W. T. Grant Co.


The W.T. Grant Co. welcomed shoppers to its Gideon Building store from the
1920s to the mid-1970s when the retail chain filed for bankruptcy.


HUNTINGTON — A native of Germany, Samuel Gideon came to Huntington in 1872
and opened a clothing store, believed to have been the city’s first. Around 1915,
 Gideon commissioned the construction of a new building to house his
clothing business. He hired Edwin Alger, one of early Huntington’s
 best-known architects, who designed a handsome three-story
building erected on the southwest corner
of 3rd Avenue and 10th Street.

Following Gideon’s death in 1923, the store building was sold to
 the W.T. Grant Co., a nationwide chain of mass-merchandise
shops founded by William Thomas Grant.

Grant established his first “25-cent variety store” in Lynn, Massachusetts,
 in 1906, and went on to build one of the nation’s largest retail chains.
 By the time Grant died in 1972 at age 96, his chain
of stores had grown to almost 1,200.

Huntington’s W.T. Grant store initially occupied one storefront within
 the Gideon Building, while Mangel’s, a women’s clothing store,
 occupied the adjacent space. Around 1950, however, Grant’s
expanded to occupy the entire ground floor space of the
building. Grant’s also covered many of the building’s
 original windows with giant wood panels in an
 attempt to give it a more modern facade.

Grant’s occupied the Gideon Building until around 1976,
 when the company declared bankruptcy.

In 1978, Amsbary & Johnson Clothiers moved into the Gideon
Building from its former location at 321 10th St. referred to
simply as Amsbary’s. After Jake Amsbary’s death in
1986, his sons operated the store until it
shut down a few years later.

In 1992, the Gideon Building was purchased by Dr. Joseph Touma,
 who restored the historic structure to its original appearance.
 Today, it’s occupied by a cellphone store and
a number of professional offices.


Note:  This Article and picture appeared in the Herald-Dispatch Newspaper on June 14, 2021.


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