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)
I was a manager of Fashion Bar stores for many years. We were so far ahead of our time.
We're glad this post brought up many memories. Fashion Bar was very chic during its time. It would be interesting to see how they would do in this business climate if they had not been closed down. Glad you enjoyed the post!
I worked at the Bear Valley Fashion Bar, while going to High School… 1973 to 1976; it was the best job I have ever had. The store manager Joe Gavora (I’m sure I’m spelling his name incorrectly) was such a great guy to work for. Bear Valley had a May D&F, at the west end of the mall, Kenny Shoes was across the way, and there was Furs Cafeteria where you could get a great meal for a reasonable price while working retail. I wish I knew whatever happened to all those great people… Al in men’s suits, Harry in men’s furnishings, Sherry & Bev the cashiers, and of course Joe the store manager; wherever you are I will never forget you. Thank You FB
Thanks for sharing your memories with us, Mike! I hope some of the people you mentioned will read this post, see your comments, and reconnect with you!
I managed their stores for many years. FB was known for fashion and always ahead of the game.
Thanks for sharing your background, Orie! Sounded like it was a fashion-forward place to work!
I worked for the " original " Fashion Bar group and the Speciality Retailers version which was stuck with the bad accounts of Fashion Bar while Levy trust collected on the inhouse charge cards in good standing. Fashion Bar should have never been sold but rather simply shut down. The last years of the Levy era were HORRID , turning on their long term clients , poor merchandise and merchandising and aggressive sales force to meet quotas in rundown stores and malls . SRI inc. got the damaged reputation poor locations and crap goods from the Levy trust As for all the buyers , managers , and majority of staff left SRI after 60 days for it was a whole different beast and being spoiled by Levy era were unable to adapt. They damaged the brand further by the trash talk when they landed at other retailers.
Thanks for reading and commenting, Dan.
In response to Dan I was a Corporate VP at Fasion Bar for aalmost 8 years and reported Jack Levy when he was the CEO and Bill Weil was the COO and can say the Levy family was the most generous and honest pfamily I have ever worked with and for...The real decline of FB came when there was a transition of the original Executive management including Bill Weil the President Ray Lippmann who retired to early giving the reins to Bob Levy as President who had no operations experience and John Levy who was a great Merchant but the brother's always fought on how to continue the Fashion Bar way..then Hannah Levy passed followed by Jack Levy ...these events including the building of 401 on the property owned by the Levy Brothers was the final nail in the coffin.
For clarification. .Lippmann was the CFO of Fashion Bar for several decades reporting to Bill Weil and was slated to be the next President. This planned transition path never occured and he decided to retire to Scottsdale AZ. After a short period of training under Bill Weil Bob Levy elected to become President much to early, followed by the economic downturn. 401 was the name of the new Corporate Offices and Distribution Center build in 1982, on Levy Brother land located in Aurora, sorry I did not Check my spelling