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)
Ginny! I have such fond memories of you in the buying office. We have a Facebook group - you should come play with us :) https://www.facebook.com/groups/344019718996601/?ref=br_rs aka Fashion Bar, Retail at Its Best
Hey! Your name sounds familiar. I worked there in the 80's, in the junior department with Lynn Smith, Jennifer Greer, Vanessa Thornton and a gal named Tammy and one named Wendy. I had such a good time working with these gals, what a great memory!
I still have some things I bought at FB! When the new library opened in 1995 we had floods caused by rain in the Government documents stacks because of some architectural issues. I was brand new to Government document reference. Because I was wearing my black suede high heeled boots with my green and black dress from FB, I was left to work alone on the Government Documents Reference Desk while all the other librarians had to go slog it out saving the wet documents. Thank you Fashion Bar!
I adore this story, Dixie. FB saved the day (for you, anyway)!
The FB Design at Tamarac Square was a concept waaaay before it's time. As a teenager I shopped there with my parents who bought many, many things in that store jam packed with awesome household stuff! Too bad that store does not still exist. It would have made a killing today. I can still picture that store in my mind. Upstairs at Tamarac.
Thanks for the memories!
Ahead of its time is right.The photo (above) of FB Design looks right at home in 2016. Thanks for sharing, Kirsten!
I worked for Fashion Bar for 14 1/2 years. I started out at FB mens at Lakeside Mall as a sales clerk then as the boys department manager. I then transferred to the accounting department. I worked for FB until my position was phased out with the transfer of ownership. Fashion Bar was a great place to work. I especially remember the fun Christmas and summer parties.
Thanks for sharing your story, Susan! Seems like FB was a fun place to be.
This was very interesting indeed. I have mixed emotions about FB. I truly wish I had been smarter back then and contacted the owner, at least Hannah, when I went through this situation: I LOVED the Fashion Bar store(s) and was an avid shopper there. I had a credit card but it was in joint name with my husband. We had a business together (photography studio on west side of town). Mind you, we're talking 1960's! He moved out, filed for divorce & left me with a 2 year old baby boy. Being a single mother, I got a job in downtown Denver and applied for a credit card in my own name. When the "powers that be" contacted me about it, they said I had to pay off the balance on the card and then I would be given a card in my own name. Great! I paid it off and then they REFUSED to give me a card! I was crushed and then angry as a wet hen. After that, I no longer shopped at FB. That grieved me because I really did like everything I got there!
Thanks for reading and commenting, Marti!