The Age of the Downtown Department Store

July 24, 2012 46 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

Before shopping malls took over the Jacksonville region, downtown's streets were once lined with grand department stores. In honor of the upcoming 100 year anniversary of the Cohen Brother's St. James Building (now city hall), and with our second book currently in production, Metro Jacksonville takes a look at a few retailing landmarks from yesteryear and encourages our readers to share their memories of a retail era gone bye.

Furchgott's of Florida

Women waiting outside Furchgott's in 1949. Photo by Jack Spottswood. Courtesy of State Archives of Florida, Florida Memory,

Like Cohen Brothers, Furchgott's was a long time Jacksonville institution.  Established in 1868 by Leo Furchgott, the department store constructed its 70,000 square foot flagship five story store at the intersection of Adams and Hogan Streets in 1941.  According to Furchgott's executives, the store was a "scientifically-designed" structure, specially created for the customer's shopping pleasure and convenience.  During the 1980s, the Furchgott's chain fell into bankruptcy.  In June 1984, after 43 years of serving downtown Jacksonville at 130 Adams Street, Furchgott's closed their downtown flagship store.  In early 1985, it appeared that Jacksonville-based Stein Mart would purchase the chain's remaining suburban locations.  However, the deal would fall apart as a result of Regency Square Mall's management refusing to allow Stein Mart to become a part of their tenant mix.  Thus the entire chain ceased operations in May 1985.

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