The first County Seat store opened in Minneapolis in 1973. Beginning as an offspring of the grocery store chain Super Valu Stores, County Seat was intended as a budget-priced chain of stores offering casual clothes for the entire family, with about 3,500 square feet per store. The stores featured Levi jeans and other Levi apparel and had a distinct country western look with a rustic wood decor. That decor predominated for 12 years, as the chain slowly grew.
First, I have to say that I love the idea of a jeans store that began as an offshoot of a grocery store.
But County Seat carried more than Levis, oh yes, because it was at County Seat where you could get the Locker Loot.
The fact that I cannot find a photo of or fan page dedicated to the wondrous beauty of the Locker Loot is making me re-think my whole “the Internet is the best thing ever” philosophy. Seriously Internet, isn’t your one true purpose having documentation on everything that ever happened or existed? Well, you have failed. FAIL! Epic Fail with double exclamation points. You ought to be a ashamed of yourself, Internet.
But back to the Locker Loot, oh what a thing of glory for any girl aged 10-15 in the early to mid 80s. The Locker Loot was a miniature duffle bag (maybe about eight inches wide, by four inches tall) with “Locker Loot by County Seat” screen-printed on the front of it and inside. . . well, inside you’d find an assortment of sample-sized goodies sure to please the Bonne Belle in your life — Noxzema, Jean Nate, disposable razors in a variety of 80s colors, and most every other beauty aid advertised in the pages of Seventeen. Of course, it also included coupons to buy full-sized versions of all this crap. I’m sure the idea was to fill the bag with all the loot a girl would need while showering after gym class. Marketing at its finest.
Originally, it was sold in a sort of boring green color with khaki stripes that turned into the handles. My Aunt Cathy had one of the green ones she got at the Burnsville Mall and I loved it with my whole heart. I spent the summer before 7th grade pining for a Locker Loot of my very own, despondent that I couldn’t afford one (because any time I had two quarters to rubbed together I dashed off to Snyder’s to procure more Maxi Colors-to-Go eyeshadow).
All my pre-teen moping and whining and sad poetry paid off, because when school shopping rolled around one of the first stops was County Seat in the Northtown Mall. I wheeled right up the counter, where the Locker Loots were sold, and to my great pleasure discovered that they were now offered in pink and turquoise. Turquoise was my very favorite color of all the colors (as you would have been able to guess had you seen my entire back-to-school wardrobe for 7th grade) and I nearly died of joy right there in County Seat.
I wish I could remember what kind of delights filled this turquoise bag of goodness, but alas I cannot. I also wish I still had it so I could take a picture of it and be the holder of the only (so it seems) photographic evidence that such a glorious beast existed. For now, you will have to take my word for it.