Wednesday, January 9, 2013

History of Kline's - Part 1

Kline's original Lorain store
(courtesy Black River Historical Society)
As I mentioned yesterday, the Kline's Department Store in Lorain was not only part of a national chain, but was the very first store in the chain (outside of its Pennsylvania and East Coast roots).

The Lorain store opened in 1913 and was originally located at 710 Broadway (see photo at left).

I was unable to determine the exact date that the store opened, but the earliest ad that I was able to locate ran in The Lorain Times-Herald on Friday, November 7, 1913. The boxed ad (which was all type with no illustrations) explained that since there were 17 Kline's stores, they bought in large quantities and thus were able to give their customers the full benefit of that buying power. A typeset list of items for sale and prices followed.

After more than a decade at 710 Broadway, the popular store moved to more spacious quarters at 610 - 614 Broadway in November 1928.

Here's an article (below) that appeared in The Lorain Times Herald at the time of that 1928 move that explains the history of the company.

Now, Great Chain Including Lorain Department Store, Reaches From Coast to Coast

The first Kline Brothers' store was opened more than 54 years ago in Philadelphia, and since that time, the organization has grown by leaps and bounds until now it ranks among the biggest and best department stores in the country.

Little did Herman Kline think when he opened that store in Philadelphia in 1874 that it would be the first of a mighty chain reaching from the East Coast to the Mississippi river.

Soon after opening the store in Philadelphia, Kline was greeted with the happy realization that it was a huge success, and a short time later, stores were opened in Allentown, Reading, Altoona and Faston, Pa., and all were successful from the start.

The business was then taken over by his four sons – Nathan, Ignatz, Henry and Charles, who further contributed to the growth of the chain and many stores were added throughout the eastern states.

The third generation of Klines, the present proprietor opened their first western store in Lorain at 710 Broadway. Since the opening of the Lorain unit in the big chain of stores, 26 new stores have been added throughout middle west in the states of Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin. New stores are constantly being added to the chain.

There is also a decided contrast in the buying facilities of the first Kline store and the great chain of Kline department stores of today. The founder purchased in small quantities when he made his seasonal trips to New York and other markets.

1928 Logo
Today Klines maintain New York offices in spacious quarters. Here a large efficient staff of skilled buyers are constantly combing the markets of the world for merchandise to supply the needs of thousands of Kline patrons.

Klines today have a tremendous buying power, running into millions of dollars annually. They buy direct from mill and manufacturer, eliminating the middleman's profit, it is said.

Many officials of the Kline company in addition to store managers will be in Lorain Thursday for the formal opening of the new store. Among them will be Jacob Kline, William Katzinger, general district manager; Larry Hersch, general merchandise manager; William Rivits and Fred Miller of the shoe department, and scores of Kline store managers from all sections of the country.


Ken said...

You gotta love a guy that names his son Ignatz.

Dan Brady said...

Must have been a fan of those old Krazy Kat cartoons!