c.1940 2

Grodin's was a long-time men's clothing store, eventually expanding into a West Coast chain of stores. It was started c.1903 by Louis and Joseph Schwartz. It was later Schwartz and Grodin and it became Grodin's in 1951. It was sold by the Grodin family in 1955, but the store kept the name. It went out of business beginning in 1986, with a final "Chapter 11" sale in 1989 at the remaining store in San Francisco.

Schwartz Brothers

A 1936 article says it started c.1903 with Louis and Joseph Schwartz opening a men's clothing store at 914 Washington (956 Washington pre-renumbering). The 1904 directory lists Louis Schwartz as the manager of Lion Clothing Co. on Washington, but lists Joseph as a clerk at C.W.S. Heatley (or a laborer living in Berkeley?). 5

Schwartz and Grodin

Louis Schwartz retired in 1911, and Michael Grodin, who had been an employee, became a partner with Joseph Schwartz. They remained on Washington until 1925, when they moved to Broadway. 7

Joseph Schwartz died in 1936, 6 but Grodin kept the Schwartz name on the store out of respect for his old partner.

In 1938, they remodeled the building at 12th and Broadway. 8

c.1938 1c.1940 3


Michael Grodin died in 1944, 10 and Arnold Michaels, who had a 25% interest in the store and took over as general manager. 12 The name of the store was changed to Grodin's in 1951. 9 By 1955, they also had stores in Walnut Creek and Hayward.

1955 is also when the Grodin family sold the business to Arnold Michaels. Michaels continued to expand the business; Grodin's opened a store in the new Kaiser Center Mall in 1966. 15 In 1968, Grodin's bought the 11-store chain of Mullen and Bluett in southern California. 11

By 1986, Grodin's had expanded to also sell women's clothes and had 36 stores in California, Oregon, and Nevada. After a failed attempt to have the employees buy the company, Michaels sold the business to CRO America. 12 But barely a month later, CRO America decided to close the chain. 13 The final mention was a "Chapter 11 sale" in 1989 at the remaining store in San Francisco. 14

1953 4

Links and References

  1. ohrphoto.dpoa10.015 Oakland History Center, Oakland Public Library
  2. ohrphoto.dpoa10.016 Oakland History Center, Oakland Public Library
  3. ohrphoto.dpoa4.041 Oakland History Center, Oakland Public Library
  4. ohrphoto.dpoa4.040 Oakland History Center, Oakland Public Library
  5. Husted's Oakland, Alameda and Berkeley Directory 1904
  6. Funeral Held for Merchant Oakland Tribune February 11, 1936
  7. Store Grows Through Years Oakland Tribune September 14, 1936
  8. Schwartz & Grodin To Open Modern New Men's Store Tomorrow Oakland Tribune April 5, 1938
  9. Change-In-Name Sale ad Oakland Tribune August 8, 1951
  10. Death Takes M. Grodin, Civic Leader Oakland Tribune January 31, 1944
  11. Grodins Gets 11 Southern Stores in $3 Million Deal Oakland Tribune July 12 1968
  12. Grodins sold to catalog retailer Oakland Tribune August 27, 1986 (p2)
  13. Grodins clothing chain closing; 550 to lose jobs Oakland Tribune November 5, 1986 (p2)
  14. Chapter 11 Sale ad Oakland Tribune October 16, 1989
  15. Grodins to Open in Kaiser Center Mall Oakland Tribune August 3, 1966