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Kresge-Newark was an upper-middle market department store based in Newark, New Jersey. The firm was started in the 1920s when its founder Sebastian Kresge purchased the Plautt Department store in downtown Newark, and rebranded the business Kresge-Newark. This store had no connection to the S.S. Kresge 5 & 10 chain based in Detroit, Michigan. Kresge built a handsome flagship store that filled in an entire city block bounded by Broad Street, Cedar Street, Halsey Street, and Raymond Blvd. The store contained over 600,000 square feet (56,000 m2) of selling space on 10 levels (9 stories plus a basement store).

The firm positioned itself between its popular priced rival, Bamberger's, and its more upscale competitor, Hahne & Company. Kresge was the last of Newark's department stores to remain independent, and its customer loyalty was fierce. During the Christmas Selling Season Kresge's operated a monorail ride around its Toy Department and its Breakfast With Santa sold out early each season.

Kresge changed with the times by opening a branch store in Summit, and in 1959 when B. Altman & Company moved its branch store from East Orange to Short Hills, Kresge-Newark took over the East Orange store as its second branch. Mr. Kresge also saw the type of business lines that discount stores were fast becoming dominant in (Lawn Supplies, Hardware, and the like), and in turn leased the top 2 floors of its flagship store to the Western Electric Company for use as office space. Kresge-Newark also took a lead in many civic improvements and was active in the early planning of the Gateway Center (which opened long after the stores demise). The store also formed an alliance with Asbury Park based Steinbach.

In 1964 with it clear that his heirs had no desire to take over the family business, the Kresge Foundation sold the stores to David Chase, and they were rebranded Chase-Newark. In 1967 Chase-Newark announced it was closing, and 4 selling floors of the Newark flagship were leased to the Two Guys chain. The 2 branch stores were closed at this time and the downtown Newark location reopened as a Two Guys unit in the fall of 1967.

Further reading

  • "The Big 3 Department Stores, Their Life & Times" at www.oldnewark.com
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