FRIES & SCHUELE CO., one of Cleveland's pioneer dry goods stores, was also the west side's oldest department store. The original company was founded in Apr. 1868 when Charles Fries and George Klein opened a dry goods store at 515 Pearl (W. 25th) St. Throughout its history, the department store occupied the same block across the street from the WEST SIDE MARKET, although it moved, expanded and renovated several times. Fries, Klein & Co. specialized in custom-made carpets, curtains, and draperies, becoming Fries, Klein & Hoover when Charles Hoover joined the venture. By 1879 both Klein and Hoover had died, and store clerk, Christian Schuele, became a partner in the newly named Fries & Schuele. As the store continued to expand and prosper, the company incorporated in 1909 and built a new 5-story building on the site. Its proximity to the new West Side Market House, which opened in 1912, greatly benefited the store, which offered a wide range of merchandise in addition to its profitable carpet and drapery installation business. In the mid-1920s the Fries family sold its interest in the store, but the descendants of Christian Schuele continued to operate the business. Although the company had 150 employees by 1968, within 10 years the store could no longer compete with discount stores, and many of its customers had moved to the SUBURBS. George Schuele, executive vice-president, closed the store on 13 Jan. 1979.
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