This discount chain, a veritable Windy City institution, was conceptualized by Nathaniel and Maurice Goldblatt, who opened a small mercantile in west side Chicago in 1914. The venture was a success and a second store was dedicated in 1927.
The stores prospered during the Great Depression, which provided the means for the Goldblatts to acquire several failing Chicagoland chains. The Lederer Comany, H.C. Stuvre and Field's Furniture were absorbed in 1929. Loren Miller & Company and Kaufman S. Wolf (of Hammond, Indiana) were bought in 1931. The Davis Store was acquired in 1936.
In the same year, a State Street flagship store was also established in "The Loop". The product line was expanded to include appliances, apparel, deli and confectionery items. An expansion into the Buffalo, New York market, in 1941, was not successful.
By 1946, there were fifteen Goldblatt's locations in five states. This number had increased to twenty by 1959, thirty by 1964 and forty-seven by the early 1970s. Stores encompassed between 40,000 and 167,000 square feet.
Family squabbles and bad business decisions had caused a downturn in the chain's fortunes by the late 1970s. This was exacerbated by competition from Kmart, Zayre, Target and Sears.
The company went through a bout with bankruptcy in 1981-1982. It was shuttered briefly, its operations reorganized, and business resumed with six stores. Profitability had returned by 1985 and three stores re-opened, along with the dedication of an all new location, in 1988.
By 1995, there were fourteen Goldblatt's outlets, but increasing competition, outmoded stores and changes in the retail business in general brought down the chain. Store closings were underway by the year 2000. In March 2003, the last seven locations were shuttered.
GOLDBLATT'S-ANCHORED SHOPPING MALLS:
*HILLSIDE CENTER, Village of Hillside, IL (1956)
*COUNTRY FAIR CENTER, Champaign, IL (1959)
*CENTURY MALL, Merrillville, IN (1979)