Here's a Colorado Cinderella story: what began in 1933 as a Denver hosiery store became Colorado's largest, privately held clothing retailer in 1992.
Siblings Hannah and Jack Levy, German émigrés, opened Hosiery Bar at 707 16th Street in 1933. In 1936, the store became Fashion Bar after the purchase of a nearby dress shop, and the Fashion Bar chain was born.
Fashion Bar continued to expand during the 1960s. In 1963, Fashion Bar stores opened in Boulder and Lakewood's Westland Shopping Center. In February 1964, the company announced plans for the construction of a new downtown Denver shopping destination at 16th and Tremont Place, designed by architect Richard L. Crowther.
By September 1966, the company's 15th store had opened at the Bear Valley Shopping Center. During the 1970s, Fashion Bar diversified its brand, opening specialty shops for men ("FB Men" and "L'Uomo"), young women ("Stage"), women 35 and older ("Hannah"), and children ("Young Set"). FB Design carried furniture and household designs.
After the deaths of its co-founders, Fashion Bar made plans to expand further west. Two stores opened in the Los Angeles area in 1988.
On June 2, 1992, the Levy family was bought out by Houston-based Specialty Retailers for $14.7 million. Specialty Retailers began shutting down the 71 Fashion Bar stores in 1995.
The last Denver-area Fashion Bar stored closed on January 31, 1997.
Photos and architectural records of Fashion Bar can be found in the Richard L. Crowther Architectural Records (WH1504)
Great to hear from so many former Fashion Bar employees! Thank you for reading and commenting, Doug!
I started at Fashion Bar in 1966, going to CU downtown at night, and was one of the last to leave when the company was bought out. I have only fond and loving memories of Hannah. She was certainly my mentor and friend at the time. I started in the warehouse as a line supervisor in dresses and ended up in the dress department which was Hannah's area. She was a woman in a man's world. She was very smart, hard working, generous and kind. She traveled the world buying for the company. As an assistant buyer, the buyer and I spent a lot of time in all of the Colorado stores, opening many of them. Because of my time at FB, today I have some fabulous very dear friends and very fond memories of wonderful locally owned company and a sense of sadness at their demise.
Bev, thank you for sharing your wonderful memories! It sounds like Fashion Bar was a fantastic place to shop and work, thanks to Hannah Levy.
My mother, Virginia Hose, managed the Hosiery Bar on 16th Street in the early 1940s. She spoke very fondly of Jack and Hannah Levy and was honored to have them attend her wedding reception in 1944 at the Brown Palace.
How wonderful, Joyce! Thank you for sharing your family's story.
I worked at Fashion bar on the sixteenth street mall. Happiest time ever.
Sounds like it was a fun place to be, Randi! Thanks for commenting.
I started working for Fashion Bar in 1966 while attending CU Denver campus. I started in the warehouse as the line supervisor on the dress line where we hung, unpacked, checked in the merchandise, sized it, and strung it (put the tickets on), sorted it by store and packed it for shipment. I I was then moved into the dress buying office because of Hannah. She was my mentor. She was kind, smart, tough, fair, hardworking, and generous. She was a strong woman in a man's field. She traveled to New York buying merchandise as well across the world buying knits, suits, bridal, and dresses. At the end of my career, I was an assistant buyer in dresses. Over the years, the buyer[s] and I spent a great deal of time in all of the Colorado and Cheyene stores. It was an incredible job and experience. I am lucky to have some wonderful, close, dear friends because of FB. I was one of the last to leave the main office and warehouse as it was closed as a result of the buyout.
This is a wonderful article that brings back very happy memories! I was the Junior Dress Buyer at FB from 1982 until the closure in 1992. This was definitely my dream job.
We all worked hard for the success of the company. Those were the days when employees were devoted to a company, and the company appreciated its employees.
It was a very sad day when we received the news that FB was being sold
I am thankful for the terrific friendships I made at FB and still have today!
Thank you for the article Katie!
Thank you for reading and sharing your FB story, Ginny!