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department store (former)
Industry retail
Founded 1902
Founder Tobias & Simon Sakowitz
Headquarters Houston, Texas, United States
Area served
Arizona, Oklahoma, Ohio, Texas
Products clothing, footwear, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, furs

Sakowitz was a chain of family-owned department stores based in Houston, Texas, United States. The store was founded by two brothers, Tobias and Simon Sakowitz, in Galveston, Texas in 1902. Other family members were working in the cotton mills in Galveston. The two brothers, Simon and Tobias, began a peddler business, taking orders and delivering clothes on a bicycle to the many merchant seamen in Galveston at that time. Eventually, the chain expanded to thirteen locations, of which ten were in Texas.

L. J. Hooker, an Australian retail development firm, purchased the Sakowitz chain in 1988 so that a location could be opened at Forest Fair Mall (now Cincinnati Mall) in Forest Park, Ohio and Fairfield, Ohio.[1] Due, in part, to the fact that Cincinnati was an untested market, the mall straddled two counties (Hamilton and Butler) and that the Australian real estate market tanked, Forest Fair Mall failed. The location of the complex was also in a very middle-class area and having both high and low end stores reside in the same mall proved to be too much.

The Sakowitz chain was liquidated in 1990 and its stores closed. The Sakowitz name has survived in the form of Sakowitz Furs, a fur dealer with one store in Houston, owned by Jerry Gronauer.[citation needed]


Sakowitz was founded by brothers Tobias and Simon Sakowitz, the sons of a Ukrainian immigrant, in 1902. The first location was in Galveston, Texas, with a second following in Houston, Texas fifteen years later.[2][3] The location in Galveston was closed in 1917 and consolidated into the Houston store.[citation needed]

By 1929, the original Houston store on 308 Main Street had relocated to the Gulf Building at 720 Main Street; this store was subsequently relocated even further down Main Street. Eventually, the chain grew to several locations throughout Houston, including a suburban location at Westheimer Road at Post Oak and one in Nassau Bay across from NASA.[3][4] With the increasing popularity of shopping malls, several mall-based locations were also added, including one each in the states of Arizona and Oklahoma. By the late 1980s, however, Sakowitz had scaled back operations, closing all but the Houston stores.[citation needed]

Purchase by L. J. Hooker[edit]

In the late 1980s, Australian developer L. J. Hooker proposed an upscale mall in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio, to be named Forest Fair Mall. Hooker's plans called for Sakowitz to be one of the mall's anchor stores, along with B. Altman and Bonwit Teller, two upscale chains based in New York City. In 1988, Hooker purchased controlling interest in all three chains so that they could open locations at the new mall; however, the chains proved too upscale for the Cincinnati market, and were subsequently sold off.[1]

The Sakowitz chain was then auctioned off by L. J. Hooker, and all other locations were closed as well.[5] The only remnant of the Sakowitz name is a Sakowitz Furs shop located in Houston, which is owned by Jerry Gronauer.


  1. ^ a b Mitchell, Donna (January 2003). "Forest Fair finds a savior in Mills Corp". Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-12-13. 
  2. ^ "Simon Sakowitz". Handbook of Texas. Retrieved 2007-12-13. 
  3. ^ a b "Bernard Sakowitz". Handbook of Texas. Retrieved 2007-12-13. 
  4. ^ Buck horns in on yuletide shopping at ritzy store. The Deseret News. Retrieved 2009-10-23. 
  5. ^ "Sakowitz Stores To Be Auctioned". The New York Times. 1990-05-25. Retrieved 2007-12-13. 

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