Although Baden's Northern Lights Shoppers City, as the shopping center was then formally called, opened its first stores on November 1, 1956, the formal "Official" Grand Opening Celebration with even more stores began on June 12, 1957.
Special events, including fireworks and "Grandma Carver's Hi Dive into Flaming Tank of Gas," were scheduled through June 18, while promotions such as "Ridiculous Days" sales were planned through September 12.
Some Northern Lights stores boasted of their special qualities:
- A&P had doors that opened electrically! Imagine!
- Kroger was the largest in the then-52 store chain.
- Rochester Motor Sales, which sold large appliances, had the largest display of appliances in Beaver County.
- Star Super Market had the largest frozen food section in Beaver Valley.
- Turk Brothers Music Center claimed it had "thousands of miles of music on wax and tape" on its shelves.
- W.T. Grant's luncheonette had a two-level conveyor belt, the first of its type in Beaver County, which zipped food to customers three minutes after they placed their orders.
The parking lot had parking for 5,000 cars, and there were days when it was hard to find a parking space.
At the time of the grand opening, Northern Lights claimed to have more than 50 stores--with room for more as the area's population kept growing. Click here to read the complete blog post.
Nancy Bohinsky Knisley grew up in Ambridge in the 1950s and 1960s. She is the author of Ambridge Memories, a blog dedicated to local history from 1950 to 1970. Visit ambridgememories.blogspot.com for more.