Laurel Centre: Merry Go Round… and Carousel

When you ask folks who grew up in the 1980s about “Merry Go Round“, they’ll undoubtedly remember the store… and its trendy fashions that they’d probably just as soon forget. Do the brands “I.O.U.” and “Skidz” ring any bells?

For those who grew up in Laurel at that time, our Merry Go Round was located on the lower level of Laurel Centre Mall, not far from the Hecht’s entrance. And coincidentally, just a few short yards away was another merry go round of sorts—the Carousel shops, which were literally located on a revolving platform in the center of the mall. These seven small boutiques were surrounded by a moat, no less—into which everyone in Laurel likely threw at least one penny at some point. (Perhaps wishing for a new red leather jacket from Merry Go Round, or something).

It wasn’t obvious, but the Carousel did actually rotate. According to this press photo which ran in the October 28, 1979 issue of the Baltimore Sun, the platform did a complete turn every 50 minutes. It did, at least, until maintenance costs proved to be too prohibitive, and then it just sat still. For that reason, many people probably never realized that it ever rotated at all.

And as for Merry Go Round, the store, I hope you didn’t think I’d miss this opportunity to showcase some of its many wares. Enjoy. Or cringe, more likely.

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3 thoughts on “Laurel Centre: Merry Go Round… and Carousel

  1. werememberretail says:

    What a Time Machine. Seriously though I as loud and proud and ” like,Totally 80s!” ( please Excuse me I just had to say that) the fashions were. I find them no more cringeworthy than what I have seen in the past 20 years looking back, the Nirvana Inspired doped up “grunge” look, the thug criminal inspired saggy baggy pants 3 to 5 sizes too big hanging down to your you know what, and most recently the so-called “emo/retro-goth” look and the accompanying trend of men wearing womens Jeans (who ever came up with that idea needs to be tried in international court, lol!) compared to all of that these flashy numbers IMHO look tame. Every decade has its share of repulsive fashion trends. This reminds me of a gentlewoman who is an accountant for the company I work for.She joined the company in 1987. though she looks mighty young for her age (she’s in her late 30s early 40s) her hairdo in 2012 looks like she never left 1987! Im pretty sure she frequented the Merry Go Round in her youth. She might get away with it, but Merry Go Round didnt, though the company had updated their logo and merged with another retailer you did a post on, Chess King (originally part of CVS) their fashion sense by the Clinton years didnt stray too far from these pictures and by 1996 they were history.Fashion is a chameleon black is the new white, stripes are in then out, too baggy today, too tight tomorow. That’s why I don’t follow trends. never followed the trends. never did in my youth never have, Never will. Saying that, style aside, the pictures DO conjure up images and personal memories of a more upbeat, more positive,(seemingly) more innocent society than our current one.

    As Bob Hope used to say “Thanks for the Memories!

    P.S. Love this blog.

  2. Thanks for the blog and fascinating reminders of my youth.

    The carousel was cool! The best boutique store on it, at least for my sophomore year in high school, was Darts and Dragons–an odd coupling of dart supplies and Dungeons & Dragons crap.

  3. Matthew Morgan says:

    great early images of Paula Marshall in the Traffic and IOU ads!

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