G.I. Joe’s offered Christmas shoppers the largest toy selection in Portland in the late 1950s and 1960s. Since this photo is marked 1958, the toy department must have been in the original store on Vancouver Avenue in North Portland. In 1966, Dad opened Store 2 adjacent to the original store and moved Toyland there to coincide with that store opening. When he opened Store 3 in 1968, he again moved the toys there.
G.I. Joe’s started sponsoring G.I. Joe’s Portland Grand Prix in 1984 and the last lap was run for Joe’s in either 2006 or 2007. I first got to watch the race cars fly around the P.I. R. track in a previous race G.I. Joe’s sponsored in 1978. I still remember that it was a hot day, the hot dogs tasted great, and excitement and gas fumes filled the air!
Thanks to Wil Askew for sharing the poster he designed.
Heading for Delta Park, elephants and their handlers trudge in front of the original expanded G.I. Joe’s store in 1956 or 1957. They were part of a huge circus that put on shows for a few days.
I remember going to the circus site and watching the elephants help put up the tents! It was almost a better show than seeing the actual performance in the three rings. My brother Corky and I had mixed feelings about circuses anyway, because we had seen a few movies that I think had scary clown murderers in them.
I had thought that the circus was Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey, but on the internet, I found a list of cities they toured in those years and it did not include Portland. Time for more research!
Mom snapped this photo.
Thank you so much for liking “Growing Up With G.I. Joe’s” on Facebook! At 10:30 this morning, there were 307 likes. It feels good because the likes are basically a tribute to all the folks that built the company or enjoyed shopping there (or both).
What a great ad! Wil Askew designed it for G.I. Joe’s back in the day and then shared it with me recently. Can’t you just feel the rain and sleet and snow when you look at the ad?
Bob’s Sporting Goods in Longview, Washington, has one, too! Or a least, in October 2013, Bob’s had a directional sign pointing to the early morning bait window in their parking lot when I took this photo.
But too bad, I don’t think you could order an expresso grande dulce gusto at the same time! Bob’s has or had a bait window, but no Java Joe’s like G.I. Joe’s Hayden Island store.
More complete photo of store in background which is the housewares, giftware and toys store, next to the main, 2-story sporting goods store.
Mural on a side exterior wall of Bob’s Sporting Goods main store. It depicts Bob’s War Surplus store, open at the time that Dad was starting G.I. Joe’s in North Portland, and selling war surplus merchandise, too.
Where could you place that order today? I don’t know! But in the old days, maybe you could get that order filled at the walk-up Espresso window at the Hayden Meadows store in North Portland!
Hayden Meadows store featured a Java Joe’s coffee bar in the front of the store that also had an order window to the outside. That was a great place to get a cup of joe but also to buy bait during various fishing seasons!
Thanks to the Facebook page, Joe’s Sports and Outdoor Alumni, for the photos and information. If you thought to worry about a food inspector dealing with bait sales, I am told that it was either frozen or in jars and packs. What a relief! I really would not want a worm in my mocha latte!