Tribute to Tom Thomas, Owner of Ram’s Horn, Rochester Hills

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To friends, family, and anyone that met him, Tom George Thomas was more than an average guy. Born in Detroit, Michigan on June 12, 1928 to two Greek Nationals, Thomas learned to “seize the day” from an early age. When he was only nine years old, Thomas was spotted jumping off the Belle Isle Bridge into the Detroit River to join his older brother Manuel who was swimming across the channel. He was mentioned by name in Neil Shine’s famous book about a family growing up in Detroit during the … [Read more...]

New York Carpet World

Marvin Berlin opened New York Carpet World in 1967. Along with his partner, Irving Nusbaum, Berlin grew the chain to an impressive 250 stores in 17 states, including Michigan, making it the top source for household flooring. Harry Levine added; "I worked for this company for 6 years and have been in the flooring industry for 40 years. My family was in the flooring business since the late 40′s. “New York Carpet World” was started as “New York Linolieum” , a small store on Haper … [Read more...]

The History of Kern’s Department Store

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The Ernst Kern Dry Good Company, was a department store established in Detroit in 1883. In 1886, the original store was consumed by fire and was rebuilt at Randolph and Monroe. In 1900, the company purchased a five story building at Woodward and Gratiot to accommodate increasing business. After World War I, additional space was once again needed for expansion, and the department store acquired the adjoining nine-story Weber Building. In 1929, the store was demolished and a new store was erected. … [Read more...]

Joshua Doore Furniture

In 1973, Harvey Leach opened the doors to Joshua Doore and, for years, drew in customers with the charming slogan “You’ve got an uncle in the furniture business.” A few years later, amid the company’s transformation into Uncle Robinson Furniture, Leach was found dead in the trunk of his car, allegedly as a result of financial challenges. … [Read more...]

A Look Back at Gantos

Lebanese immigrant Theodore Gantos long dreamed of opening his own linen store, and when the devastation of the Great Depression ended, he did just that. With his wife, Haseebie, he opened the first Gantos store in Grand Rapids in 1932. Over the next few decades, the store shifted gears to become a successful women’s-wear boutique before going out of business in 2000. … [Read more...]

Grinnell’s Pianos

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Once known as the largest piano factory on the earth, Grinnell’s Pianos opened its doors in Holly, Michigan, in 1913. The company lasted for nearly a century, thanks in part to its quality pianos and to its consistent community involvement hosting annual statewide music festivals. … [Read more...]

Hughes & Hatcher

In 1910, Fred Hughes and Leslie Hatcher opened their clothing store in downtown Detroit, and it soon became the top name in gentlemen’s fine apparel. Aside from its stupendously stylish suits, Hughes & Hatcher was known for having the largest display windows in town. More about Hughes and Hatcher here http://fadeddetroit.blogspot.com/2004/11/hughes-and-hatcher.html?m=1 … [Read more...]

Highland Superstores

In 1933, Harry Mondry founded the first Highland Appliance Store, named for its location in Highland Park.  The company had a dramatic rise and fall in its time, expanding to three states before finally liquidating in 1993. … [Read more...]

The History of Farmer Jack

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The story of Farmer Jack stores can be traced to 1924, when Russian immigrant Tom Borman opened Tom’s Quality Meats in Detroit.  Tom and his brother, Al, ran grocery stores that were a metro Detroit staple, becoming Farmer Jack in 1966.  The last remaining Farmer Jack stores closed in 2007 (some were converted to A&P’s), some were taken over by Hollywood Markets, and others are just empty shells of abandoned buildings.  … [Read more...]

The History of Himelhochs

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The first Himelhoch’s clothing store opened on Washington Boulevard in downtown Detroit in 1907. Fifty years later, the chain had stretched across the country, and even to Paris. But in 1977, the company filed for bankruptcy and closed. Its original location on Washington has been preserved as a historic landmark. … [Read more...]