Saks Fifth Avenue, 1940

Photograph courtesy of The Walter P. Reuther Library, Wayne State University

1940Although downtown detroit was unquestionably the city’s main shopping hub, the New Center claimed many choice emporiums, including Saks Fifth Avenue, which opened Sept. 9, 1940, at Second and Lothrop. Saks occupied the lower three floors of the New Center Building (now called the Albert Kahn Building). In this window display, a smartly dressed mannequin, complete with what appears to be a Persian-lamb muff, entices potential women shoppers. In elegance, the New Center Building was a reflection of Saks’ merchandise; marble floors and brass elevator doors adorned the edifice. Saks Fifth Avenue, originally called Saks & Co., was founded in New York in 1902 and is celebrating its 110th year. Although the New Center store closed in 1980, Saks continues to have a local presence at Troy’s Somerset Collection.

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