Monday, January 14, 2013

History of Kline's - Part 4

Kline's – 1955
It was 1955 when Kline's celebrated the 42nd anniversary of its Lorain store by enlarging and remodeling it.

Here's the story explaining it all, which ran on September 22, 1955 in the Lorain Journal. The article includes a listing of some of the longtime employees (including my grandmother), and also provides a description of the store's layout, which I'm sure is familiar to many of you who shopped there.

The story contains one statement that doesn't ring true, however. It implies that the 1924 Lorain tornado was the reason for the store's 1928 move to more spacious quarters. As Part 2 of this blog's series on Kline's explained, the popular store needed more space.

(By the way, the day before I typed up this post, the spouse and I were watching some DVDs of past season Mad Men episodes. In one episode, a secretary made reference to shopping at Kline's (in New York City). I wonder how much of the show's audience had ever heard of Kline's?)

Official Opening Tomorrow, Saturday
Kline's To Celebrate Anniversary

Kline's department store, 610 Broadway, will celebrate the 42nd anniversary of its founding in Lorain and the official opening of its newly enlarged and remodeled store Friday and Saturday.

H. B. WEINTRAUB, manager of the store for many years, invites the public to see the gleaming, new, modern store front on Broadway and new look throughout the interior.

Weintrab, a member of the Lorain school board and a leader in civic, welfare and social activities for a number of years, said:

"The shoppers have got to see our store and walk through it to appreciate the money, time and effort expended to make it one of the finest appearing and most convenient to shop in."

The original Kline store was founded in Lorain in 1913. It was located in the Victory Building, 710 Broadway, until after the tornado on June 28, 1924, when it moved to its present location.

THE COMPANY, headed by Jacob Kline, of New York City, now operates branch stores in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Wisconsin and Iowa. Three other stores in Ohio are in Marion, Dover and Newark.

Extensive improvements of the Lorain store include spacious new aluminum entrance doors on Broadway, addition of a new touch to the Sixth Street entrance, moving of the center stairway on the main floor to the right of the main entrance and the enlargement of the fashion departments.

THE SIXTH STREET entrance, closed in the past, has been opened to serve shoppers who park their cars in side street parking areas.

The men's and boy's departments have been combined on the main floor and a new shoe department is now located on the downstairs floor instead of on the main floor.

The fashion departments in the rear of the main floor have been greatly enlarged to facilitate a more attractive showing of larger selections of coats, suits, dresses and furs. The Boy and Girl Scout headquarters have been rearranged on the downstairs floor.

The women's sportswear department had been enlarged in the center of the main floor.

Weintraub said the infants' and girls' wear departments are located in spacious quarters on the downstairs floor where there are attractive displays in apparel selections for tots to teens.

THE CURTAIN and drapery department has been completely modernized and there is a larger and more complete selection of blankets, bed spreads, table coverings, linen and yard goods in store for shoppers.

The extension of the main floor six feet beyond the old front line and moving of the center stairway has increased the size of the store by more than 600 square feet.

Long time employes, departments they head and years of service follow:

LELA CALDWELL, main aisle, 26; John Tomka, men's wear, 25; Freda Brady, domestics, 25; Clarice Manning, coats, suits and furs, 21; Regina Donahue, shoes, 19; Mabel Kennington, infants' and children's wear, 19; Eva Washtak, lingerie and foundations, 15; Rita Novak, dresses, 14.

The Kline department store main office is in New York City where the firm maintains its own staff of alert buyers and stylists. Executive vice president is Edward Kline, of New York City.

Warehouses and shipping facilities are located in New York City and Joliet, Ill.

THE KLINE ORGANIZATION has opened three new stores during the last year and has steadlily improved and modernized existing operations.

Weintraub was named "Man of the Year" in 1940 and 1950. He is a past president of the Lions, Lorain Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Retail Merchants Association and the Lorain Community Chest.

He has been active for many years in the Boy Scouts of America, fund raising efforts of St. Joseph Hospital, work among the blind in Lorain county and numerous other projects.

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