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Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Shopping at Albert Steiger, Inc.

On this blog entry from last year about Springfield’s Forbes & Wallace department store, a commenter expressed an interest in seeing some photos of the other great family store of that city, Steiger’s.

Still unable to find my own photo of the distinctive Art Deco style building that once stood on Main Street in Springfield, here is one from Albert Steiger, Inc., published in a Springfield Sunday Republican special section on the 100th anniversary of Steiger’s, in April 1993.

The original Steiger's building in Springfield. From a postcard on the Image Museum website.

Albert E. Steiger, an emigrant from Germany, founded his first store in Port Chester, New York in 1893. Around the turn of the century, he expanded his stores to Holyoke, Fall River, New Bedford, and Springfield, Massachusetts. A store in Hartford, Connecticut followed in 1918. Eventually, all the stores except Springfield, Holyoke, and Hartford were sold, the latter sold in 1962. A store in Longmeadow, Mass. was opened, and on the occasion of its centennial, some 10 stores made up the chain as rented property in malls rather than freestanding downtown stores. The year following its centennial in 1993, Steiger’s closed its stores and went out of business.

Rather than being a department store in the manner of Forbes & Wallace or Hartford’s G. Fox, Steiger’s was predominantly men’s and ladies’ apparel. It was estimated that 85 percent of the shoppers were women. The downtown Springfield store is remembered for its Colonial Tea Room. The shopper’s lunch include soup and an entrée for 45 cents in the 1940s, most of their clientele the white-gloved ladies who lunched as part of their shopping trip.

Several generations of the Steiger family participated in the business, and several generations of customers shopped there.

If you’re one of them, let us know.


AdamH said...

Loved shopping at Steiger's. The downtown Springfield one was connected to Baystate West by an airwalk over Main Street, and that was just the coolest thing. In 1992, I got my first real job, and bought myself a nice Cross fountain pen at the Holyoke store. Their stuff was nice.

My family recycled Christmas boxes for years, and for years our favorite ones were the Steiger's ones from the 60s with gaudy awul starbursts. :)

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Welcome, Adam, thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your Steiger's memories with us. I remember the airwalk, and I know what you mean about reusing the distinctive store boxes. Those were great. Just the boxes themselves were the like the ghost of Christmas Past.

Jennifer Ziemba said...

Hello...I am just starting a blog of my own. I am new to all of this. But I was thrilled to see your blog post of Stieger's. I wanted to feature a picture of a hatbox and hat with the original receipt that I just became owner of. Your blog gave me some nice points that I would like to use for my own post. Will that be OK? I will add a link to your post for readers to follow. Thank you. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Jacqueline T Lynch said...

Welcome, Jennifer. You are welcome to quote from the Steiger's post, and I appreciate your offer of link to my blog.

Good luck with your new blog. I'll look forward to reading it.

Anonymous said...

My mother grew up in Holyoke. As a child in the 70s and 80s, my grandmother used to fly down to the DC area to stay with us for Christmas every year. Every year we all received the nicest clothes from her in beautiful Steiger's boxes. How I'd love to have a few of those boxes now!

Fred said...

If anyone is interested in some boxes, bags, and cups from Steiger's, I have some stuff that I want to get rid of. Feel free to email me: FGosiewski@aol.

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