Issac, Louis, and Benjamin Stern, the sons of German Jewish immigrants, founded Stern Brothers in 1867 — selling dry goods in Buffalo, New York. Building up their reputation and finances, the brothers were able to relocate to New York City in 1868, where they opened a one-story store at 367 Sixth Avenue. Changing locations, the company finally settled in a new structure erected at 110 West 23rd Street, which would become its flagship store in 1878. Designed by Henry Fernbach, the six-story building was constructed in the Renaissance Revival style. During the early years, the company was a family business, and the brothers were often found greeting customers as they entered. Growing increasingly popular, Stern Brothers moved into a new nine-story flagship store near Fifth Avenue and West 42nd Street in 1913.
However, by the 1950s and 1960s, sales began to decline as more New Yorkers moved to the suburbs, prompting Stern’s to close its flagship store in 1969 and move its corporate headquarters to the Bergen Mall in Paramus, New Jersey. After its move to New Jersey, Stern’s purchased various new locations within the state and even opened a full-line store in the Woodbridge Center Mall in 1971. Stern’s would come back to New York City in 1994, taking over Abraham & Straus’ Manhattan Mall location. Even so, by 2001, its owner Federated Department Stores closed its Stern’s division and most of its locations were immediately converted into Macy’s. The remainder were liquidated or converted into Bloomingdale’s.
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