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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

COWELL AND HUBBARD CO.

COWELL AND HUBBARD CO.

COWELL AND HUBBARD CO. is Cleveland's oldest jewelry store. The firm started in 1861 when Geo. Cowell and his son, Herbert, took control of the silversmith shop of Royal Cowles, which had opened in 1849 under the Weddell House at Superior Ave. and Bank (W. 6th) St. H. Cowell & Co. sold clocks, watches, silverware, lamps, fine jewelry, and notions. By 1877 George was dead and Herbert's brother, Samuel Cowell, operated the store. Two years later Addison T. Hubbard, a jewelry salesman, joined the firm, which then became Cowell & Hubbard. In the meantime, the store had expanded on Superior Ave. Addison Hubbard made the company an important jewelry store; he was one of the first in Cleveland to recognize the commercial drift toward Euclid Ave. In 1894, the year it was incorporated, Cowell & Hubbard moved into the 1st floor of the new Garfield Bldg. at Euclid Ave. and Bond (E. 9th) St. This store was hailed as one of the finest jewelry stores west of New York City. Following the eastward trend, the store moved into its own building at 1305 Euclid Ave. near E. 13th St. in 1920, where it employed 75 people.

In 1964 the Philadelphia jewelry firm of Bailey, Banks & Biddle acquired controlling interest in Cowell & Hubbard. Soon after, the Zale Corp., one of America's largest retail jewelers, purchased the Philadelphia firm. Under Zale, Cowell & Hubbard became a multimillion dollar corporation as it expanded and built branch stores. By the late 1970s, it had 10 stores in northern Ohio. In Jan. 1981 Zale closed Cowell & Hubbard's main jewelry store in downtown Cleveland because of security problems, high overhead costs, and the general decline in retail business. Cowell & Hubbard then concentrated on its 9 suburban stores.


Cowell and Hubbard Co. Records, WRHS.