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Alexander's
Fate Shuttered
Founded 1928
Defunct 1992
Headquarters New York City
Key people George Farkas
Industry Department store
Products Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, electronics and housewares.

Alexander's was a former department store chain in the New York metropolitan area. Catering to low- and middle-income consumers, Alexander's offered discounted designer fashions and high-quality private label goods. At its height, the company operated 16 stores. Its advertising slogan was "You'll find Alexander's has what you're looking for; how lucky can you get?!".

The Paramus, New Jersey location was notable because the building was the site of the world's largest mural painted by polish artist Stefan Knapp. Although the location closed in 1992, the mural remained on the vacant building until 1998 when it was disassembled and put into storage. Several attempts to relocate the mural have failed including a plan to include it in the Xanadu complex.

History

The chain was founded in 1928 by George Farkas, a Brooklyn native who opened a store on Third Avenue in the Bronx and named it for his deceased father. The store managed to thrive during the following Depression, and another location was opened at Fordham Road (also in the Bronx) in 1933. Post-war prosperity further increased the company's fortunes, and led to a steady increase of locations throughout the area.

The company's hold on the marketplace began to slip in the 1970s, as customers defected to larger competitors and specialty retailers. In 1980, Interstate Properties took a major stake in the ailing chain, seeking to convert its real estate to more profitable ventures. Throughout the 1980s, Alexander's management struggled to expand the retailer's offerings beyond leisure apparel, but was often distracted by real estate sell-offs, and the stores' physical appearance and merchandise quality suffered. The company made a last-ditch effort to modernize in the early 1990s by expanding its activewear, electronics, housewares, sports equipment, and toy departments. It also began to update its infrastructure by replacing aging mechanical cash registers which could no longer be repaired with computerized registers (an earlier attempt in the 1980s had failed due to poor planning). Unfortunately, these changes came too late, and Alexander's finally declared bankruptcy in 1992 as debts to vendors mounted and inventories dwindled.

After being reorganized into a real estate company, Alexander's began selling off its valuable properties to developers (the company had owned all the real estate its large stores sat on). Vornado, a real estate firm (which itself in a previous form was another discount department store chain, Two Guys), bought a controlling share of Alexander's at bargain prices and refocused the company on development of its land holdings.

Alexander's had a store at the World Trade Center (closed years before 9/11).

External links

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