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  • William Filene, of Filene's Basement fame, began his business enterprise in the city of Salem.
  • William was born (Wilhelm Katz) in what was then Prussia, the son of a Jewish ribbon merchant. He fled during the uprising of 1848, immigrated to America and worked as a tailor in Boston.
  • In 1856, William opened a store at 154 Essex St. Salem, in the Bowker Block. He sold trimmings, lace, veils and gloves until 1861 when he moved back to Boston. While in Salem, he lived at 33 Brown St. with his wife Clara Ballin and his children. A few years later, he moved to Lynn and opened two shops on Market Street, before moving to Boston in 1890 and starting William Filene & Sons on Washington Street.
  • Two of his sons, Edward and Lincoln would go on to be successful businessmen, running the five-story clothing business in Boston. It was Edward's idea to start the "bargain basement" where unsold goods would be sent and prices cut back the longer they went unsold.

See Also

  • Vertical File in Salem Collection - Filene's
  • "Famous people make this city a subject of conversation" Salem Evening News, Dec. 15, 1999, p.A3
  • Macy's, Filene's sprang from North of Boston" Salem News, Sept. 5, 2006, p. A1
  • "Tracing the baby steps of 2 retail giants" Boston Sunday Globe, Aug. 14, 2005, p. N1