Hahne and Company

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Hahne & Company
Industry retail
Fate Merged into Lord and Taylor
Successors Lord and Taylor
Founded 1858
Defunct 1988
Headquarters Newark, NJ until 1987
Edison, NJ 1987 to 1989
Key people Julius Hahne, Alan Kane
Products Clothing, footwear, jewelry, furniture, bedding, beauty products.
Parent Associated Dry Goods, May Company.

Hahne & Company (pronounced Hayne) commonly known as Hahne's, was an upscale department store chain based in Newark, New Jersey. The chain had stores located throughout the central and northern areas of New Jersey.

History[edit]

Flagship store (above center) was located across from Military Park

The firm was founded by Julius Hahne in 1858 as a specialty store which by the early 20th century had grown into a full-line department store. The store's motto was "The Store With The Friendly Spirit", and it became known as the "carriage trade" store in Newark, NJ.

In 1911, a modern flagship store designed by architect Goldwin Starrett was opened at 609 Broad Street in downtown Newark.[1][2] Occupying a 23-acre (93,000 m2) site, this single building contained 441,000 square feet (41,000 m2) of selling space spread over five floors (basement through 4th floor), with an atrium in the center of the building which ran from the street floor to the 4th floor. An extensive Budget Store operated in the basement level until it was folded in the mid 1970s. The store also contained two popular dining rooms, the more formal "Pine Room" located on the street floor, and the counter-style "Maple Room" (located in the basement), which was very popular with downtown office workers. The "Maple Room" closed in the early 1980s when the basement level was closed as a selling floor, while the "Pine Room" remained open until the entire store was closed in 1987.

In 1916, Hahne's became one of the founding members of the Associated Dry Goods Corporation (ADG).

In 1929, Hahne's was the first of Newark's department stores to open a branch on Church Street in Montclair, NJ.

Suburban growth[edit]

Starting in the 1950s, the company began to focus slowly on suburban growth. The Montclair store was replaced with a larger full-line branch, designed by Fellheimer & Wagner, with Roland Wank, and the original location became Hahne's Budget Store. In 1963, a location in Westfield was added. The firm did not enter the growing mall market in New Jersey until the 1970s, and this cost the chain valuable time in keeping up with its competitors.

Hahne's remained too focused on its Newark Store in the 1960s. The Montclair store was built too small to be a true department store, and management was so pressed for selling space in Montclair that it had to take Christmas decorations for the Montclair Store to the Newark Store to store them there. Although the Westfield store was attractive, Hahne's lacked the customer base to compete with the nearby Lord and Taylor in Millburn, Saks Fifth Avenue in Springfield, and Bonwit Teller, B. Altman & Co and Bloomingdale's in Short Hills.

Newark declined badly in the 1960s and 70's and the store, with most of its sales volume coming from the one Newark store, went down with it. The Newark store lacked parking, and was in a location that suburban shoppers felt was unsafe. Alan Kane had some good ideas but they were too little and too late to save the chain. The stores below that Alan started are still Lord and Taylor stores or are being operated by the chains that bought them, but the three that he inherited are all gone except for Westfield.

During the course of the 1970s and 1980s, the chain attempted to reach out to a broader shopper demographic with mixed results. In 1978, parent ADG appointed Alan Kane, a graduate of Wharton School of Business, as CEO of Hahne & Company. Kane oversaw the planning and opening of two new locations (Woodbridge Center and Rockaway Townsquare), and he steered the company toward a more focused, upper-market clientele. The Livingston Mall location was branded the companies "flagship" during this time.

Reorganization[edit]

In mid-1986 Hahne & Co. announced a major reorganization that would see not only the downtown Newark location close, but the corporate offices would leave Newark as well. ADG acquired the large Gimbels location at the Garden State Plaza, with plans to use two floors for Hahne's first location in Bergen County, and the lower level as Hahne's new corporate offices. Shorty after this plan was announced, ADG was sold to the May Company, and per May Co's policy, major plans are put on hold until May's officers can review the details. After a review by May, the Newark store was closed in 1987 and later the same year a two-level location opened in the former Gimbels Garden State Plaza location. Hahne's offices were relocated to leased space in Woodbridge, NJ, near the companies distribution center that opened in 1985. Due to very restrictive blue laws, Paramus is not an ideal location for offices that need to run even in a limited capacity on Sundays.

In late 1986, ADG was sold to the May Department Stores Company. May first considered running Hahne's as a more moderate-focused chain to compete with Macy's, but Kane left the store after it was decided to take the company more down-market. It didn't make sense for ADG to run two stores with identical formats in the same market. One could not tell a Hahne's from a Lord and Taylor if they were standing in one. By 1988, May had decided to convert most of the Hahne locations to Lord and Taylor stores.[3][4]

Former buildings[edit]

In 2007, the architecturally significant 1951 Montclair store was replaced by a new development housing condominiums known as Siena At Montclair.

In January 2013 it was announced that the Newark flagship store would be renovated with a "Whole Foods" on the ground floor and residential units above.[5][6][7]

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Store Vitamins (company newsletter 1950 - 1973)
  • Hahnegram (company newsletter 1976 - 1986)
  • Associated Dry Goods Corporation, Annual Report: 1979 (This annual report spotlighted the new Woodbridge Center store and the many innovations planned by CEO Alan Kane)

External links[edit]