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.