Posts Tagged ‘A&S’


Thursday, June 9th, 2011

Holiday Card 1904. Front Entrance


Abraham & Straus – Arial View – 1906

Founded in 1865 by Abraham Abraham and Joseph Wechsler in Brooklyn, New York, the company initially opened as Wechsler & Abraham on Fulton Street near Tillary. At this time, Brooklyn was a thriving community of its own; the Brooklyn Bridge had not yet been built. In the early 1880’s, the company bought and renovated an ornate cast iron building on Fulton between Hoyt Street and Gallatin Place. With continual expansion, the store eventually occupied the entire block. The building was equally ornate inside as depicted in some of the postcards shown below. A five-story courtyard with a skylight allowed daylight to show off the merchandise.  Abraham & Straus became the retail showplace in New York. The last major renovation was between 1928 and 1930 when the architects Starrett & Van Vleck designed the new building facing Fulton Street in Art Deco style. This store still stands today but is now a Macy’s.

In 1893, the Straus family along with Simon Rothschild bought out the Wechsler interest in the company and the store was renamed Abraham & Straus. The Straus family also had controlling interest in R.H. Macy & Company in New York. The two retailers were not combined but did maintain a common buying office in Europe. During the 1910s, the Straus family separated their interest in the two stores, with Abraham & Straus going to one branch of the family, and Macy’s to the other. In April, 1912, Isidor and Ida Straus went down with the Titanic.

In 1929, Abraham & Straus, Bloomingdale’s, Filene’s and Lazarus (along with its subsidiary, Shillito’s) merged to form Federated Department Stores. At this time, Federated was located in Columbus, Ohio but later moved to Cincinnati. The merger gave each division the strength to weather economic storms and also created buying clout in the U.S. and Europe.

Family members ran Abraham & Straus until 1955. Walter Rothschild was President and Chairman until 1955, and was succeeded by Sidney Solomon, the first non-family member to lead the company.

In 1950, the company purchased the Loeser’s store in Garden City and converted it to Abraham & Straus. In 1952, the company built its first suburban store in Hempstead. That store was expanded over the years until it exceeded 400,000 square feet. The company continued expansion with stores in Manhasset, Smithtown, Babylon (later replaced), Monmouth (NJ), Paramus (NJ), White Plains (NY), Short Hills (NJ), King of Prussia (PA), Willow Grove (PA), and Manhattan.

Under the leadership of Walter Rothschild and Sidney Solomon, Abraham & Straus was the powerhouse of Federated Department Stores. The division contributed more earnings per share than any other division. For years it was known as the training ground for merchants for the retail industry. Many of the top retail CEO’s came from the A& S training program.

Unfortunately, Abraham & Straus also became the funding source for Federated Department Store’s divisions in the Sunbelt (Bullock’s, Burdines, Sanger-Harris, and Rich’s). Eventually the Brooklyn market declined as did Hempstead and Babylon. The new management team relied on a strategy of opening new stores to grow their way out of the problems created by the declining markets. New stores were built in White Plains and Short Hills, but neither was an immediate success. Then, A&S made the disastrous decision to open stores in the Philadelphia market (Willow Grove and King of Prussia). These stores worsened the situation. As a final fiasco, the division opened a new store near Herald Square in NYC, a store that never could be profitable. On top of all this, a new centralized distribution center was opened, intended to reduce expenses and to increase the selling space in each store. Through management bungling, this operation became a major problem as shortage increased dramatically chain wide. In addition, costs were far above projections and merchandise got stalled in the pipeline.

Outside Porte Cochere. 1909

The Court, Silver Department, 1904

What happened???

Atop all the management mistakes in the late 1970’s and 1980’s, the final blow came when Campeau, the real estate developer, bought Federated Department Stores and combined it with Allied Stores. This led to the combination of A&S with Jordan Marsh (Boston), operating out of the Brooklyn headquarters. In 1994, Federated Department Stores purchased bankrupt R.H. Macy & Co and in 1995, combined A&S with the Macy’s New York division, converting stores to the Macy’s brand or other divisions of Federated.

I first saw Abraham & Straus in the late 1960’s when it was a powerhouse. I was working at Bullock’s in Los Angeles and was asked to visit with A&S to gather information on some of their personnel policies and procedures. I was impressed. The customer traffic was unbelievable. The fashion displays were incredible as the volume justified the costs. I joined A&S in 1976 and it was then on a fast downhill slide. Management’s response was to take the business upscale. This new direction worked in Manhasset, Smithtown, Paramus and the smaller Garden City store but in the other stores the new direction was a disaster. In Brooklyn, for example, we added a Pappagallo shop and put $12 million into an upscale renovation of the Brooklyn store when in fact all that sold in front of the store were Jellies and incense on cardboard boxes. The employees lost confidence in management as customers objected to the new higher priced merchandise. Unions started organizing attempts because of separation of the associates from management. One day over 6,000 people demonstrated in support of the unions in front of the Brooklyn store. The store also became a magnet for criminals. Organized gangs came into the store to steal merchandise. One Christmas Eve a gang came into the jewelry department during business hours, broke all the cases and stole the majority of the merchandise.

A&S Rotunda .. 1904

Picture Gallery. 1907

The postcard collection primarily shows the store pre-1930 when it was grand. Like all the other cards in the Plummer Collection, I ask that you do not reproduce or copy any of these postcards without gaining my written permission.

Grocery Department. 1904

Grocery Department in 1907

I trust that you will feel comfortable to leave your comments about your history with A&S, either as a customer or as an employee. We need to preserve this important part of retail history.

Straus Family Summer Home. View 1 . 1907

Straus Family Summer Home . View 2. 1907

Anniversary Day Parade . Prospect Park. 1907 . Pub by A&S

Lawn Tennis Prospect Park . 1905 . pub A&S


Sunday, February 6th, 2011

Besides the larger department stores in Southern California there were also smaller stores inside and outside  Los Angeles. These stores carved out specific niches. They are an important part of Southern California retail history.


Goodman’s was located at 7th & Hill Streets across from Bullock’s. It was founded by S. Goodman. It was also short-lived, operating from 1922 to 1923 and ending in a public dispute between the founder and the landlord. The building still stands and has been converted into loft apartments. You can still see the remains of the painted sign if you look from Broadway Street down 7th. The store featured four elevators and a food market in the basement.


One of Los Angeles’ oldest retail stores, Eastern-Columbia was founded in 1892 by Mr. Adolph Sieroty. There were two divisions: Eastern Outfitting Company and Columbia Outfitting Company. The Art Deco styled building was built in 1930 and designed by Claud Beelman.  The building still stands today as a landmark and has been converted into loft apartments. I was never brought to the store in Los Angeles and it closed before I started working in downtown Los Angeles. I had visited the Columbia Outfitters store in San Francisco before it closed.  

Eastern Columbia Stores and Headquarters Broadway Street LA



The Broadway Street store was opened in 1923. The facade was redone in 1933 in a Beaux Arts style. The first store was opened on Olivera Street in 1862. In 1921, Ralph R. Huesman purchased the store from the Desmond family and led the expansion of the retailer to several locations throughout the Southern California market. Other Desmond stores of architectural importance were built on Wilshire Blvd. and in Hollywood. The downtown Los Angeles building still stands. The first floor is for small retailers. The upper floors are still empty. Desmond’s, under new ownership, merged with Walker-Scott (San Diego) and K. Wolens (a Texas based specialty department store chain) in 1985.



The company was founded by William Mullen and Andrew Bluett in 1889. The first store was located at the Corner of First and Spring streets. In 1910 the store was relocated to the first two floors of the Story building at Broadway and Sixth Streets. Mullen and Bluett was a high-end clothing store with a focus on menswear.

Mullen & Bluett Los Angeles 1911




Mullen & Bluett 1920′s





Mullen & Bluett – Hollywood and Vine – Hollywood




Founded by Kentucky-born minister and entrepreneur B. F. Coulter in 1878, Coulter Dry Goods Co. was one of the pioneering businesses in downtown Los Angeles. Built on the corner of Temple and Main streets, the original 900-square-foot building contained just $1,000 worth of merchandise that originally was purchased in New York and shipped west.

With a business philosophy of providing exceptional quality items at a fair price, Coulter quickly distinguished his enterprise — which eventually changed names to Coulter’s Department Store — from competitors with his keen attention to customer service. Advertisements described Coulter’s as “the nicest store in Los Angeles.”Over the years, the store was moved several times, finding larger homes on Main, Spring, Broadway and Seventh streets before it relocated for the last time to the Miracle Mile section of Los Angeles.

Eventually, the L.A. business economy and consumer tastes changed and Coulter’s was purchased by The Broadway Department Store chain. The company’s final — and longest-held — location at 5600 Wilshire Blvd. was razed in the 1980s. It was a prime example of modern Art Deco design. Today the location is home to an upscale apartment complex. I did visit the store before it closed. It was not elegant, but it was clean, well merchandised, and had superior customer service…even though I could not afford to buy much.

Coulter’s LA on Broadway Street 1919

Coulter’s Broadway Street Store Tea Room 1920

Coulter’s New Store. Wilshire Blvd. 1950′s



Blackstone’s Dry Goods was founded in 1895 by Nathaniel Blackstone. He was the brother-in-law of J. W. Robinson, the founder of J.W. Robinson & Company/The Boston Store, and Blackstone had worked for him. The first store was located on Broadway between Third and Fourth Streets. In 1917 he moved the store to the corner of Broadway and Eighth Streets.

Blackstone’s Tea Room


Haggerty’s Downtown Los Angeles

Haggerty’s Pasadena Store

Haggerty’s Beverly Hills – 1957


Harris and Frank -Broadway Street – Los Angeles – 1920

Harris and Frank – Mens Furnishings Department

Harris and Frank – Hosiery and Neckwear Department

Harris and Frank – Youth Clothing Department

Harris and Frank – Youths Hat Department


For more information please see I. Magnin under Department Stores of Northern California.


 George Feagans and his partner, Mr. Brock founded Brock & Feagans on Broadway Street in Los Angeles. The elegant jewelry store opened its doors in 1882. The partnership dissolved in 1903 and the store closed. George Feagans then opened a new and even more elegant store in the famous Alexandria Hotel at 502 South Spring Street. The store was the gathering place for the richest and most famous. The hotel stands vacant now. The original Brock & Feagans building also still stands on Broadway Street.

Original Brock & Feagans – Broadway Street Los Angeles

Brock & Feagans Interior – Broadway – Los Angeles

Feagans Jewelers -Alexandria Hotel – Los Angeles

Feagans Jewelry at Alexandria Hotel – Los Angeles

Feagans Jewelry – Alexandria Hotel – Los Angeles -Approx 1910


Orbach’s, a well-known retailer of closeouts and seconds operating in New York, opened a Los Angeles office to buy goods for the New York stores as well as operate stores in the greater Los Angeles market. The Los Angeles buying office opened in 1945 and the first store was opened in 1948 on the Miracle Mile part of Wilshire Boulevard on the Mezzanine plus three floors in the Prudential Insurance Building. In 1953, they opened a branch store at Fifth and Broadway in downtown Los Angeles, That location did not do well as that area was starting to decline. The downtown store was closed in 1959. The Miracle Mile store was closed in 1965 and moved to the former Siebu store on Wilshire Boulevard at Fairfax. The company opened other stores in Los Cerritos Center (Cerritos), Del Amo Center (Torrance), La Mirada, and Panorama City. The ownership of Orbach’s transferred from the family to the Brenninkmeyer Company (AMCENA). In 1986, when Brenninkmeyer acquired the Howland Steinbach department store business from Supermarkets General, the decision was made to close the entire Orbach’s business, including the offices and stores in California. The former Siebu store which had been converted to Orbach’s on Wilshire Boulevard now houses the Petersen Automotive Museum.

The problem for Orbach’s was that it lost relevance as off-price stores expanded into the market and the quality of apparel increased at discount retailers. It also had a strange policy in never sharing product margins at the store level. People in the stores never felt engaged with the business.

As a competitor, Orbach’s had a bigger negative impact on May Company and The Broadway than it did on Bullock’s. Its sales really only impacted basic goods.

First LA Store on Wilshire in Prudential Building Across from Coulter’s  New Store on Wilshire in former Siebu Store at Wilshire and Fairfax


Barker Brothers was founded by Obadiah J. Barker, Jr. The first store opened in the early 1880’s on Spring Street. Later a major store was built on Broadway Street and it operated until 1927. In 1924, a ten story store was opened at the corner of 7th Street and Figueroa. This store was the largest home furnishings store in the U.S. and was grand in style. The entrance was designed in a Moroccan style. A pipe organ on the Mezzanine floor provided music for the store. There was a huge auditorium for the customers to learn about furniture and decorating. In addition, the restaurant was operated by Mary Louise, a famous tea room operator in Los Angeles. The company was the showcase for major as well as new, upcoming furniture designers. The sales force was known as aggressive in marketing to all the new housing developments. Barker Brothers grew as the population moved to suburbia. The company opened numerous stores all through out Southern California. In 1984, the downtown store closed. In 1992, the entire chain closed. The downtown store now houses a mixture of offices and lofts.

Barker Brothers was first incorporated in California but in 1924 it incorporated in Delaware. It was later bought by Gold’s and that family continued to operate the business. They were later acquired by Gamble-Skogmo. In 1960, Gold’s/Barker Brothers was acquired by City Products, an Ohio based ice delivery company on a drive to diversify. In 1965, Household Finance Corporation bought City Products in its attempt to diversify. They later sold Barker Brothers to a Wall Street investment group in 1984. That is when the downtown Los Angeles store was closed. Unfortunately, the company had too much debt to service along with too much competition while lacking management strength. Now, Levitz, Gold Key, and other discount retailers were taking away the mid-market customers and the designers on Robertson Boulevard were capturing the up-scale customers. There was little room for Barker Bros.For a period, Barker Brothers/Gold’s owned and operated the W. & J. Sloane furniture chain. Due to stiff competition they closed the California stores and sold the stores in the East to City Stores.

I visited the downtown Los Angeles several times just to look at the facilities and the merchandise. At the time, I was still living with hand-me-down furnishings so I could not afford to shop there. I did learn home furnishings taste by looking at the designer products. I also shopped the store as a competitor. The smaller suburban stores were not really exciting as they lacked the variety and the designer fashions in the main store. The suburban stores were much more like any upper moderate home furnishing store. 




Barker Brothers – Broadway Street – 1910





Barker Bros – New Store on 7th Street.




Barker Bros 7th Street Los Angeles   Barker Bros – 7th Street – Mary Louise Tea Room in Store


Barker Bros-Los Angeles-Annual Christmas Decorations

Barker Bros Downtown Los Angeles – Annual Christmas Tree Decor

Barkers Owned W.J. Sloan. This LA store was first closed.


The H. Jevene Company was founded by Hans Jevene in1882. It was known as the largest and best grocer in the West. The company operated retail, mail order, and home delivery services. I do not know the first location but the second location opened in 1896 at Spring and 2nd Streets. In 1907, it built its new store at 6th and Broadway Streets. The new store had the finest of grocery products on all six floors. The company reportedly closed in the late 1920’s after the founder died.



This home furnishings store was founded in 1906 on Main street in Los Angeles in the area known as the furniture district. Next door was another well-known furniture store, Dearden’s Home Furnishings (1909). Others nearby included: Heywood Bros. & Wakefield Company (circa 1899) and Hulse Bradford & Company (1901).

Overell’s Home Furnishings Main Street Los Angeles approx 1910


Tokyo’s Siebu store opened a branch in 1962 in a new and modern design at the corner of Wilshire and Fairfax, across the street from a highly successful May Company store. The store executives were surprised to see the poor quality of Japanese merchandise sold in the U.S. and felt there was an opportunity to expand with an offering of upscale goods. The first day, the store was jammed with 40,000 customers. The restaurant was also a success. Unfortunately, the store was not a long-term success and closed in 1964. Orbach’s took over the store in 1965. I visited the store with friends when I was in college. It was not a warm environment and I did not see anything of interest.

I do not have a postcard of the store when it was Siebu. There is a postcard of when it was Orbach’s. I suggest you look in the Orbach’s collection to see the store.



Hartfield’s was a chain of specialty retail store located in downtown shopping areas primarily in the West. The company was headquartered in downtown Los Angeles. In the late 50′s the company started Zody’s, a discount department store in Southern California. Then, the company was renamed Hartfield-Zody’s and went public in 1961. By 1960, the Hartfield’s chain consisted of over 50 specialty apparel stores (mostly in downtown shopping areas in the West) and 5 Zody’s. As downtown shopping districts declined, Hartfield’s stores closed. Eventually the company only operated Zody’s stores. By the early 80′s Zody’s was closed and the stores sold.

On the personal side, my father-in-law did the audits for Hartfield’s in the 1930′s. He often told me about the commitment the family had towards building a successful business.

I have not been able to find a postcard depicting a Hartsfield’s store.


The Walker Scott Department Store was founded in downtown San Diego in 1935. The store’s original owner, Ralf M. Walker, who already owned and ran Walker’s Department Store in Los Angeles, passed away in New York six weeks before the San Diego store’s opening. A former stock boy at the Los Angeles store, George A Scott, whom Mr. Walker had sent to the New York University of Retailing (1930), opened the San Diego store with Mr. Walker’s widow, Eliza Fitzgerald Walker. Eliza Walker became president of the company while Scott held the title of vice president. Walker’s Downtown store opened on October 3, 1935, situated on 5th and Broadway. It eventually expanded to eight stories, and held San Diego County’s first escalators.

The company merged with Desmond’s (Los Angeles) in 1985 which formed Wolens-Desmonds which operated Desmonds (Los Angeles), Walker-Scott ( San Diego), and K.Wolens (Texas).

Walker’s Later Walker Scott – San Diego




Walker’s Long Beach





Paris Walker New Store Los Angeles 1920′s





Paris Walker – Downtown Los Angeles on Broadway – 1920′s


Buffum’s was a chain of Long Beach, California based department stores founded in 1904 and for years owned and operated by the Buffum family. It grew slowly over the years to a total of 16 stores throughout Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. (Dorothy Chandler was a member of the Buffum family.)

Over the years, the stores gained a reputation as the “Grand Dame” of department stores in the area. The stores interiors were known for large chandeliers and other upscale touches. The chain marketed itself as “Buffum’s Specialty Store,” in attempt to differentiate itself from other local chains including The Broadway, Bullock’s, Robinson’s, and the May Company.. It’s most famous advertising line “I’ve been to Buffum’s” was used in their advertising.

Like other local department stores of the era, Buffum’s was challenged by old-fashioned business models, changing consumer, tastes and the arrival of Nordstrom. The chain was bought in the 1970s by the Australia-based Adelaide Steamship Company, which looked to sell the struggling chain in the 1980s. AdSteam never found a buyer and liquidated the chain in March 1991.

The original downtown Long Beach building was replaced in the 1980′s. Unfortunately, the new store did not make much of a difference as downtown Long Beach had seriously declined. The newer store has since been demolished but downtown Long Beach has made a significant comeback and is considered one of the desirable parts of Southern California





Buffum’s Santa Ana Store


The company was founded in 1925 at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and 3rd Street. It was the first store in the West side of the L.A. basin. The store always appealed to the value-oriented customer. The building was damaged in the Northridge earthquake. It closed in the 1980’s. Much of the building currently houses a Toys R Us store. A new shopping center was located nearby which ended the reign of Henshey’s.


Marston was a department store based in San Diego founded by George Marston.  The store was founded in 1878, and moved several times before moving into its longtime flagship store on C Street, between Fifth and Sixth in downtown San Diego.  In 1960, Marston was acquired by Broadway-Hale. The flagship store was demolished. George Marston’s success was his ability to develop strong relationships with key vendors so he had the merchandise on an exclusive basis. For example, Marston’s was the key retailer for Gustov Stickley furniture. Mr. Marston was a politician and a philanthropist. His home is now a museum in San Diego with an incredible collection of Gustov Stickley furniture. The store Marston’s downtown store has since been demolished with the building of Horton Plaza.





Marston’s – San Diego Downtown Store – 1920′s


Federated Department Stores started a new division in the 1960’s to capture small markets. The company saw the opportunity to become the dominant player in small cities (under 100,000) by acquiring local department stores and folding them into this new chain with merchandising and operating strengths. A management team was installed at the new headquarters in California and Federated started acquiring chains such as Halliburton’s in Oklahoma City, Levy’s in Tucson (1960) and others. It quickly realized that this new division was not providing the returns of the growth divisions. Plus, the settlement with the Justice Department after the acquisition of Bullocks-Magnin curtailed Federated’s ability to acquire more department store chains. The division was closed, a smart move as the department store chains they were targeting were downtown stores. Even in small cities, the retail centers were moving outside of downtown. Individual stores were sold to Dillard’s in 1971. (Keep in mind, at this time J.C. Penney, Sears Roebuck, and Monkey Wards which all had stores in downtown markets, were developing strategies to close these downtown stores and locate them in suburban strip centers and malls.)


The Harris Company was a retail corporation, based in San Bernardino that operated stores named Harris’.  Brothers Philip, Arthur, and Herman Harris started the company with a small dry goods store in 1905, and the company eventually grew to nine large department stores, with stores in San Bernardino, Riverside and Kern counties.

The chain was acquired by Gottschalks in 1998. After the acquisition, some of the stores continued to operate under the name Harris Gottschalks. In January, 2009, Gottschalks filed for bankruptcy, and on March 31 announced they were liquidating all stores. All of the original Harris stores were finally closed in July, 2009.





Harris Company – San Bernardino – 1935





Harris Company – San Bernardino – 1944





Harris Company – Riverside – 1960′s


Rouses was founded by Gaylord Rouse in 1895, after first owning stores in Philadelphia, Santa Barbara, and Antioch. He opened his first store in Riverside which targeted a broad audience. Mr. Rouse died in 1923.  In 1925 the store was expanded and remodeled. The store continued in operation until 1964 when the company closed in bankruptcy. Competition from other major department stores became too great. By then Harris’, The Broadway, and May Company Southern California had moved into the market.


Rouses – Riverside, Ca – 1948

Rouses – Riverside, Ca – 1935 – Main Aisle

Rouses – Riverside, Ca – 1935 – Men’s Clothing/Furnishings


George W. Reynolds Department Store – Riverside, Ca – 1925

* * * * *


Yamato Store – Broadway Street – Los Angeles – 1911

Yamato – Los Angeles – Tea Garden – 1911


Innes Shoe – Downtown Los Angeles


California Furniture Company – Los Angeles – approx 1900


Wood Bros Spring Street Los Angeles approx 1900

Mosgroves Los Angeles Spring Street approx 1900


The company operated stores in Los Angeles on Wilshire Blvd, in Pasadena, Hollywood, and in Fresno, California. These stores offered better women’s apparel. The company closed in the late 1950′s.

Wilshire Boulevard – Los Angeles – 1952

Wilshire Blvd – Los Angeles – 1952

Fresno, Ca Store, 1937

Myer Siegel 1926

Myer Siegel 1926


Fosgate’s Fountain and Confectionery Broadway Street LA approx 1910

Fosgate’s Fountain 4th and Broadway Los Angeles approx 1910


Metropolitan Barber Shop Spring near Broadway Los Angeles approx 1910


Christopher’s on Broadway near 7th Los Angeles approx 1920′s


Redlick’s Department Store Bakersfield, Ca 1919


Brock’s Department Store Bakersfield, Ca. 1950′s


Donovan & Seamans Jewelers Broadway Street Los Angles approx 1920


This wonderful jeweler was later sold to Dayton Hudson Jewelers.

Jessop & Sons Jewelers – San Diego


Ernsting Jewelers Downtown San Diego


The Elite Caterers and Confectioners – Broadway – Los Angeles – 1926


Z.L.PARMELEE COMPANY 2nd & Broadway Los Angeles approx 1900


The Wardrobe Company Santa Barbara approx 1910




New Jersery Department Stores – Newark – Hahne & Company

Monday, January 10th, 2011


Downtown Newark 1905

Hahne and Company was founded in 1858 by Julius Hahne. The first store was a specialty store and later grew into an up-scale department store known for catering to the carriage trade and for friendly service.

In 1906 a new store was built on Broad Street in downtown Newark. The 441,000 square foot building had four floors plus a basement. An atrium in the center of the building allowed sunlight into all the floors to compensate for the lack of good electrical lighting.)

To the delight of the children, the basement had a merry-go-round. The Toy department was also located in the basement along with Housewares, Small Electrics, Sporting Goods, Luggage, Televisions, and the Budget Store.

The store had two restaurants. The Pine Room, a wood paneled fine dining area on the street level, was formal and until the late 1970’s had a dress code for patrons.  The Maple Room, located in the basement and offering counter service, appealed to downtown workers. It closed in the 1980’s when the basement selling floor was closed.

In 1929, the company opened the first suburban store in Montclair, New Jersey. Later, suburban stores were opened in Westfield, Livingston, Monmouth, Quaker Bridge, Woodbridge, and Rockaway.

Hahne and Company was a founding member of Associated Dry Goods when the company formed in 1916. Other founding members included: H.B. Clafin & Co (NYC), Lord & Taylor (NYC), Stewart & Co (Baltimore), Heneger’s (Buffalo), and J.N. Adam & Co. (Buffalo). This grouping of companies helped each division secure needed financing and also helped combine buying power.

What happened????     The company became too focused on its downtown store in Newark. As a result, when the Newark retail market declined in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the business did not stand out in the New Jersey market. A&S, Lord & Taylor, and Bloomingdale’s moved into the better suburban markets in New Jersey and left little room for Hahne’s. In 1986, the parent, Associated Dry Goods, was sold to The May Company Department Stores. The downtown store closed in 1987 and the corporate headquarters were moved to the newly acquired store in Paramus. Since there was not much difference between a Hahne’s store and the May Company’s Lord & Taylor division, the decision was made to close the Hahne’s stores and replace some with Lord & Taylor stores.

In the late 1970’s while working for A&S, I visited many of the Hahne’s stores. One of my colleagues from Bullock’s had also joined the company. I found the stores to be wonderful up-scale stores with excellent customer service. However, the stores were never full of customers and you could see the facilities were in need of new investment.

Hahne & Co – 1906

Hahne & Co – 1906

Hahne & Co. – 1907

50th Anniversary – 1908

Golden Jubilee/50th Anniversary – 1908

Hahne & Co – 1910

Hahne & Co – Inside Atrium – 1910

Hahne & Co. – Santa Greetings – 1906

NOTE: These postcards are part of the Plummer Collection. You will need permission from John Plummer at Plummer & Associates to reprint or copy any of these postcards.

Happy Holidays from Plummer & Associates

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010


Plummer & Associates, Inc.
P.O. Box 607
New Canaan, Connecticut 06840
(800) 603 9981

Happy Holidays!

At this time of year we all think of our relationships, friends and family. We also like to review our successes and seek areas for improvement.

2010 has been a better year for all of us involved in retail. Although the economy has a long way to go to fully recover, there are significant signs of improvement indicating that the consumer is spending more. That bodes well for all of us!

At Plummer & Associates our commitment is to do a better job than we have before. During the deepest part of the recession, we spent time re-thinking our business model and how we serve our clients. We have always been proud of our success in recruiting top candidates who excelled with our clients, but we challenged ourselves to work more efficiently and at less expense to our clients. We as a team are proud of what we have accomplished.

We have now added a blog to our website: Currently this blog covers topics related to talent development and information for candidates. In January, as part of our contribution to the retail industry, the blog will cover the evolution of downtown retailers for the prime period from 1880 to 1960. Our first blog will cover the stores of Southern California and the second will cover Northern California. Over time, we will cover all states and provinces in North America, utilizing our collection of over 10,000 retail store postcards.

For now, we thank you for our relationship and want you to know that we are honored to work with you. We trust we have earned your respect so that we may continue this relationship in 2011.

We wish you the best for the holidays and look forward to being in touch in the New Year.

John Plummer
Susan Gill
Heidi Plummer
Dina Lokets
Kathy Brooke
And the Plummer & Associates Team

P.S. The Santa buttons above are from our collection representing retail stores in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the U.K.


Monday, December 13th, 2010

In January, 2011, we will launch our blog which will show the history of retailing in downtown North America. We will employ our collection of over 10,000 postcards of these famous stores. Our purpose is to bring to life these Grand Dames that existed in major metropolitan areas as well as in small town America. We also want to make this interactive so customers and associates of these retailers can memorialize their thoughts in the Comments Section for the Blog.

Our first series will be about the stores in Southern California. We will feature Los Angeles stores such as Goodman’s Department Stores, Coulter’s, Hamburger’s, May Company, Broadway, Bullock’s, Bullock’s Wilshire, I Magnin & Co, Desmond’s, Mullen & Bluett, and others. San Diego stores will be Marsten’s and Walker-Scott. Harris Stores in San Bernardino is another.

The second series will cover Northern California. This will include San Francisco Bay Area stores such as: City of Paris, White House, Gump’s, Emporium, Capwell’s, Kahn’s, Rhodes, Hale Stores and more. The Sacramento store, Weinstock-Lubin, and the Fresno’s Gottschalk’s will be included.

During the year we will continue to post blogs on other states and provinces in North America.

Collecting the postcards for these Grand Dames has been enormously satisfying. I don’t want this important part of retail history to be forgotten. I hope you will have as much fun reviewing this collection and adding your comments and memories of these institutions in the Comments/Leave A Reply section below. If you have postcards of any of these stores which are different from my collection I would be honored to have the opportunity to post your card on the Blog.

Elmira, New York

Note: Elmira, New York, like most small towns has variety (five & dime) stores next to local department stores. Sometimes they also had a chain department store such as J.C. Penney, Sears, and/or Montgomery Ward. The variety stores always had excellent real estate in the busiest part of downtown. The local department store catered to both value-oriented and upscale customers with their good, better, and best merchandising program. The rest of the stores included a local drug store, a millinery store, a gift store, a hardware store, an automotive tire & battery store, a cinema/theatre, a candy/soda fountain, a cigar/tobacco/news store, a feed/farm store, a cafeteria, auto dealerships, a barber shop, and a restaurant or two. Of course, there was always a grocery store.

Downtown areas in major metropolitain areas were different as the stores were bigger. Department stores were what we today would call a shopping center. They were large and catered to different customers (budget, moderate, and luxury).