Detroit Landmarks . . .

And yes, some of these were landmarks elsewhere:)

Old-Line Retailers –

Arbor Drugs Arbor Drugs opened its doors in Troy in 1974, when founder Eugene
Applebaum combined several drug stores under the name. At the time, he owned a
handful of pharmacies, including one in Ann Arbor. Because the Ann Arbor store
was the best of the bunch, he decided to use the second half of the city’s name
for his business.


Atlas Beverage Company For more than 60 years, Atlas Beverage Company produced
carbonated beverages with names like Brownie Root Beer, Bulldog Ginger Beer,
Cheer-Up, V-Mix, and Golden & Pale Dry Ginger Ale. A Polish immigrant in
Hamtramck founded the company in 1929, and it closed in 1996.

Barthwell Drugs When the pharmacy where Sidney Barthwell was employed failed during the
Great Depression, Barthwell borrowed $500 from friends to open Barthwell Drugs
in 1933. Barthwell Drugs grew to become the largest chain of black-owned
drugstores in the United States, with a total of nine stores and three
ice-cream parlors. Although the chain no longer exists, the Barthwell legacy
remains in Detroit with the establishment the Sidney Barthwell Endowed
Scholarship at Wayne State Universitys College of Pharmacy.

Burroughs The Burroughs Adding Machine Company moved to Detroit in 1904 and was once the
largest adding-machine company in the United States. William Seward Burroughs
founded the company when he invented the Burroughs Registering Accountant in
the 1880s; it was the first practical adding-listing machine that printed
calculations on paper tapes. The company partnered with the Sperry Corporation
in the 80s and is now called Unisys. Although the company is now headquartered
in Blue Bell, N.Y. It currently still occupies the old Burroughs factory and
office space in Plymouth, Mich.

B.Siegel Company B. Siegel Company’s fine-clothing store in Detroit was
originally Heyns Bazaar, until Benjamin Siegel purchased it in the late 1800s
and changed the stores name. The Woodward Avenue shop was reputed to be the
finest and most complete suit and cloak store in America, until the company
filed for bankruptcy in 1981.

Crowley Milner and Company (Crowleys) When Detroit department store Partridge and
Blackwell was struggling to stay in business, the Crowley brothers stepped in
and took over. In the early 1900s, the store flourished by catering to the
city’s affluent clientele, but by the end of the century, Crowleys had bowed
out of the market!

Cunninghams Andrew Cunningham opened Cunninghams Drugs in 1889 and had 11 stores in
downtown Detroit when the company was purchased by Economical Drugs owner Nate
Shapero in 1931. Cunninghams was famous for its special promotions and used an
elephant symbol to represent their jumbo sodas, sundaes, and photo-print
services. The chains slogans included: Don’t say drug store “Just say
Cunninghams and We’re a drug store  and a whole lot more.”

Farmer Jack The story of Farmer Jack stores can be traced to 1924, when Russian
immigrant Tom Borman opened Tom’s Quality Meats in Detroit. Tom and his
brother, Al, ran grocery stores that were a metro Detroit staple, becoming
Farmer Jack in 1966. The last remaining Farmer Jack stores closed in 2007 (some
were converted to A&P’s), others are just empty shells of abandoned

Federals Steven West’s spans a range of endeavors, from writing five self-help books to
committing some major tax evasion. He’s perhaps best-known in the Detroit area
for (BURNING), taking over Federals department store in the late 70s. In 1980,
Federals dissolved.

F&M Phar-Mor, Drug Emporium, and F&M were once the most powerful bargain
drugstore chains in America. The industry was pioneered in Ferndale when Fred
and Margaret Cohen opened the first F&M in 1955. The Cohen’s business
strategy was selling brand-name products at bargain prices, relying on
word-of-mouth advertising, and banking on stock-up shopping popular in more
affluent areas. When the Cohen’s sold the business in 1977, their
9,000-square-foot store was grossing $13 million per year.

Fretters Ollie Fretter opened his first self-titled electronics store in Livonia in the
1950s. He may best be remembered for his commercials, in which he promised,
“I’ll give you five pounds of coffee if I can’t beat your best deal.”

Gantos Lebanese immigrant Theodore Gantos long dreamed of opening his own linen store,
and when the devastation of the Great Depression ended, he did just that. With
his wife, Haseebie, he opened the first Gantos store in Grand Rapids in 1932.
Over the next few decades, the store shifted gears to become a successful
women’s-wear boutique before going out of business in 2000.

Grinnell’s Pianos Once known as the largest piano factory on the earth, Grinnell’s Pianos
opened its doors in Holly, Mich., in 1913. The company lasted for nearly a
century, thanks in part to its quality pianos and to its consistent community
involvement hosting annual statewide music festivals.

Harmony House Carl Thom opened the first Harmony House music store in Hazel Park in
1947. Known for its superb selection of Detroit music, the chain grew to 38
stores before finally closing in 2002.

Highland Superstores In 1933, Harry Mondry founded the first Highland Appliance Store,
named for its location in Highland Park. The company had a dramatic rise and
fall in its time, expanding to three states before finally liquidating in 1993.

Himelhochs The first Himelhoch’s clothing store opened on Washington Boulevard in downtown
Detroit in 1907. Fifty years later, the chain had stretched across the country,
and even to Paris. But in 1977, the company filed for bankruptcy and closed.
Its original location on Washington has been preserved as a historic landmark.

Hudsons The J.L. Hudson Company was founded in 1881 by Joseph L. Hudson. The 29-story
flagship store, located at 1206 Woodward in downtown Detroit, was the worlds
tallest department store throughout most of the 20th century, with 706 fitting
rooms, 68 elevators, 51 display windows, five restaurants, a fine-art gallery,
and a wine department. After many changes in the retail sector, the chain was
eventually folded into Macys.

Hughes & Hatcher In 1910, Fred Hughes and Leslie Hatcher opened their clothing
store in downtown Detroit, and it soon became the top name in gentle men’s fine
apparel. Aside from its stupendously stylish suits, Hughes & Hatcher was
known for having the largest display windows in town.

Jacobson’s In 1838, the first Jacobson’s store opened in Reed City, Mich. The store
catered to the fashion needs of upscale Michigan clientele, and eventually
expanded to Florida and other states. The store is still profitable in Florida,
but the Michigan stores, after more than 150 years, remain closed.

Joshua Doore Furniture In 1973, Harvey Leach opened the doors to Joshua Doore and, for
years, drew in customers with the charming slogan “You’ve got an uncle in the
furniture business.” A few years later, amid the company’s transformation into
Uncle Robinson Furniture, Leach was found dead in the trunk of his car,
allegedly as a result of financial challenges.

Kern’s Where the Compuware building stands in downtown Detroit today once stood
another grand retailer of the city’s golden era, Kern’s Department Store.
Kern’s opened in 1900 and competed with J.L. Hudsons until closing in 1959.
After much restoration, the famous Kern’s clock was rededicated by Compuware in

Kinsel Drug Store The next time you need a remedy for a late-night cough, you can
thank Edward C. Kinsel, who opened Detroit’s first 24-hour drugstore. Kinsel’s
opened in 1894 and offered patrons everything from cold remedies to cold cuts.

Klines Eugene B. Kline founded Kline’s women’s fashion store in 1911. The chic-looking
store on Woodward Avenue was called the most modern store in the country in

Merchant of Vino Founded in 1974, Merchant of Vino was well known for its fine wine and
gourmet foods. Although Eddie Jonna eventually sold his popular chain to Whole
Foods Co., his sons Marc and Matthew picked up where their father left off,
opening the state-of-the-art Plum Markets now seen around metro Detroit.

New York Carpet World Marvin Berlin opened New York Carpet World in 1967. Along
with his partner, Irving Nusbaum, Berlin grew the chain to an impressive 250
stores in 17 states, including Michigan, making it the top source for household

Perrys Drug Store Jack A. Robinson founded the hugely successful Perry’s Drug Store
chain, which was taken over by Rite-Aid in the mid-90s. The first Perry’s store
opened in Pontiac in 1957, named for its location on Perry Street.

Pfeiffer Brewing Company Conrad Pfeiffer began brewing his own beer in 1882. His Art
Deco red-brick brewery was built between Beaufait and Bellevue avenues on the
east side of Detroit, complete with a stable and hospitality area that offered
tours, products for sale, and a beer garden. Pfeiffer Brewing Company began
producing its olive-drab cans with black lettering for the government during
World War II, soon after it began selling its yellow Johnny Fifer cans to the

R.H. Fyfe and Company Detroit was once home to the largest shoe store in the world.
Fyfe’s opened in 1865 and, by 1919, it had expanded to include 10 floors of
shoes and service areas, as well as a miniature-golf course. After closing, the
headquarters at Woodward and Adams was converted into residential lofts.

Sams Jams Opened in 1979, Sam’s Jams was a hip Ferndale record shop where customers
could always find rare and vintage tunes. Sam’s frequently hosted album
signings with popular and alternative bands of the day. But much to the dismay
of the local underground music community, Sam’s closed its doors in 1993.

Sanders Frederick Sanders opened his first retail shop in downtown Detroit on June 17,
1875. At one time, Sanders had over 57 stores around town selling an assortment
of candy, fudge toppings, and baked goods. Sanders sold his first Ice Cream
Soda in 1876, when he substituted ice cream for the sweet cream used in his
Sweet Cream Soda.

Sebastian S. Kresge/Kmart With his humble beginnings, historic philanthropist Sebastian
S. Kresge likely couldn’t have imagined that the city of Detroit would turn his
modest five-and-dime store into the gargantuan enterprise it became. S.S.
Kresge Co. opened in Detroit in 1899, and later expanded into Kmart
Corporation, before merging with Sears, Roebuck & Co.

Sibleys Shoes Aaron Ross and Norm Rosenfeld opened the first Sibley’s shoe store in
Detroit in 1920 and soon expanded to various locations throughout Michigan and
Ohio. Headquartered in the Fox Building and, for a time, the Renaissance
Center, the chain was finally dismantled in 2003.

Strohs In 1850, Bernhard Stroh established what would become a Detroit institution,
then referred to as Lions Head brewery. During Prohibition, the company stayed
afloat by producing ice cream and near beer and selling it in grocery stores
and ice-cream parlors (Stroh’s Ice Cream can still be found today). With its
headquarters at Grand Park Center near Grand Circus Park, Strohs was
family-owned and -operated for more than 145 years.

Thorn Apple Valley After miraculously escaping from a German concentration camp
during World War II , Henry Dorfman immigrated into the United States and
opened his own butcher shop in Detroit in 1949. The small company, originally
called Frederick Packing Company, expanded nationwide and was renamed Thorn
Apple Valley in 1984.

Towne Club In the mid 1960s, Harold Samhat began selling Towne Club soda at various
pop center around Detroit. Towne Club, sold in wooden crates with 24 glass
bottles in each, was more affordable than Coke or Pepsi and was famous for its
wide variety of flavors.

Twin Pines Dairy Farm It’s been a long time since fresh milk, cream, and cottage
cheese were delivered right to your milk chute, but for almost 20 years, Twin
Pines was perhaps Detroit’s finest creamery. Before the emergence of
convenience stores, Twin Pines was such a success that it even had its own
children’s television show, Milky’s Party Time, from 1950 to 1967.

Vernors Legend has it that Vernor’s ginger ale was created in 1866 when Detroit
pharmacist James Vernor returned home from the Civil War and found that the
syrup he’d created and stored for four years had transformed into a deliciously
different drink. Combined with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (preferably
Strohs), the distinctly Detroit soda created a Midwest delicacy: the Boston
cooler, believed to be named after Detroit’s Boston Boulevard.

Winkelmans The first Winkelman’s store was built in Detroit in 1928. The founders,
brothers Isadore and Leon Winkelman, were born and raised in the Upper
Peninsula, but fell in love with the city and stayed to open their successful
clothing stores.

Woolworths Perhaps the best-known of the old five-and-dimes was Woolworth’s, which expanded into a larger discount store chain and thrived for most of the 20th century. After the stores demise in the 80s, the company broke off into several parts, including a sportswear division now known as Foot Locker.

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