cents an hour and was required to follow the Boston Store’s modest dress code of “no sleeveless attire.” This may seem minimal pay and a bit strict for today’s college students, but for the ’60s, when retail options were limited in Erie, a Boston Store clerk position was highly valued by many young adults working their way through school.

By 1971 the Boston Store was quite familiar, and most noted for marketing signs which wrapped around the building that covered a full block. They were also known for their mile marking signs making it clear just how many miles you were from one location to the front of the store. Some people even had similar signs placed in their yards. Due to the Highway Beautification Act, the five-foot, iconic signs were removed from state highways while some customers kept the signs as souvenirs. Erie, Historian Debi Lyon says, “The Boston Store mile marker signs used to be spread-out all-over Erie County, PA. It seems like they were posted along the roadside every few miles on Route 20, Route 8, and Route 5.”

For others, the memories reached far beyond clothing and jewelry. In the basement, the soda fountain was well known for its milkshakes and cafeteria-style lunches while the sixth-floor dining room was reserved for more special occasions.  

By the early ’70s, shoppers were introduced to a new form of retail at local malls which took them out into the suburbs and away from downtown. In 1974, Erie’s new Millcreek Mall proved to be tough competition for the historic 

Boston Store. However, there was still some hope left for the store to be remembered with a place in history. After the store closed its doors to retail business, The Villa Maria Academy decided to preserve the Boston Store as a historic landmark. But the effort failed and on July 7th, 1979, the Boston store closed its doors for good. 

There have been some recent attempts to rebuild or recreate a new Boston Store but it’s nearly impossible to recreate the same experience that Erie residents carry only in their memory now. “I remember that the elevator attendant would announce the type of merchandise one could purchase on any given floor as the elevator doors opened. My fave announcement was Ladies Better Dresses.”

Today, there is a movement to return to downtown shopping and you’ll find Point Foure in the center of it all at its new location, 523 State Street. We don’t have Boston Store escalators, but we do have exceptional customer service, unique vintage clothing and we promise to give you a memorable shopping experience.


Special thanks to:

The Hagen History Center

Old Time Erie

Mercyhurst Library

 

January 04, 2022 — Emily George
The Queen of Red Comeback

The Queen of Red Comeback

"The Queen of Red is reclaiming her throne with the re-release of Red (Taylor’s Version). The internet went crazy after Taylor’s music was sold to Scooter Braun despite her plea not to. After much struggle, Taylor decided to re-record all of her songs that were sold to her so that all of those original copies are essentially worthless. In honor of being able to hear all of these songs again as if it were the first time, here are three outfits to make you feel like the main character in “All Too Well.”

 

 Plaid Blazer and Turtleneck (Swiftie Like Me):

This look is inspired by the outfit worn by Taylor Swift while promoting Evermore. Her braided back hair and wool plaid coat is seen from a back view, giving rustic, camping in the woods vibes. Evermore is the most newly written album, making us all feel cozy at home for the holidays. This outfit consists of a plaid blazer, black long sleeve turtleneck, black velvet pants, and a pair of black heeled boots.

 

Plaid Blazer and Red Dress (Loving Him):

  Of course, there are always a few more romantic, glitzy songs sprinkled throughout the album. Stay, stay, stay is the most fun as Taylor jokes about running errands and the bubbly highs that go along when you are first with a significant other. But in Red, which names the album she sings “loving him was red”, giving us all that feeling of romance that can be joyous or dreadful. This gorgeous, red gown makes it feel like you are running down a street at dusk trying to get to your love before they leave to go back home *cough, cough hallmark*. Since the blazer has a gorgeous burgundy tone it pairs well as a unique second layer.

 

Plaid Tweed Peacoat and Red Scarf (Innocence):

Now this is a look that goes with the song we are all pining to hear over and over, All Too Well. Except, this time around we get to experience 10 minutes of passionate heartbreak instead of 3. This warm, tweed coat keeps you warm while walking through autumn leaves that are falling like pieces into place. Inspired by her post for the new All Too Well, included in the album is this denim Bakers hat. And unlike Taylor, who never got her scarf back, you can keep this old red scarf from that very first week."

November 12, 2021 — Emily George

O.M.G. The 90's Are Totally Back

Remember the 90's? Like, totally! It's a mix of Clueless, "your mom jokes", knee high socks, Britney Spears, Rugrats, Furbys, Spice Girls, boy bands galore, and my favorite show Sex in the City was introduced (thank you 90's)!
Erie is lucky to have a place to find many 90's inspired looks. Pointe Foure Vintage Boutique, located at 2508 Peach Street, is a sustainable, Earth-preserving, fashion lover’s dream come true. The owner, Emily George, has taken her passion for fashion, sustainability, and love for her local town into fruition. Pointe Foure Vintage Boutique was established in 2013. Now onto her second location on what many locals coined "Independence Hill," business is thriving.
I spent an afternoon with Emily looking through the 90's garb she has collected and purchased. Why was I there other than my love for her and vintage? Well,
November 3rd, NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness of Erie) is hosting a 90's dance at Rainbow Gardens,
and where better to find a real authentic 90's get-up than Pointe Foure? Her store is packed with goodies from the 1920's to the early 2000's. I'm talking wedding dresses, fur coats, old Levis, jewelry, and locally made perfumes and accessories among some of the things. It's a no-brainer that you'll definitely find your next Halloween outfit, 90's inspired getup, or a date night outfit that's unlike any other. While I was there, a woman even said "yes to the dress!” How freakin' amazing is that?!
Emily recently won an award from the Erie Reader for being a worthy “40 Under 40” individual in Erie. Emily and her store are the embodiment of keeping Erie weird, by hosting flea markets, gallery nights, and other events that incorporate local businesses and bringing those who keep Erie "weird" together and lifting each other up. Supporting local entrepreneurs is a must.
**
So if you’re looking for something fun to do, go to Pointe Foure. Pick out a rad outfit. Wear it for Halloween or the 90's dance, or both! I know I am.
Support NAMI of Erie. Click the pic above for more info and tickets for the 90's dance!

Want to win tickets to the 90's dance? Erie Reader is hosting a contest for just that. Click here!

here!
Gnibus fam circa early 90's
I'm thankful for the 90's. How about you?
XOXO- Kristy
November 29, 2018 — Emily George

About Us

Project Erie Entrepreneur: Pointe Foure Vintage Boutique

Welcome To The DOLLHOUSE

Emily Lynn George, is the blonde, bubbly, effervescent Owner/Operator of Pointe Foure LLC., Creator of the D.O.L.L. Project, and Treasurer of Independence Hill Collaborative of Erie LLC. Her mission is “to teach others how vintage is truly a trend on saving the planet, teaching the awareness of poor work conditions to make fast fashion, how it creates jobs, and educates us on the value and beauty behind the scenes of each piece.” She is that and SO MUCH MORE!

There’s a reason Emily was named Erie’s 40 under 40! She is also working to revitalize Erie’s Independence Hill while empowering self-confidence. Her D.O.L.L. Project was inspired by the story of a young anorexic girl, whose mother contacted Emily with a simple request. Could Emily style her daughter in an effort to improve her self-image? What happened next inspired a movement. 

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Emily George, photographed in Pointe Foure Vintage Boutique, and recently named one of Erie's 40 Under 40

D.O.L.L. | Dare to Own a Life You Love

 “Everyone has a talent and it kills me not to see them shine. We all have a purpose on this earth and we should all dare to own a life we love one day at a time.

“Everyone has a talent and it kills me not to see them shine. We all have a purpose on this earth and we should all dare to own a life we love one day at a time.

When I questioned Emily about the D.O.L.L. Project she literally lit up. “THIS is the story!” she said. Emily admits she struggles with being an introvert/extrovert and still has her own insecurities, she said she went through the process with them. “It helped me too. Every day I dare to own a life I love, and I truly want that for every walk of life. Depression, low self-esteem, traumatic pasts experiences should not define your present nor your future... I want others to hold their heads high and with confidence because I understand how hard it is to do daily. Being mad, sad, hopeless is draining and feeling good is so rewarding. 

“Everyone has a talent and it kills me not to see them shine. We all have a purpose on this earth and we should all dare to own a life we love one day at a time. Every day is a fresh start to make that happen. My talent is to make inner beauty shine from the outside in.”

What is the D.O.L.L. Project? Twelve women, ages seventeen to thirty-six, were styled and photographed. Each woman was nominated by someone else or themselves with an explanation why they should be chosen. These weren’t women who thought of themselves as models, they were outsiders. Emily was looking to help build their self-esteem. Emily, her assistant Morgan Destefano, the makeup artists and photographers chose which photos to reveal to the women. Each D.O.L.L then chose a single photo to represent themselves. Empowering and inspiring it helped each one of them come out of their shell. 

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What is Vintage?

“Vintage is anything that’s 20 years or older,” explains Emily. “During the 50’s and 60’s clothing was made by hand and more durable.” In a world of fast, disposable fashion where consumers find it increasingly easy to purchase more for less, Pointe Foure, provides authentic, unique and sustainable fashion.

Old is the New, New

“Fashion repeats itself just like history. Major fashion labels such as American Eagle and Anthropologie search vintage shops taking old clothing from decades before us and pattern their clothing from the designs. At Pointe Foure what you’re getting is new versus vintage. Vintage has withheld time, most of it has lasted over 20 decades because it was made with love. It’s owners treasured them because they were either hand-made, came from a big city boutique made of the finest fabrics, and or hand tailored.

They truly are pieces of art which, just like anything, will become extremely rare to come across an authentic roaring 20s piece of clothing. We have a few museum pieces at the store. It’s always amazing to have older people come through the door and take a step back in time. A piece of clothing from the past will make them giggle and bring back old memories. It’s not all about purchasing the clothing at Pointe Foure, it’s about leaving an imprint when you walk out the door.” 

Emily is passionate about making sure her store supports local.

“95% of my merchandise is sourced locally. Which means I have historical pieces from some of the old amazing boutiques we had here. Like Trasks, London’s, Kaufman’s, The Boston Store, Kramer’s, P.A Meyer’s & Sons, & Halle’s. I love that I get to showcase the pieces, tell the history of them and then give them a second home!”

 Behind the scenes in the Pointe Foure Vintage Boutique storage room, Emily says they "constantly make fun of this room"

Behind the scenes in the Pointe Foure Vintage Boutique storage room, Emily says they "constantly make fun of this room"

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How important is sustainable fashion and how do you feel it impacts our community?

Throwing away those “last-season” fashions costs an average of $45 per ton to dispose of and equates to the amount of water needed to fill 1,000 bathtubs or carbon emissions from a modern car for 6,000 miles. Emily explained that many clothing brands are unethically made outside the U.S. by under-paid workers and, in some cases, children. 

“95% of clothing that is thrown away, taking up our landfills, can be reclaimed, recycled, or repurposed! A new survey found that the average American will toss out 81 pounds of clothing this year. That amounts to 26 billion pounds of textiles and clothes ending up in landfills — so I want to keep the community educated on the environment shopping smart, sustainable, local, the effects fast fashion has on us, and on the opportunity to give clothing a second life… whether it be via hand me downs, secondhand shopping, upcycling old clothing articles to make new products, or donating your old clothes to others in need. It’s like doing your part to save not only our earth but our hometown and all the beauty it withholds.”  

Who inspires you?

When asked what inspires her, the answer was no surprise. 

“Truth be told vintage inspires me. The blood sweat, time and tears it took for a team of people to create one piece of art. Someone has to grown the cotton/ then pick it and or manufacture it, make it into fabric, dye it, make a print, a design, a pattern, sew it, and then it becomes what makes the first impression when others see you. To me fashion is more than just a piece of clothing it is a representation of how we feel and who we are. And I solute all those who have dedicated their time to making us feel and look fabulous even if it’s a paper bag. A team of people had to work hard to me that. Lol. Fast fact I actually use to make outfits out of paper bags and have fashion shows when I was like 6 at my parents’ house lol. 

What is your Philosophy on Supporting Local? 

“We can’t survive without each other period. Love hate and all the emotions aside. A village takes a tribe to survive and thrive and why not do it together. We all are so different and bringing our talents, duties, and knowledge to the table can only make us stronger. It’s like pieces to a puzzle and we are all just trying to fit in, and grow within.”

If you’ve attended a recent or past Erie ARTrageous event or Gallery Night you’ve likely witnessed Emily herself or one of the DOLL’s in person. She’s actively involved in the art scene and collaborates with other female entrepreneurs. Emily is the epitome of collaboration over competition.  She recently brought together a host of female artists for the most recent and probably ambitious ARTrageous event to date.

“ARTrageous for me is the big event where I get to showcase my ever so artsy side, my fashion designer side….This year was truly ARTrageous because a lot of the models I have watched grow since they were 14 when the boutique first opened its doors. This year they all graduated high school… I had my Event Flagshipflea, an outdoor local artisan marketplace that I host once a month up on Independence Hill during the day a couple months out of the summer, and then at night seeing 16 Avant Gard pieces myself, my team of Pointe Foure, Head Cases, and Rachel Berlin of RLB, come to life was everything! A dream team collaboration of some of Erie’s most creative female entrepreneurs! I asked these women to come on board and mesh our artistic abilities tighter because that’s how it should be done.”

Why Did You Choose Erie To Build Your Business?

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For this single mother and entrepreneur, you could say fashion is in Emily’s blood. Her mother, Regina George, was her inspiration. “For as long as I can remember…I was always tagging along with her when she would go ‘treasure hunting’ Her motto was ‘you’ll never see one like it again… so you just have to get it!’”

“My first vintage obsession was and still is scarves! Each and every single one is uniquely beautiful in its own way. They truly are pieces of art. I probably have over 100 in my own personal collection. I would say they inspired and sparked my love for all things vintage.” 

Emily’s grandmother was a tailor for Halle’s, a high-end boutique in Erie, and saved buttons and trimmings to repurpose later, which inspired Emily’s clothing line for her portfolio in college. Emily, who always knew she wanted to open a boutique, earnedan Associate of arts degree in Fashion Designat Bauder College in Georgia, then went on to receive her Associate of Arts Degree in Fashion Merchandising. 

She then moved back to Erie, worked a number of retail jobs and quickly found out the corporate world wasn’t for her. After having her son Cy, who she calls the "apple of her eye and the reason and blessing as to why I have a wonderful boutique in my hometown” she realized it was time to follow her dreams and open her own boutique. But she admits it wasn’t always easy.

Emily explains that for most female business owners there seems to be a shift in power and juggling between business and family can be difficult. It is “meant for survival.” In her experience many small business owners in the Erie area wouldn’t be able to stay afloat without second jobs and the stress can create problems in relationships or strengthen them. 

 “There is no turning back. If it was not for my family...for Cy and how much he believes in his momma I couldn’t do it all. He is our future and I want him to grow up knowing about the importance of hard work, dedication to make a change, difference, and an impact on this world. How to be a leader. Bluntly...It’s not an easy life…" She admits she cries daily, and the future isn't certain. But she will tell you Cy understands it all... “For instance he always wants to go to work with me, proudly tells people that I own Pointe Foure as soon as he meets them…”

There is little question as to why this real-life wonder woman was named Erie's 40 under 40. Single mother, Entrepreneur, supporting local artisans and strengthening female self-esteem and self-image she is a force to be reckoned with. 

 She says, "I’m here to take on interns from our surrounding colleges to show them what real life is like being a small business fashion design merchandising major in a small town and how to be creative and business like with the bare essentials and a creative mind. Through the tough and fun times. How to laugh while being kind and I’m here to help the Erie economy... One day I will find balance but for right now I’m okay with being off balance because I’m weird like that.”

And THAT, is what Keeping Erie Weird is all about.  

Erica Whiting is a Pennsylvania based portrait photographer specializing in creative portraits celebrating individuals, couples and special moments. So whether you’re celebrating a major milestone, life event or just want to celebrate yourself Erica Whiting illustrates your individuality. We are all unique! #whatsyourstory #everystorymatters  | Instagram: ericawhitingphoto

August 22, 2018 — Emily George