A 35MM Walk down memory lane

This last summer I took some time to visit friends and extended family in Cleveland, Ohio. The whole Northeastern Ohio region is like a time capsule for retail. Chains you thought went bust like Rax still reign king in small towns. While visiting I stopped into Discount Drug Mart and was surprised to learn that they still develop film. I bought a roll, and a camera from Goodwill. Here are some of the photos I took.

This Dairy Queen is right outside of the Goodwill I purchased the camera from. I headed to Elyria (a suburb West of Cleveland) as I felt I could take better photos.
The Abbe Road Drive-Thru likely hasn’t been updated since the 1980s. The Dairy Queen is immediately behind this building, and was a former Hardees.
After a few picture in Elyria (most of which were unusable) I headed down to nearby Grafton to visit the Sparkle Market Grocery store.
I had driven by the Sparkle Market on one of my many previous trips to the area but have never stopped in before. I knew they were a local store with only the single location. Check out the fluorescent lights through the window!
This is the photo I am most proud of. The juice dividers, which were still being used to hold frozen juices, are likely from the 1980s. The cooler was painted a bright orange which can be seen below, and the chrome trim was all well kept.
Most of my photos turned out to be very blurry. I’ll be keeping an eye out for a better camera next time I shoot on film. The produce section reminded me of the original Houston Safeways with the use of mirrors above the produce.
Although a poor shot, I wanted to include at least one to show what the store looked like. Still very vintage after all these years. Not terribly busy either.
As my readers are mostly Houstonians, I wanted to give you something you might recognize. An old Kroger! Despite being an Ohio based company Kroger has not had a presence in Cleveland since the 1980s. This was due to a labor and union dispute. Most stores were sold of to regional chain Giant Eagle.

A funny little vignette to end with. While driving out of the former Kroger parking lot, I ran over a nail. I was able to make it onto a nearby highway before noticing and pulling off. This last summer hit a high temperature record for Cleveland of 97 degrees. Predictably (according to Murphy’s law) I had my flat tire on this day. Once I stopped and began to change my tire, I had multiple people stop and offer me water or help. They were concerned that I wouldn’t be able to deal with the heat. Thankfully my Texan background and Cleveland’s much lower humidity made this a relatively painless tire changing experience. By the way, turns out sweating works, it just has to be able to evaporate!

I hope you enjoyed watching me muddle through a film shoot. This was a practice run for a Houston attempt. Though I will definitely have to buy a better camera before that.


  1. Thank you! I’m happy to hear you enjoyed it. Taking the photos was a bit difficult. It’s putting the viewfinder on your face that really gives you away.

    I’m excited for the Houston shoot too!

  2. Creative idea, I love it! That Sparkle supermarket is especially cool (I agree that the juice divider photo is my favorite). These days I’d be worried about taking pictures inside places with an actual camera, but other than that, this seems like a really fun thing to do – looking forward to seeing the results of your Houston attempt in the future!