9. Abraham and Straus (A&S)
Once based in Brooklyn, Abraham and Straus (A&S) was a major New York City department store chain founded under the original name Weschler & Abraham in 1865 by Joseph Wechsler and Abraham Abraham. The company’s first store opened at 285 Fulton Street with Weschler and Abraham contributing $5,000 each for the purchase. In 1893, the Straus family, who were partnered with Macy’s department stores, bought out Weschler’s interest in the company and renamed it A&S. In 1929, A&S became part of the holding company Federated Department Stores, which helped to oversee daily operations. Over the course of the 1900s, and particularly after the end of World War II, A&S grew rapidly and expanded throughout the New York City Metropolitan Area.
A&S’s 841,000-square-foot flagship store was located in the Fulton Street Mall. The flagship store went on to make mannequin modeling famous during the mid-1970s by using young models selected from high schools across Brooklyn and Manhattan. Each mannequin model would pose for an hour at a time in the store’s windows wearing designer clothes and current fashion creations by Nik Nik and Pierre Cardin. Eventually, out of safety concerns due to large crowds, the models were moved inside the stores.
In 1994, Federated Department Stores acquired the R.H. Macy & Company and later dropped the Abraham & Straus name in favor of using the more widely known name Macy’s. All A&S locations were converted into other brands by April 30, with most becoming Macy’s or Sterns; another became a Bloomingdale’s, and another sold to Sears. Today, A&S’s former flagship store now serves as the second-largest Macy’s in New York City.