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LEVY AND STEARN

LEVY AND STEARN, a company that specialized in women's apparel and toys, was established in 1862 when Isaac Levy and Abraham Stearn opened a toy and novelty store on Superior Ave. near W. 9th St. Business grew rapidly and it became the leading toy store in the region. When Levy left the firm in 1895, it became Stearn & Co. and moved to a new location on Euclid Ave. That year it introduced a line of women's clothing. Incorporated as the Stearn Co. in 1914, the firm moved to larger quarters at 1021 Euclid Ave., discontinuing its wholesale furniture and novelty departments in order to specialize in women's apparel and toys. By 1936 it dealt solely in women's clothing.

In 1946 Stearn was purchased by the Lane Bryant Co. of New York, the nation's foremost retailer of women's special-size apparel. However, Stearn retained its name until 1950 when Lane Bryant reorganized the store as its 10th branch with about 250 employees. In 1965 the company moved its Cleveland downtown store into the renovated Taylor Bldg. (see WM. TAYLOR SON & CO.) at 696 Euclid Ave. Although Lane Bryant had 8 stores in the Cleveland area by 1970 and continued to expand nationally and locally, its profits remained static and in 1982 the $370 million business was sold to The Limited, Inc. of Columbus. Lane Bryant operated as a division of The Limited with 4 stores in Cleveland until 1983, when its downtown store became part of the corporation's new Sizes Unlimited, a chain of off-price stores for large women. The downtown store closed its doors on 23 July 1988.


Mahoney, Tom. Fifty Years of Lane Bryant (1951).