Best & Co.
|Headquarters||New York, New York|
|Key people||Albert Best, founder|
|Products||Women's and children's fashion apparel|
The first incarnation of Best & Co., was founded in 1879, in New York City by Albert Best, as the Liliputian Bazaar. It initially focused on babies and children outfitting, but later expanded to women's clothing and accessories. It was known for its "tastefully styled and proper women's clothes and its sturdy children's wear." Philip Le Boutillier served as president during the late-1930s. In 1966, the company was acquired by McCrory's, who also operated Lerner Shops and S. Klein. In late-1970, McCrory's liquidated the company. At the time of its closing, it employed 1,200.
The flagship was located originally in the "Ladies' Mile" near Sixth Avenue and 23rd Street. In 1908, Best & Co. purchased for $500,000 the former Engineer's Club at 372 Fifth Avenue at 35th Street for a new store, joining an elite group of merchants to locate in that section of Fifth Avenue in the early 1900s, including B. Altman, Gorham, and Tiffany's. This limestone building later became the Bond Clothing Stores flagship when Best moved farther up the avenue, and was later converted to apartments. Its final 12-story flagship store was located at Fifth Avenue and 51st Street, next to St. Patrick's Cathedral. It was acquired by the company in 1944, from the Union Club. After it closed in late-1970, the beautiful white marble building was torn down and the Olympic Tower was built in its place.
Best and Co., was also in the forefront of opening stores in upscale suburban areas long before its competitors. It opened its first branch locations in the late 1920s - early 1930s, in Manhasset, Long Island (1928); Mamaroneck, New York (1930); East Orange, New Jersey (1930); and Jenkintown, Pennsylvania (1936, closed 1937). By 1938, when it opened its initial Washington, D.C. store at 4433 Connecticut Ave., NW, it had branches operating in suburban New York, Cleveland, Detroit, Boston, and Philadelphia During the late 1940s-early 1950s a branch location opened at Arlington Blvd. and So. Glebe Road, in Arlington, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D.C. In 1955, the main Washington D.C. store moved to new quarters; a 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2) store at 4020 Wisconsin Ave., NW. In 1966, when Ira Guilden was elected chairman, 20 branch locations were in operation. When the chain closed in late-1970, there were 12 branch stores in operation. Despite the new owners liquidating the company in late 1970, a new store was planned, built, and fixtured as an out parcel to the upscale Fashion Center in Paramus, New Jersey. This store also featured a new script logo for the company, and sat empty for a couple of years until a Britt's store opened using all the fixtures, and displays originally intended for Best and Co.
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In 1997, Susie Hilfiger purchased an existing children’s boutique in Greenwich, Connecticut. She renamed it Best & Co. and expanded the Greenwich location to create a flagship store to sell children’s clothing and accessories. In 2001, Best & Co. returned to New York City, with a boutique located on the 7th floor of Bergdorf Goodman. In addition to its two retail stores website, and catalogue, Best & Co. hosted trunk shows throughout the United States. In 2007, FAO Schwarz/DE Shaw purchased the company. And in late 2009, the company was purchased by Best & Co. llc.
- "Bumper-to-Bumper for Bargains at Best's," by William H. Jones, The Washington Post, Times Herald, Oct 7, 1970, p. B1.
- "BEST & CO. IN FIFTH AVENUE.; Concern Will Retain Its 23d Street Store and Open Another," New York Times, Sep 16, 1908, p. 9.
- Paratis Group, 372 Fifth Avenue: SoHo in Midtown, History webpage (accessed Sep 16, 2008).
- "BEST & CO. BUILD NEW 5TH AVE. STORE; Plans 12-Story Building for Post-War Home on Site of Old Union Club Quarters," New York Times, Dec 22, 1944, p. 21.
- "Fifth Avenue to Greenwich". Time Magazine. 1932-04-04. Retrieved 2008-08-09.
- "Best's Opens Branch Stores on Conn. Ave.", The Washington Post, Sep 16, 1938, p. X16.
- "Best & Co. to Locate at New Site", The Washington Post and Times Herald, Jun 19, 1955, p. X16.
- "Ira Guilden Elected to Chairmanship of Best & Co.; BEST & CO. ELECTS A NEW CHAIRMAN," New York Times, Apr 13, 1966, p. 55.
- "Best & Co. to Close Two Area Outlets", The Washington Post, Times Herald, Oct 4, 1970, p. 29.