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“Mall stores were forced on retail family”

Kevin Parks in This Week Clintonville (12/01/2011) also wrote a sidebar which appeared in some of the other neighborhood papers:

When Northland Mall, the city’s first, opened more than 47 years ago, it was anchored by Sears and Lazarus.

The Lazarus family was more or less forced into it, according to the authors of a new book about the Columbus-based retail empire.

“They knew in 1950 if you built stores in the suburbs it was going to destroy the downtown store,” co-author David Meyers said. “They had already purchased property in the late 1940s to build suburban stores, and they stopped.”

Meyers and his wife, Beverly, and their daughter, Elise Meyers Walker, wrote “Look to Lazarus: The Big Store.” It was published earlier this year by The History Press of Charleston, S.C.

In the section of the book dealing with Lazarus mall stores, the Clintonville family wrote:

“The Westland (Mall) store (which opened as a free-standing site in the early 1960s) would eventually be rebranded Lazarus-Macy’s in 2003’s ‘Project Hyphen.’ Two years after that it was simply Macy’s in ‘Project Star’ before finally closing forever in 2007. The experiment had lasted 45 years, a more than respectable run. But some still maintain that it was the first nail in the coffin of F&R Lazarus and Co.

“While Lazarus probably would have preferred to roll out additional branches at a more leisurely pace, its hand was forced when Sears Roebuck and Co. purchased three large parcels of land on the North, East and West sides of Columbus for the purpose of constructing its own shopping malls.

“Unable to ignore this challenge on its doorstep, company officials approached the Chicago-based retailing giant about joining forces. Instead of being competitors, they would develop the properties together, sharing the costs and benefits. It was simply a matter of protecting market share.

The rest of the article is available at:


“Book details history of Lazarus, the family and the store”

Kevin Parks wrote in This Week Clintonville (12/01/2011):

They all loved Lazarus.

When David Meyers told people that he, his wife and their daughter were working together on a book about the Lazarus family and their “grand emporium” in downtown Columbus, the invariable response was:

“I loved that store!”

“In ‘Look to Lazarus,’ my wife, daughter and I attempt to explain why,” David Meyers wrote in his introduction to the book he co-authored with Beverly Meyers and Elise Meyers Walker. “We also hope to convey to younger generations what a truly wonderful place these grand emporiums were.

“Sadly, there is nowhere left they can go to experience what it was like when Lazarus and its kindred institutions were in their heyday.”

“Columbus grew up with Lazarus and vice versa,” the book states. “For more than 150 years, the Lazarus family profited from the patronage of Columbus citizenry, and in return, the city benefited from the dollars that flowed through this incredible economic engine. At its height, Lazarus controlled one-third of the retail activity in the city, a feat that no other store in the country ever matched.

“The story of the Lazarus is a story of enterprise, perseverance, gumption, innovation, loyalty, commitment, family and change. Lots of change. It is also a story of the love between a store and a community.”

The entire article is available at:

The photo is by Eric George.


“The history of Lazarus is the history of Columbus”

For over 150 years, F&R Lazarus & Co. was the dominant retailer in central Ohio. As it grew from a small men’s clothier in 1851 to one of the most important mercantile establishments in the country, Columbus grew, too, from a frontier community to the 15th largest city in the nation.

In Look To Lazarus: The Big Store (The History Press, 2011), we review the evolution of the ready-made clothing industry from the Napoleonic Wars to the present. We also chronicle the development of the department store–those classic Grand Emporiums–which Fred Lazarus Jr. believed should operate like a big circus with 100 to 200 special events taking place in them every day!

The 192-page book is filled with historical facts, colorful stories, 85 pictures, and 6 of the most popular recipes taken from the Lazarus restaurants and its celebrated cooking school, La Belle Pomme. We devote an entire chapter to Christmas at Lazarus with the story behind the creation of the popular window displays and the Santa Claus parade.

Even Robert Lazarus Jr. said he learned some things he never knew about his family’s store.

If you loved Lazarus, this is the book for you!

The reviews are in! Look To Lazarus is a hit!

One review, anyway. The most important one.

Robert “Mr. Bob” Lazarus Jr. called me to say: “I think it’s excellent. I really enjoyed it. Thought you did a great job…This one is super!”

That means a lot to us because we wouldn’t have written the book without first getting Mr. Bob’s okay. The fact that he also said he learned some things about the history of the store was just icing on the cake.

So, LOOK TO LAZARUS: THE BIG STORE by David & Beverly Meyers & Elise Walker is now available from The History Press or at all major book retailers.

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