Majors Discount Department Store, 2239 Forest Ave, Mariner’s Harbor

Majors was the name of an American chain of department stores with outlets in many states east of the Mississippi River in the decades immediately following World War II. Its logo featured a distinctive drum major, and its merchandise was geared to mainly a lower-middle-class customer base, much like Walmart and Kmart today.  It was a forerunner of the Mall on Staten Island, as it was considered a “Mall without Walls”: It may not be widely known, but each department was independently owned and operated, thus you could not pay for merchandise from one department in another.

Majors Supermarket was owned by Dan’s Supreme, a company that is still in business since 1948. They are a member of the Key Food supermarket cooperative, and have roughly 12 stores under the Key Food name. An innovation in the supermarket at Majors was a roller conveyor belt system, where a customer was given a number, and their bagged groceries were placed in bins and transported to an outside area where the shopper could drive up, present their ticket and the groceries would be loaded in their vehicle.

Majors Automotive was owned by R&S Strauss Discount Auto. The Toys & Sporting Goods departments were owned by Valley Fair.During the 1970s, the chain experienced acute financial trouble, and by decade’s end all of its stores had gone out of business.

The building played host to a flea market in the early 80′s: The Big Apple Bazaar, and then sat dormant and run down for over 15 years.

An outlet of Kohls now occupies the main building that formerly housed Major’s (the Liquor City extension was razed and a new section built where the front entrance to Kohls is now located), while the parking lot and former Gas City and Major’s Car Wash are ghosts in the adjacent Lowes home improvement store…