Bill Clinton

Long before Black Friday, downtown L.A. created shopping frenzy and hype with Dollar Days

Long before Black Friday, downtown L.A. created shopping frenzy and hype with Dollar Days

Long before Black Friday, merchants in downtown Los Angeles created their own shopping frenzy with Dollar Day.

The concept was somewhat novel when Dollar Day started: Various department stores and other shops joined together for big sales on the same day. The concept quickly caught on, in part because back then, in an era before shopping malls, downtown was Los Angeles’ main shopping destination. In fact, boosters called downtown “The West’s Biggest Shopping Center.”

The merchants set Dollar Day periodically — typically in the spring and fall -- and the throngs came by car, bus and streetcar. The Times reported in 1940 that one such...

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