The 100-year historical past of B. Siegel is one other nice success story of Jewish immigrants in Detroit.
I lately wrote in regards to the well-known Himelhoch clothes retailer in Detroit. Whereas there have been many, many Jewish retailers within the metropolis over the previous century, there was one other girls’s clothes retailer in the identical elite league as Himelhoch’s: B. Siegel’s.
B. Siegel is talked about in 407 pages of the Detroit Jewish Chronicle and the JN on the William Davidson Digital Archive of Jewish Historical past in Detroit. The truth is, the “ads” of the shop will be discovered within the first problems with the Chronicle. I discovered it fascinating that as a substitute of images of garments, sneakers or different merchandise, these advertisements had been mini-essays, written to offer the reader with the explanation why one ought to store at B. Siegel.
For instance, think about the ethical of the advert for Chronicle July 13, 1917. It begins with an “overheard dialog” about Siegel’s after which: “The girl who involves B. Siegel Co.’s has additionally realized that model is an important factor and that it’s all the time mixed with care excessive in materials choice … “
The shop’s founder, Ben Siegel, was born in Germany in 1861 and immigrated to Selma, Alabama, in 1876. There he realized about retail advertising and marketing. Siegel moved to Detroit in 1881, the place he bought the Heyn’s Bazaar on Woodward Avenue. It modified the shop’s title to Siegel’s Cloaks, Fits and Furs, claiming it was “the best and most complete capes and fits retailer in america.”
In 1904, B. Seigel’s moved right into a cast-iron-fronted construction on Woodward and State Avenue, close to JL Hudson and Himelhoch’s. That very same 12 months, Ben married Sophie Siegel (her final title was additionally Siegel). Aunt Sophie “doesn’t shrink violet,” recounted nephew Marty Mayer in a narrative in regards to the household within the August 25, 1998, subject of JN. He even taught him how you can cube and play poker! She was additionally a revered neighborhood chief.
The truth is, the Siegels had been big supporters of the Detroit Jewish neighborhood. Writer Philip Slomovitz wrote in regards to the influence of the Siegels within the April three, 1981 subject of the JN. Together with participation and beneficiant donations to varied organizations, Ben was deeply concerned in combating the antisemitism of Henry Ford and Father Coughlin. Even after Sophie handed away in 1955, her good work continued: She donated the Siegel mansion in Detroit’s Boston Edison district to the Interfaith Roundtable of Higher Detroit. It was the house of that group till 1997.
Ben ran B. Siegel’s till 1931. After his retirement, his nephew Leo served as CEO till 1947. Throughout Ben’s period, B. Siegel’s was closed on Shabbat; his successors closed the shop on Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah. He additionally received used to giving new child infants a free pair of sneakers. Ben died in 1936.
Ultimately B. Siegel grew to eight areas. His retailer in Livernois and Seven Mile helped give that space its nickname: “Avenue of Style.” Sadly, like Himelhoch’s and different shops, B. Siegel’s couldn’t survive the drastic financial modifications that occurred in Metro Detroit. The chain closed its doorways in 1981.
The 100-year historical past of B. Siegel is one other nice success story of Jewish immigrants in Detroit. Many consumers nonetheless miss the “the place vogue reigns” retailer.
Need to study extra? Go to the archives of the DJN Basis, accessible without spending a dime at www.djnfoundation.org.