Here’s your chance to own an iconic shoe store’s 52-year-old children’s carousel
A fixture inside Garden City’s Hershey’s Shoes store since 1970, a six-horse merry-go-round attention-grabber is up for silent auction as the Ford Road shoe-selling landmark has been put up for sale by its longtime owner Tom Welch.
People interested in making a silent bid on the carousel can stop by the store at 29522 Ford Road, fill out a form with their bid attached before the end of this month, place it in a slot in the designated shoe box and hope for the best.
“I have a room at the Garden City Historical Museum where I’ve placed several historical shoes-related items,” said Welch. “At first, I was going to donate the carousel to my room there, but there just isn’t enough space. I decided the next best thing would be to make it available to someone who cherishes it like so many of our customers have over the past decades.”
Welch estimates the carousel horses — each of which has a name (Silver, Fury, Ginger, Flicka, Beauty and King) and are still decorated by their original paint — have been “ridden” by thousands of people.
“We have grandparents who come in now — people in their 60s — who tell me they rode that when they were kids,” he said. “Kids who come into our store now still run over and sit on it when they walk in. We actually get some adults who like to sit on it, too, for photos or whatever.”
The carousel’s original price (Welch still has the paperwork) was $500 in 1970.
“I’ve heard a rumor that someone is willing to pay up to $2,000 for it,” Welch said. “Honestly, though, I have no idea what it will go for. We’re not going to look at the silent bids until the last day.”
The California company that manufactured the Hollywood Junior Carousel went out of business in 1975, Welch said, so getting parts for the rare repairs the item requires can be tricky.
“We’ve always found a way, though,” he said.
A graduate of Livonia Franklin High School, Welch started working in the store when he was a teenager. He bought it in 1981.
“We’re not closing the store because it’s not doing a lot of business, because it is,” Welch said. “We’re selling it because I haven’t had a summer off since I was 14 and I want to enjoy a few while I still can.”
The store is tentatively scheduled to remain open until the end of December, however, that could change, Welch said.
“We’ll see how it goes,” he said.