Franklin Simon & Co.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Industry Retail
Fate Bankruptcy
Founded 1902
Defunct 1979
Headquarters New York, New York
Key people
Franklin Simon, founder
Products Fashion apparel, shoes, accessories, and cosmetics.
Parent City Stores Company

Franklin Simon & Co. was a department store chain specializing in women's fashions and furnishing based in New York City. The store was conceived as a collection of specialty shops rather than a traditional U.S. dry goods store. Each "shop" had a specialty product line, such as ready-to-wear apparel for women, misses, girls, boys, men, young men and infants.[1] When the chain closed in 1979, there were 42 stores. [2]


The chain was founded in February 1902, as Franklin Simon Specialty Shops by Franklin Simon (1865-1934) and his business partner Herman A. Flurscheim.[3] Leroy C. Palmer became president of the company in 1934 at the death of Franklin Simon, and Benjamin Goldstein was the head of Franklin Simon until 1963. The store's concept was "to import much of his merchandise [from Europe] with a view to selling the imported goods as cheaply, if possible, as the domestic."[4]

In 1936, the chain was purchased by Atlas Corporation from the Simon family for $2 million.[5] In 1945, Franklin Simon & Co. was acquired by City Stores Company of Philadelphia. Oppenheim Collins & Company, Inc merged with Franklin Simon, but the two chains continued to operate under separate trade names and as separate divisions under the newly formed City Specialty Stores. In 1961/1962, City Stores changed the name of the Oppenheim Collins & Co. stores to Franklin Simon. City Stores filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 1979. Under the reorganization plan, City Stores closed the 42 Franklin Simon stores.[2]

In 1993, Dover Books on Costume reissued the "Franklin Simon Fashion Catalog for 1923".[6]

Flagship store[edit]

The main store was established in 1903, at 414 Fifth Avenue at 38th Street, the former home of Mrs. Orme Wilson, sister of John Jacob Astor. It was the first big Fifth Avenue store above 34th Street. The store closed in 1977.[7] A 280,000-square-foot (26,000 m2) building st 19th and Broadway, built in 1868-1877 as Arnold Constable Dry Goods Store, later became its flagship, and of W. & J. Sloane, another subsidiary of City Stores.

Branch stores[edit]

In 1932, Franklin Simon & Co. opened its first branch store in Greenwich, Connecticut.[8] Other early branch locations were at Westport, Connecticut, on the Boston Post Road, near the intersection of South Compo Road, and Manhasset, New York (on Long Island). There were also stores in the Highland Plaza shopping center in Memphis, TN, Green Acres Mall in Valley Stream, New York, the Cross County Shopping Center in Yonkers, New York, Central Avenue in East Orange, New Jersey, and the Livingston Mall, in Livingston, New Jersey. Founder Franklin Simon also operated a resort shop at Palm Beach, Florida in 1932. Branch stores also operated in the Buffalo, New York area.[9] When the chain closed in 1979, there were 42 stores.[2]


  1. ^ Franklin Simon & Co., 2003 photograph of fading outdoor sign at 16 W. 38th Street, New York, with company history. (retrieved Sep 1, 2008).
  2. ^ a b c CSS Industries, Inc. - Company history (retrieved Sep 1, 2008.
  3. ^ "H.A. Flurscheim Dies.". New York Times. August 20, 1914. Pioneer Dry Goods Merchant and Art Collector Was 63 Years Old. Flurscheim wed Miss Bella Goldsmith, of this city, in 1876. She died four years ago leaving five children who now survive him. They are Mrs. Ansel Strauss, Mrs. Otto Loeb, Mrs. Harry Cowen and Bernard and Harry Flurscheim. 
  4. ^ "Franklin Simon". New York Times. October 5, 1934. Against a great name in the mercantile history of New York "the fatal asterisk of death is set." The long and successful business career of Franklin Simon, from its humble beginnings up, was marked by keen intelligence, persistent enterprise and absolute integrity. 
  5. ^ "Storekeeping Atlas," TIME Magazine, Oct. 12, 1936 (retrieved Sep 1, 2008).
  6. ^ link for 1923 Franklin Simon catalog (retrieved Sep 1, 2008). Archived April 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ Trager, James (2004) The New York Chronology: The Ultimate Compendium of Events, People, and Anecdotes from the Dutch to the Present, HarperCollins (p. 736). ISBN 978-0-06-074062-7
  8. ^ "Fifth Avenue to Greenwich". Time Magazine. 1932-04-04. Retrieved 2008-08-09. 
  9. ^ Rizzo, Michael F. (2007) Nine Nine Eight: The Glory Days of Buffalo Shopping Lulu Enterprises, Inc.; Morrisville, North Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4303-1386-1.

External links[edit]