Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sam Klein Company

January 2, 1958 Sam Klein newspaper ad
1963 Sam Klein logo
While writing about Kline's Department Store a few weeks ago, I was reminded how as a kid I was confused by the fact that there were two stores in Lorain with soundalike names: Kline's and Sam Klein. And although we shopped at Kline's, I don't remember ever going into the Sam Klein store. I guess it was because it was a men's clothing store and not one of my mother's regular stops on the Saturday morning Downtown Lorain shopping jaunt.

Anyway, here's an article (below) that provides a nice history of the beginnings of the Sam Klein Company. As opposed to Kline's, which was part of a national chain, Sam Klein was just one store – and one of the oldest businesses in Lorain.

The article appeared in the Lorain Journal on June 21, 1958.

Sam Klein Established In 1880's

The Sam Klein Company, 425 Broadway, was established by Sam Klein in a small frame structure 64 years ago on North Broadway where most of the business district was located in the late 1800's.

The company claims it is the oldest men's store in the city in years and the youngest in appearance and merchandising of latest styles for men and boys.

Julius Klein, the present owner and no relation to the founder, purchased the company in 1927 when the business was carried on in about 2,000 square feet of space. There were only two employes then.

As the community grew and the demand for more and better clothing increased, the Sam Klein Company expanded and remodeled with the times.

The store, one of the finest dealing in men's and boy's wear in the states, now occupies more than 4,500 square feet and has 10 employes.

In 1953, and expansion program resulted in an increase of 33 percent in selling space. The latest open visual displays were installed to permit customers complete access to merchandise for easier selection.

A modern store front was built, air conditioning was installed and new lighting, floor covering and store fixtures were added.

The owner had two sons, Warren and Allan, who are associated with him in the management of the store.

As the article indicated, Sam Klein moved his business around a bit in the early years. The 1891 city directory had the company listed as being located above 59 Broadway. The next available book (1898-99) had the business at 311 Broadway.

I'm not sure when Sam Klein actually closed. Its location at 425 Broadway is now a parking lot next to the Driscol Music Company, and the clothing store is just one more fading memory in the mind of aging Lorainites.

If anyone out there remembers the store and/or ever shopped there, be sure to leave a comment.


-Alan D Hopewell said...

I remember Sam Klein! When I was in junior high, all the cool guys bought their dress clothes and accessories at Sam Klein's and Ted Jacobs'. Silk socks, Ban-Lon shirts, ties and other neckwear, that's where you got 'em, if you wanted to count.

Anonymous said...

Chuck Short - Jackson MI
They moved to the Midway Mall sometime in the 70's or 80's. My dad used to buy his suites at Sam Kleins. I actually bought my graduation suite there (LC class of 80).

Anonymous said...

We were Harry's Mens Wear Shoppers on special occasions. I also remember Louis Cohns Kohns?. That is alot of mens wear for one downtown.

Bill Fedor said...

Warren Klein took over the store and his brother bowed out. Warren opened a store out by Midway Mall, in the strip mall on the other side of the overpass and was there for a number of years. He had two sons, Johnathan and David, and lived in Vermilion. My son went to school with them. Johnathan got cancer and passed away while in college in Pennsylvania, and David passed away about 4 or 5 years later. I don't know what from. The death of both of his sons let the air out of Warren and he was never the same again. He sold the store shortly after his last son passed away and I haven't heard of him since.

Anonymous said...

Chuck Short - Jackson MI

Hi Bill, I saw your name and was curious, are you the Bill Fedor of USS and Super Steel? If so, I met you a long time ago at a SSTC golf outing. Hope you are doing well.

Wireless.Phil said...

PBS tonight, Finding your roots.
Singer Carol King was on, they went back through her family, they were too poor and had no way to support themselves and were to be sent back to Russia just after 1905 made Jews equal. The antisemitism brought them here.

Just then, a man named Sam Kline came forward and saved them form being sent back.

But the show's host couldn't find who Sam Kline was?

I wondered if there was a possible connection and tried unsuccessfully to contact the show.

My comments wouldn't go through.

If you get this, good luck,


Robin Bring said...

in the mid-1950's, my dad was a new accountant at National Tube. He was 6'!" and weighed all of 126 pounds. He bought all his suits at Sam Klein's because they could fit him and alter his suits perfectly. Dad liked to dress well. It was a joke about his back pockets almost meeting. My special memories include going to Sam Klein's on a Saturday or after work to shop or pick up a suit. Sam Klein would always call my dad when new merchandise arrived that would fill my dad's needs. Service like that is hard to come by today. I loved my early years in Lorain -- it hurts seeing the city today. Back in the 1950's, it was a snapshot of a great American city.

Robin Bring
Eatonton Georgia