MAURICES THROUGH THE DECADES

  • Updated: August 8, 2010 - 9:44 AM

MAURICES THROUGH THE DECADES

1931: E. Maurice Labovitz and his wife, Ella, open a women's dress shop on Superior Street in downtown Duluth.

1950: Maurice's son, Joel, joins the company as manager of the store in Virginia, Minn. He becomes president and CEO circa 1967.

1957: Maurices becomes part of a national labor debate after the Retail Clerks Local 116 loses an organizing election. Union members picket the Duluth store, are accused of tossing "skunk bombs" inside and are tied to a mysterious fire.

1967: The chain grows to seven stores, located in downtowns of secondary markets in Minnesota (Duluth, Virginia, Hibbing) and Wisconsin (Superior, Wausau, Green Bay, Appleton).

1968: Maurices opens its first mall location in Manitowoc, Wis., and over the next year expands to malls in Mankato, Sioux Falls, S.D., and Cedar Falls, Iowa.

1978: After a decade of explosive growth to 178 stores, Joel Labovitz sells Maurices for an undisclosed sum to American Retail Group, the U.S. arm of a multibillion-dollar international retail business operated by the Brenninkmeyer family of Holland.

1984: The downtown Duluth store is one of 12 nationwide test sites for a cutting edge "shopping machine" described as an "interactive video-disk shopping terminal." Consumers can use credit to buy such things as a Macintosh computer, TV, exercise equipment, even a Maine lobster, and have it delivered to their doorstep.

1980s and into 2001: Maurices acquires or opens new concepts -- Mr. Mark Stores (named after then-president Mark Brenninkmeyer), the Closet, Just Petites, Juxtapose and Timbuktu. Maurices is the lone survivor.

2004: Dress Barn Inc., of Suffern, N.Y. announces it will acquire Maurices for $320 million. Maurices has nearly 500 stores and $342 million in annual sales. The deal is completed in early 2005.

2005: Maurices opens its first outlet store; today there are 30 locations.

2007: Maurices gets out of men's clothing business and adds women's plus sizes

2009: Maurices launches a website in September.

2010: Maurices grows to 760 stores in 44 states, with plans to expand to Canada by pre-holiday 2011.

Sources: Dress Barn Inc., Maurices, Joel Labovitz, Star Tribune archives
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