Archive for July, 2010

But where did it all begin?

Posted by    |    July 31st, 2010 at 11:40 am

Jewish immigrants at the port of Galveston

If we focus only on the history of Dallas retail from a Dallas perspective, we are blasting right past the fascinating roots of retail in Texas and, more broadly, the United States.

Many of the iconic pioneers of  Dallas retailing, after all, were not natives of Texas or even America. They were born in Europe to immigrant parents and only became part of the fabric of Dallas retail after years of living and working in different parts of the state and country.

It is interesting to note that some of the most well-known and influential Dallas retailing families were of Jewish descent.  The Marcus, Sanger, Hrris, Linz, Kahn and Volk families belonged to a group of Jewish merchants active in the cultural, economic, and political development of Dallas.

According to materials gathered and published in the Handbook of Texas Online (Handbook), “Jews have been part of the warp and woof of the Lone Star State since the period of Spanish Texas.”

Prior to 1821, Texas was a Spanish colony “where only Catholics could take up residence.”  If you were an openly practicing Jew, you could not legally live in the state.  But the earliest Jewish immigrants to Texas soon planted roots in places like the Brazos River (Samual Isaacks) and East Texas (N. Adolphus Sterne), and by 1838, outposts including Velasco, Bolivar, San Antonio, Galveston, Goliad and Nacogdoches were home to many early Texas Jews.

(more…)

When Downtown Was the Place to Be

Posted by    |    July 28th, 2010 at 9:20 am

Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, retail establishments in Dallas were located mainly in the downtown central business district, along Main, Elm, St. Paul, Austin, and Lamar Streets.  The real estate mostly encompassed large, multi-story buildings with street front parking.

Early examples in Dallas include Sanger Brothers Dry Goods, Titche-Goettinger, A. Harris & Company, Volk Brothers and others. 

(more…)

The Birth of Convenience

Posted by    |    July 26th, 2010 at 8:03 am

In my last blog, I discussed the early days of retail and shopping in Dallas by describing the beginnings of our beloved Neiman Marcus, an event that set the stage for high-fashion retailing in the city and really helped paint an image of Dallas as a fashion-forward shopping mecca.

Today, I am swinging in a completely different retail direction.  If we were to follow a historical timeline of major events in Dallas retail history, this event follows the founding of Neiman Marcus, and it kicked off a completely new type of retail type and location:  the convenience store.

(more…)

Dallas…Born to Shop!

Posted by    |    July 23rd, 2010 at 9:27 am

Having worked in retail real estate in Dallas for over, ummm, well, lots of years, I am amazed at the rich history of the area’s retail and shopping communities.  Dallas, after all, was settled in 1841 by John Neely Bryan as a trading post, and if that’s not a sign that Dallas was born to be a shopping mecca, I don’t know what is.

(more…)