by Dan Gibson
Black Cat Vintage at 41 N. Tucson Blvd. has done some great/fun window displays in the past, but store owner Claudine Villardito has gone above and beyond this time, recreating the look from the grand opening of Jacome's downtown department store in 1951 as part of the third year of Tucson Modernism Week, which kicks off on Friday.
A beloved destination for locals, ranchers and tourists, Jacome’s Department Store made history when it opened a three-level retail complex directly across from competitor Steinfeld’s Department Store in 1951. The grand opening was so eagerly awaited that customers filled the streets of downtown and brought traffic to a standstill. The display window will recreate the moment the doors were opened and throngs of Tucsonans flooded the building.
“My goal is to give onlookers the feeling that they are among the crowds in the store on opening day,” said Villardito, who used original Jacome’s display fixtures, mannequins, photos and ephemera to populate the window. “People have been so generous in lending me their keepsakes for this project; it reminds me what a big heart Tucson still has, just like in 1951.”