Spotted at one of the original 1980s TJ Maxx stores in Merrillville, Indiana is an out of place Nortel M7100 digital telephone. I don’t know where this phone came from, because most sales floor TJ Maxx telephones are the M7208 or T7208 digital phones. This phone is also missing a handset. Also notice the display says invalid number. There’s not much you can do with this telephone without a handset because it does not have hands-free capability. Notice the branding on the phone as well. This one comes from the mid to late 1990s where Ameritech was branded on the telephone set with a big bold Nortel logo sitting on top of the original NT logo.
This TJ Maxx holds a special place in my heart for me because it reminds me of my mother who passed away in January. Shortly before this TJ Maxx opened in late 1988, my Mom received a letter in the mail from TJ Maxx saying “your wish is our command, your constant request for a TJ Maxx near your home has been fulfilled and the store on route 30 Merrillville will be opening in late 1988.”
When the store originally opened in 1988, it contained a TIE Meritor key system with digital phones at service and sales and analog black trim like phones at the registers. It probably received a Norstar system sometime in the mid 1990s. TJ Maxx stores opened before 1986 (when a brand new red grey and black color motif prototype opened) used 1a2 telephones with integrated paging during 1984 and 1985 store openings, and before that they used 1a2 phones with Aiphone intercoms.
It wasn’t until 1990, that TJ Maxx started rolling out the new Grey Norstar phones to new locations or remodeled stores.