Sunday, June 21, 2009

Department Store Building of the Week, Vol. 31

In addition to Penn Traffic, noted in Vol. 30, Johnstown's other major department store was Glosser Bros. As noted in "Johnstown, Pennsylvania: A History, Part One, 1890-1936" by Randy G. Whittle, Wolf Glotzer immigrated to the U.S. in 1903 from Russia and was soon joined in Johnstown by his son Nathan. The name became Anglicized to Glosser and Nathan opened a men's store and cleaners that made enough money to quickly bring the entire family over. This was a late start for an Eastern department store family. Glosser's occupied the brick building on the corner as well as the five-story building to its left.

By the post-World War I era, the store had expanded into a full department store, including a full grocery business -- which Glosser's maintained into the 1960s at least, far after most department stores had left the food business. (El Corte Ingles in Spain still runs full-line groceries in many of its department stores.) David Glosser was a well-known philanthropist in Johnstown. Glosser's soldiered on into the late 1980s, by which time its major emphasis had become its Gee Bee discount stores, which eventually were sold to the Value City chain.
The building on Locust St. at upper left is the Johnstown Tribune-Democrat. There was a third Johnstown department store, Kline's, that made it into the 1960s, but I am not sure exactly which building it was on Main Street.