Subject: John's Bargain StoreI lived in Brooklyn as a young child, but I don't remember where. I do remember we lived around the corner or close to John's Bargain Store. I also remember that our Dentist lived next door to us. His practice was not in the neighborhood, but he lived there with his mother. His name was Donald Kauffman. If this name sounds familiar and you know where he lived you could help me find out my old address. Or if you could tell me where John's Bargain Store was, I will have an idea of where we lived. I lived there somewhere between 1961 and 1963. I remember being in John's Bargain Store when Kennedy was shot. I can remember it as if it were yesterday....
Brooklynian » Forum » Park Slope »
John's Bargain Store
I know the feeling. Why just last Friday night I couldn't remember where I lived either. Go to the Brooklyn Back When thread. They grew up here, somewhere.
http://holyname.wordpress.com/2008/10/27/5th-avenue-freeze-out/I blame such comments on beer.
Â© karlthedruid 2007
8th street and 5th ave, according to this thread http://brooklynian.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3998&sid=8d53bc0035bac873df76467cdae753e8
Hi - there were 2 John's Bargain Stores - one on 5th Ave. bet. 16th & 15th Streets and the one down near 8th St. Don't know if this helps but now you have a range of blocks to hone in on. Happy Thanksgiving!Karen
'If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day, so I never have to live without you.' - Winnie the Pooh.
Subject: Re: John's Bargain Store
eamartinez » I lived in Brooklyn as a young child, but I don't remember where. I do remember we lived around the corner or close to John's Bargain Store. I also remember that our Dentist lived next door to us. His practice was not in the neighborhood, but he lived there with his mother. His name was Donald Kauffman. If this name sounds familiar and you know where he lived you could help me find out my old address. Or if you could tell me where John's Bargain Store was, I will have an idea of where we lived. I lived there somewhere between 1961 and 1963. I remember being in John's Bargain Store when Kennedy was shot. I can remember it as if it were yesterday....Here's the obit of one of the founders of John's ... interesting info. They did a lot of advertising on kiddie TV in the '60's. June 2, 2002 David Cohen Is Dead at 80; Led Chain of Bargain Stores By DOUGLAS MARTIN David Cohen, who led John's Bargain Stores to the top rungs of discount retailing in the 1960's, died on Thursday at his home in Medford, N.Y. He was 80. The cause was lung cancer, his wife, Blanche, said. He also had a home in Delray Beach, Fla. John's Bargain Store -- with its big red sign and white lettering -- was once a nearly ubiquitous presence in the New York metropolitan area, particularly in low-income sections. It grazed the low end of retailing, relying on paying cheap rent for locations few other retailers wanted, as well as on buying merchandise that could be startlingly inexpensive, often because the manufacturer had overestimated demand. ''Give us your mistakes and we'll make them pay,'' was a company slogan. A company maxim was that the best places for stores were areas with few new automobiles but many used baby strollers. At its peak in the mid-1960's, John's had 527 stores along the Eastern Seaboard and in Puerto Rico. ''Our plan is to blanket the United States with John's units and to ultimately have more stores in operation in this country than Woolworth's,'' Mr. Cohen said in an interview with Women's Wear Daily in 1964. A Woolworth spokesman had said, ''We wish them luck.'' Three years later, John's was in full retreat, the victim of over-expansion, shoplifters and, most important, the yearlong absence of Mr. Cohen, who had nearly died in an automobile accident. In 1967, the company sought protection under federal bankruptcy laws. By the early 1970's, with new ownership, it had disappeared. David Cohen, who always said his family was too poor for the luxury of middle names, was born on Sept. 2, 1921, at a hospital on Rockaway Beach. He was the fifth and totally unexpected child; his mother had thought she had a tumor. When she went to the hospital to have it treated, he was born, making him the only one in his family to be born in a hospital. His father, Harry, began as a peddler with a horse and wagon and moved on to running games of chance on the Rockaway Beach boardwalk. In winter, he would buy the merchandise of a company going out of business and rent a store to sell the goods. This led to his getting his own store in South Ozone Park, Queens. For some reason, he named it John's, although there was no John in the family. People began calling it Cheap John's, partly because it was competing with two neighboring stores, Cheap Sam's and Cheap Charlie's. Young David was needed to work in both his father's endeavors, and kept transferring from school to school. As a sixth grader, he dropped out to go to work full time. In late August 1940, he had his first date with Blanche Schwartz, bringing along a shoebox model of the discount stores he hoped to open. They were married on Dec. 31 of that year. Working with his siblings -- Benjamin, James and Stella -- David, as chairman and president, expanded their father's concept into more and more stores. Their father died in 1963 at 75. At first, the children bought odd lots and surplus goods from manufacturers, but as the company grew, increased bargaining power let them order new products. The company placed larger orders for single items than any other chain in America, ordering 250,000 dozen of an item at once. After buying more cheaply, it also tried to sell more cheaply, or at least to undercut the competition. Its markup of 32 percent was 8 percentage points below that of most other stores. John's also routinely bought things out of season: after Christmas, it filled its bins with toys; ski caps were sold in the summer and swimming suits in winter. For customers, part of the fun was never knowing what they would find. The company also economized by using newspaper ads that covered large numbers of stores, thereby cutting the cost per store. It accepted delivered orders at warehouses, meaning distributors did not have to make drops at individual stores. But real estate was the most important factor. Mr. Cohen sought out locations that other stores considered unprofitable and then drove a hard bargain. He learned that former supermarkets were a good size, and also that supermarket owners who had moved to larger stores nearby often offered cheap rent to prevent another supermarket from opening. A story he loved to tell involved the lawyer for a wealthy property owner who disapproved of renting to John's because he considered it déclassé. The client overruled the lawyer, declaring that she was a faithful John's customer. Mr. Cohen is survived by his wife; his brother, James, of Hollywood, Fla.; his sister, Stella Tobin of Lynbrook, N.Y.; his daughter, Shirley Schefter of Bellmore, N.Y.; his sons Howard of Oceanside, N.Y., and Allen of Maine; six grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. * Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
The John's Bargain store your remembering was located at 1140 Broadway, under the el. The cross street is Kosciuszko St. One block from DeKalb Ave. It had 3 or 4 floors and a 'bargain basement'. My mother took me there a lot. We would walk from Evergreen Ave, down Cooper St to Broadway and then take the bus to Kosciuszko. I believe the entire building is now gone and there may be some kind of 'strip mall' there now. You can use Google's street view to take a tour of the neighborhood.
There was also a John's Bargain Store in Brownsville near the El. If I recall correctly, it was between Junius and Van Sinderen on Blake Avenue or thereabouts. It had a huge parking lot which was rare in those days as most of us either walked to places or took public transportation. I remember that at one time the lot was used by a traveling carnival/circus.Brooklyn Is God's Country!
Wow, prodigalson, you have a great memory....there was one on Blake, I think on the corner of Junius St. Just up the block from the tracks. She could have lived around there. My aunt lived not far from there, somewhere on Stewart St, ugly bldg, but large apt. inside, maybe six rooms. 2nd floor. The train passed right by the windows. We lived on Evergreen & Moffat, right across from my school (PS113). Took the el to Eastern Pky./B'way Junction. Lived there 'til 1961 when we moved to Putnam Ave, across from Bushwick High. Did you live nearby there around then?
Yes, I grew up on Sheffield & Livonia Avenue just one block south of Jefferson High School - we lived there for 20 years until 1976. The New Lots Avenue IRT ran just above the apartment house that we lived in. Today, the building has been razed and there is a parking lot there.
My dad worked for Fortunoff's for a year. While the prices were generally good and it was very convenient to go shopping there, John's Bargain Store beat every other competitor for good prices. Therefore, it was worth taking the long walk to get there.
Another great place to go shopping was the Times Square Store (TSS) on Linden Boulevard:
Again, another long walk but that's what we did in those days - very few people owned any cars and we had to take those long walks!Brooklyn Is God's Country!
Omg! I know exactly where that is. My cousin, Miles Welch, went to Jefferson. I don't remember Fortunoff's at all, but the Times Square Stores sounded familiar. Just Wikipedia'd them both, it's amazing how many things are gone now. My last visit (I now live in Los Angeles)to NY was back in '85, even then so much had changed, it was really depressing. Sometimes I wish I could go back to those 'good old days' (sometimes not) I do miss the pizza, egg creams and black & white cookies And I sure would love to visit the '64 World's Fair again.
Been nice 'chatting' with you here.
Hi Robert - thanx for those kinds words.
What is really surprising to me (being the amateur historian that I am) is what occupied that land we are talking about.
Guess what ...
It was Eastern Park:
The Mecca of American sports during the 1890s!
I have always had some form of artistic vision and been a very creative person all my life. I've even had a few psychic dreams that did come true. In my youth I distinctly recall that when we as a family ventured there, I had a sense that something was missing. That this was (funny as it may sound) a sacred or once sacred land. That it had an energy and creativity that was suppressed or had been taken away. And all that may sound silly. But years later, when doing historical research, I found much data about all the great things that took place in ENY-Brownsville. To think - the neighborhood was once the Mecca of professional cricket in the USA - people actually came all the way from England just to watch our pro team play! In my mind and in my heart, I wish there was some way I could go back in time, correct the rights from wrongs, and perpetuate the good times and good things this area was once known for.
Alas, that is up to the higher powers ...Brooklyn Is God's Country!
Your memories of Brownsville and ENY match with what I have heard.
Since around the time of WWI, it has been plagued by the problems associated with crime and poverty, despite the changing make up of its residents. For example, the wiki article I link below states that for a long time the area was a Jewish "ghetto" (my word, not theirs), and now is a mostly black one.
Like you, I wish that the area and its residents could prosper, but am not sure how this will be achieved. The area has many obstacles, including a large number of housing projects, and a dearth of productive, constructive opportunities.
As a result, not only is the area difficult for residents and "outsiders" to improve, it is difficult for residents to escape.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
Brownsville/East New York may have been a "ghetto" in the early part of the 20th century but it was a shopping mecca for all. It was wall to wall people on Saturdays and Sundays. I remember going with my parents back in the late 50s and 60s. Fortunoff had seven store fronts on Livonia Ave. each one having its own department so to speak, housewares in one, linens in another and so on. Belmont Ave. one block north was also a busy place to shop. And of course there were the pickle, hot dog and knish vendors on the street. Life was a hell of a lot simpler back then.
Modern Fordham Road in the Bronx, and Church ave in Brooklyn come to mind.
...thriving commercial strips.For better or worse, the change on Nostrand is going to make the change on Franklin look minor.
I have read thousands of books and articles over my many years. The Amboy Dukes by Irving Shulman - a novel about East New York in 1947 stands among my all times faves:
Yes, we had great markets on Belmont Avenue, the Fortunoffs, malt shops galore, movie houses, parks, and lots of good things. But we also had the bad things which got even worse with the passing years. But one thing that can never and will never be taken away is the good people that we have had, and still have, in this area.Brooklyn Is God's Country!
I had read Shulman's The Amboy Dukes Last year, the paperback was a hugh seller in it's time due to it's sexual content and study of an era when street gangs started to take off.
The book was made into the movie, City Across The River, which was an introduction to some guy named Tony Curtis, I wonder what ever happened to him.
This is a very interesting blog.
^ Strange, I don't recall sexual content but perhaps it is my aging mind(lessness) that forgets what year we're in [among other hassles!].
Haven't seen City Across the River since way back when. Perhaps there's a DVD for it. Will check soon ...Brooklyn Is God's Country!
if you still have your copy, the sexual content starts on page 171, where Rosie Beanbags wants to entertain the club members in the back room, the funniest comment in the book is when one of the gang claims if she hit you on the head with her breast, you'd be ankle deep in cement.
I have a DVD copy, if you PM me with your address I send you a copy.
if you still have your copy, the sexual content starts on page 171, where Rosie Beanbags wants to entertain the club members in the back room, the funniest comment in the book is when one of the gang claims if she hit you on the head with her breast, you'd be ankle deep in cement .
I have a dvd copy, if you PM me with your address I'll send you a copy.
Don't have the book anymore but now have the movie online. Will watch it later today.
Thanx for offering the movie - am looking forward to seeing it again.Brooklyn Is God's Country!
I just watched "City Across The River" online. I had forgotten that Anthony (Tony) Curtis made his debut in that movie. Hadn't seen it in close to 50 years and its message remains the same to day as it did in those days.Brooklyn Is God's Country!
Our culture has made some advances since the 50's.
The punks were more creative in those days, they would use their shop class to make Zip guns, now they purchase them.
One of the big hit of the day was, Zippity Doo Dah, but we've progressed and have Zip Cars and Zip codes.
But your right we now have a more violent society due to drugs and violent, so called entertainment.
So true, Ben. Entertainment was a lot more wholesome in your time.
I loved watching the old comedies on TV's "Silents Please" and this great gem:
So sad that they just don't make them like they used to.
I'm delighted you enjoyed the work done by the guys of my time, we would always curse during filming and no one ever knew it.
It was also an honor to work with all those beautiful women, but on the personal level it never worked out , we never saw eye to eye .
It's rumored, after Hardy had the plumber fired , he wound up on CBS'S Eye On New York, unfortunately he was fired again for constantly reading off the wrong teleprompters.
He must have been seeing this:
Instead of just this:Brooklyn Is God's Country!