Only those who have lived in Tustin for 30 or
40 years remember that once there were shops
within walking distance of the middle of Old
Town for almost anything you'd want to buy.
There were dozens of clothing shops, yardage
shops, menís shops and shoe shops as well as
Mention Claire McNairís Sax of Tustin to a woman
who has lived in the Tustin area for many years
and youíll elicit memories of its elegant decor,
sophisticated atmosphere and clothes that
were-to-die-for, even after youíd peeked at the
price tag. No other store in town came close to
it for elegance and chic.
Women who were in their teens in the Ď70s and
Ď80s often sigh as they remember the prom
dresses and school clothes that their mothers
purchased for them at The Jabberwocky, that
quaint little red building in Old Town. Some are
alumnae of its fashion board and recall the
great fashion shows Margaret Pottenger organized
before school started each year. Dorriís also
specialized in clothes for teens.
Today thereís one shoe store in Tustin, but once
the town had a handful, or should I say foot
full, of shoe stores. Sellers, Millerís,
Kellyís, Reeves, Wayne's Bootery, House of Van
and The Athleteís Foot were scattered across
Tustin Heights, Tustin Square, Larwin Square and
The Courtyard shopping centers. You could buy
everything from Stride Rite for the kids to
athletic shoes or evening slippers.
Nahaís in the Tustin Heights shopping center was
Tustinís first department store, with Kresgeís
over in Larwin Square its first mass
merchandiser. Shops for womenís clothes
abounded. The ladies could choose from
Mildredís, Suburban Shop, Sallies Shop, The
Village Shoppe, Cinnamon & Co Boutique,
Serendipity, Tiki Togs and Janetteís.
Men and children, too, were well provided for.
Stevenís Menís Shop, Charles Edwards,
Hendersonís and Sunny Smith all served Tustinís
males. Bergstromís, Kids Mart, Wizard of Togs
and Baby News catered to the younger set.
Pattersonís Jewelry, which traces its heritage
back to the 1930s when it was owned by A. H.
Hibbet who later sold out to Albert Farnsworth,
had competition including Larwin Square Jewelry,
Crest Jewelry and the Diamond Exchange.
Building was thriving at that time and there was
a choice of home furnishings and gift shops in
downtown Tustin. Leeís Lampís, Bennett Carpet
Co., Red Hill Carpets, RoseMarie Draperies,
Hamilton House, Kitchen Things, Pretty Potty,
Ermaís Gift Box and Carlís Party House were
among those offering a wide variety of household
During that era, most women sewed, making
clothes for themselves as well as their
children. Tustin High Schoolís evening sewing
classes were popular. C & D yardage, Dís Yardage
and Carriage Trade Fabrics sold yardage,
patterns and sewing supplies. Hand knits were
fashionable and The Village Knit Shop helped
many women to become proficient knitters.
Regardless of what you wanted to buy, from an
engagement ring to yummy breads and desserts,
you could probably find it in Tustin during
those years. There was even a Tustin Cab in case
you needed transportation. Today, for some
mysterious reason, with the exception of Tustin
Market Place and now The District, both of which
are miles from downtown Tustin, there are very
few stores which cater to a shopper.