Encyclopedia ofChicago
Entries : Goldblatt Bros. Inc.
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Goldblatt Bros. Inc.

 

 

 

Goldblatt Bros. Inc.

In 1905, Simon and Hannah Goldblatt moved with their children from Poland to Chicago. In 1914, two of their sons, Maurice and Nathan Goldblatt, opened a store at Chicago and Ashland Avenues, in a neighborhood that was then home to many Polish immigrants. Over the next 10 years, the firm's annual sales rose from about $15,000 to $1.4 million. As the operator of medium-size department stores that offered goods at low prices, Goldblatt Bros. prospered even during the Great Depression. By 1933, the company exceeded $20 million in annual sales, and owned five stores in Chicago, as well as stores in nearby Joliet, and Hammond, Indiana. Goldblatt's entered the city's high-rent retail district in 1936, when it opened a store on State Street. By the end of World War II, when younger brothers Louis and Joel Goldblatt began to lead the company, it had 15 stores and 2,500 employees. When the company's operations peaked in the 1970s, it had 47 stores, close to $250 million in annual sales, and about 8,000 employees in the Chicago area. Yet, the company was losing money quickly, having trouble competing with rival discount chains such as Kmart. After it entered bankruptcy, the chain was purchased in 1985 by JG Industries Inc. The flagship State Street store was purchased by DePaul University. By the 1990s, Goldblatt's was a chain of about 15 Chicago-area department stores, located mainly in the kind of low-income immigrant neighborhoods in which the company had started in the 1910s. In 2003, with only six stores remaining in Chicago, the company liquidated.