Kern’s Department Store

Even in the thick of the Depression, which slammed Detroit particularly hard, city residents weren’t about to allow the grim economy to stifle the Christmas spirit, as witnessed by these hordes of holiday shoppers crammed onto the main floor of Kern’s Department Store, at Woodward and Gratiot, where the Compuware Corp. now stands


Published:

1933

Even in the thick of the Depression, which slammed Detroit particularly hard, city residents weren’t about to allow the grim economy to stifle the Christmas spirit, as witnessed by these hordes of holiday shoppers crammed onto the main floor of Kern’s Department Store, at Woodward and Gratiot, where the Compuware Corp. now stands. The emporium was marked by exquisite touches, such as marble floors, mahogany counters, and soaring ceilings. Kern’s, founded in 1883 by German immigrant Ernst Kern, was originally on St. Antoine, and later moved to Randolph Street. The retailer continued to enlarge, and finally ended up at its Woodward location, which saw several building expansions throughout the years, the last of which was a 10-story addition in 1929. When Kern died in 1901, his sons Otto and Ernst Jr. ran the burgeoning company. Both brothers lived in the city’s elegant Boston-Edison district — Ernst on Edison Street and Otto on Boston Boulevard. Otto’s sons also became involved in management. Kern’s remained a third-generation family business until 1957, when it was sold to the Buffalo, N.Y.-based Sattler’s Inc. However, management changes and business problems led to the closing of Kern’s on Dec. 23, 1959. Although the building was razed in the 1960s, one part of Kern’s was salvaged, its famous clock, which was a downtown icon. Scores of Detroiters were heard to say, “I’ll meet you under the Kern’s clock.” The landmark timepiece, which was refurbished by Compuware, stands at Woodward and Gratiot, a constant reminder of Detroit’s retailing past.

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

United Shore Professional Baseball League Aims to Expand

Investors are betting that family-friendly minor league baseball will work in Macomb County

Cultivate Your Green Thumb With Gardening Supplies from Metro Detroit Shops

Stores such as Detroit Farm and Garden, Made Floral, and more have the plants and tools to help your garden grow

The Way It Was

Stroh's Beer, 1907

Signal-Return's Power of the Press Festival Dedicated to the Print Arts Rip

Event organized by Eastern Market letterpress shop to feature readings from local poets and writers, art exhibitions, workshops, and more

Detroit Red Wings Gear Up for District Detroit

Russian Five's jerseys worn during the ’97 Stanley Cup playoffs among the mementos waiting to be displayed at Little Caesars Arena
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Faces of Michigan Wine: Coenraad Stassen
    Brys Estate’s winemaker crossed an ocean to work in Michigan
  2. 2017 City Guide: Hidden Detroit
    Unlocking the secrets to some of the city’s lesser-known gems
  3. Michigan Law on Buying, Shipping Wine Gets More Complicated
    Lawsuit could eventually result in the same basic decision that happened in Granholm v. Heald and...
  4. Founders Announces Detroit Expansion
    New taproom located in Cass Corridor will serve the growing region