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Herpolsheimer's was a department store company in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A. which began in the late 1800s and there was an additional location acquired from Wurzburg's in Wyoming, MI opened in 1974 and another store named Hardy-Herpolsheimer's in Muskegon, Michigan, which was later assumed into the Muskegon Mall in 1976.[1][2][3]

In 1987, the two Herpolsheimer's stores in Grand Rapids, at that time part of Allied Stores' Block unit, were sold to Federated Department Stores and adopted the name Lazarus.[4] Starting in 1985, the downtown store was also reduced in size, with part of it operating as a shopping mall called City Center. City Center closed in 1994 after most of its shops closed.[5]

During the pre-Christmas shopping period, Herpolsheimer's operated the "Santa Express" miniature train on a monorail suspended from the ceiling of the basement in its downtown Grand Rapids store.[6] The train is now located at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.[7]

Herpolsheimer's was also featured in The Polar Express movie from 2004. The film's "Hero Boy" has a picture from Herpolsheimer's of himself ripping the fake beard off the store's Santa Claus. Later, as the boy is riding the train to the North Pole, the "Know-It-All kid" exclaims "Hey Herpolsheimer's! Herpolsheimer's!" as the train passes the store in what is presumably downtown Grand Rapids. The children aboard the train admire the store's window displays as they pass, with the hero boy scoffing at an obviously animatronic Santa placing presents in one display.

Notable employees[edit]


  1. ^ "Founded on actual merit and drama". Furniture Record and Journal. 67-68: 126. 1933. Retrieved July 9, 2011.
  2. ^ "The men's furnishings department at Herpolsheimer's in Grand Rapids, does..." Department Store Economist. Vol. 15. Chilton Company. 1952. p. 112. Retrieved July 9, 2011.
  3. ^ "Avisco Glo-Plush advertisement". Life. September 17, 1956. p. 184. Retrieved July 9, 2011.
  4. ^ "Federated Buys Stores". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Associated Press. April 28, 1987. Retrieved July 9, 2011.
  5. ^ "Can Grand Rapids get more retail downtown?". WZZM 13. Retrieved 3 December 2014.
  6. ^ Rademacher, Tom (January 22, 2009). "Museum seeks memories of Herpolsheimer's train to help with restoration project". The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved July 9, 2011.
  7. ^ Priest, Tim. "Preservation: Herpolsheimer's Train". Grand Rapids Public Museum. Archived from the original on February 3, 2011. Retrieved July 9, 2011.
  8. ^ Haraburda, Scott S. (2013). Christian Controversies: Seeking the Truth. Meaningful Publications. pp. 50–53. ISBN 978-0-9886072-0-0.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 42°57′49.2″N 85°40′07.5″W / 42.963667°N 85.668750°W / 42.963667; -85.668750

"Official Polar Express Movie Site". Retrieved December 24, 2011.