The on-line museum of North America's independent department stores. The museum holds all sorts of information about classic department stores which either no longer exist, or are changed beyond recognition. A few of them are still with us, and provide an interesting connection to North America's retail past. The others are presented so that they may be properly remembered as a tangible part of the lives of their customers, shopping destinations where memories were often made.
My parents and I used to shop the Downtown & Regency Square locations of May Cohen's when I was a child. It was sad to see the downtown location of it, Sears Roebuck & Furchgott's of Florida (i heard it pronounced Furtch-got's) close as the malls started opening up or expanding in the various suburbs during the 1970s. The downdown Jacksonville location still exists. Recently it was completely renovated and now houses the City offices. At least it is useful again. It's a beautiful building.ReplyDelete
May Cohen began in the 1800's as the Cohen Brothers store, and was commonly known as Cohen's. That store, on Bay Street I believe, burned in the Great Fire of Jacksonville in 1902, and was replaced by the St. James Building store on Hemming Park. The building was so named because it replaced the St. James Hotel which stood on that site before the fire. In the 1950's Cohen Brothers was bought by the May company, and it became May Cohen's. The downtown store was a full-service department store with a candy shop, a bakery, a restaurant, a toy department, furniture, etc. The suburban branches added after it became May Cohen's sold mostly clothing, and did not have the other departments. The candy shop's signature Annaclair chocolates were to die for, and my grandmother never left the store without a loaf of the bakery's raisin cinnamon bread.ReplyDelete
Yes! I moved here in 1979 and I remember the Orange Park Mall May Cohen's actually had a candy store there too until probably the mid 1980's. The Annclair chocolates were indeed yummy. It was certainly a special touch!ReplyDelete
great article on may-cohensReplyDelete
I recall in first grade (1961) buying my workbooks for school at May Cohen's. Then I understand the state had to provide them.ReplyDelete
As a child, we shopped at the Lakewood Store, then moved and shopped at the Buena Park store. In the basement they had a candy shop, we would buy peppermint and Rum patties, does anyone know the recipe for them.?ReplyDelete
You most likely mean May Company in Los Angeles, not May-Cohens of Jacksonville, Florida.ReplyDelete
The May company bought Cohen Brother's in Jacksonville, FL. it then became known as May-Cohen.Delete
While in high school, I worked at the Roosevelt location during the late 80s when the store was May Cohen's, then May Florida, and finally Maison Blanche (1985-1988). As noted above, more photos and history can be found at:ReplyDelete
I have a baby outfit still in the box never worn from this store. Anyone guess or know what it would be worth??ReplyDelete
I grew-up in Jacksonville in the 1950s. I remember my Mom and me going to Cohen's where she shopped. We took the bus from our little home in Lakewood. Great memories!ReplyDelete
Besides my mother working in Cohens for over 25 years, working in Men's Furnishings and the Paint Department among others. Her pay was based on a commission basis after her "quota" was made. She complained all the time that the company would increase her "quota" each time she surpassed it. (We should have a Union", she would say.ReplyDelete
Cohen's would close down just before Thanksgiving every year. While shut down they would decorate for Christmas. They would cover the display windows along the side walk at that time and, every year, there would be a "Grand Opening" for Christmas the day after Thanksgiving with crowds along the sidewalk there to witness. They always had a beautiful store at that time with a great Santa Claus. I could hardly wait to sit on his lap. I loved the store. (This was in the 1940a and 50s.)
I worked at May Cohens Downtown in the 70’s as part of the work release program “DECCA” earning high school credits in my senior year in high school. I stayed on after I graduated for a few years. I loved going in this store. Even in 1976 it had a feeling of nostalgia about it. On the main floor was the Plaid Lion restaurant. I only ate there a few times, but most of the Buyers of the departments ate there regularly. Yes, on a good week and when I wanted to treat myself, I’d stop by the first floor Candy dept. and buy one Annaclair, it was about .59 cents for one. At 16 I was making around $97 per week so this was a great extravagance for me. I ate most of my lunches at Polly Peppers the lunch counter in the basement. Their cheeseburgers and tuna fish on pita was the best. I once asked one of the ladies behind the counter why their tuna sandwiches tasted so much better than at home, it was only tuna and mayonnaise? She told me it was because they mixed it by hand with their fingers.ReplyDelete
You could buy all kinds of bargains super cheap in the basement and since I was going to be graduating and moving into an apartment, I bought lots of household items from the linen dept. One of the brands still around, that May Cohens sold, was the Martex label. I purchased dozens of Martex hand towels. I still have some of them in my dish towel drawer and use them regularly to dry dishes. I’m amazed they have lasted almost 50 years and still look great, but that’s how well they were made. Walking in the stock rooms was creepy and fun as they were dimly lit and looked as old as when the store must have opened, never updated. There was a big sign coming out of the stockroom in the shoe department that read “The Customer Is ALWAYS Right, Even If Proven Wrong “.
And once you slipped through the fabric curtain door back into the stockroom, I felt I’d been transported into the 1940’s. I loved my time at May Cohens, and have so many fond memories of working there as a teenager.