“Today, thousands of people will shop at Highland Super Stores; but who and why? Let’s find out – sir, your name and what do you do?” so went the intro to many of the best and funniest radio commercials ever put out by ANYone.

Those awesome Highland Appliance commercials were really huge back in the 1980s and 90s and we looked forward to hearing our favorites over and over. Lasting only 60 years, it took over fifty of those years for Highland to get such a wide following.

The store was founded in 1933 by Harry Mondry under the name ‘Highland Appliance’ – “Highland” because the store was in Highland Park. By 1980, Highland had 18 locations in the Midwest. By 1985 it went public and the number of locations zoomed to 84 (no doubt helped along by those entertaining commercials). The “people on the street” that were featured in that string of popular radio ads were an exaggerator, moocher, namedropper, ladies man, doubletalker, bad influence, and my favorite: Butch the bully (you can hear the bully commercial in the link below).

From the late 80s to early 90s, Highland began their financial woes. They hired an investment firm to help them straighten out their finances but it was in vain. In 1991 they had 50 stores left, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 1992, and liquidated their last 30 shops in 1993.

The enormous success Highland experienced in the 80s possibly went to the heads of the CEOs in charge…when that happens, they usually want more, more, more. But it didn’t turn out that way. Too much money spent on advertising, maybe???

Highland Appliance: 1933-1993

Now check out my favorite Highland radio spot!


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