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March 9: The Boycott of Germany

Dr. Julius Lippert, the Nazi state commissar for Berlin, spoke at a meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in that city on this date in 1935 and called upon the U.S. business establishment to put an end to the “Jewish boycott” of Germany, which had resulted, he said, in damage to American farmers and […]

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February 6: Giant Food’s First Supermarket

Nehemiah Cohen and Samuel Lehrman opened the first Giant supermarket in Washington, DC on this date in 1936. “At a time when most grocery shopping was done at small stores that specialized in meat, vegetables or canned goods,” writes Anthony Ramirez in the New York Times, “Giant Food helped pioneer large stores that offered a […]

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July 6: The Tumblr Millionaire

David Karp, creator and CEO of Tumblr, the popular blogging platform, was born in New York on this date in 1986. A dropout from Bronx High School of Science, he never earned his high school degree, but became a computer animator and software consultant in his early teens before launching Tumblr in 2007. As of […]

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May 21: A Record Industry Ganef

Morris Levy, the owner of Birdland and some ninety different record labels as well as the Strawberries chain of record stores, died on this date in 1990, two months before he was scheduled to begin serving a prison term for an extortion conviction that emerged from an FBI investigation into the role of organized crime […]

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March 10: Gold’s Gym

Joe (Sydney) Gold, the body-builder who founded Gold’s Gym, was born in Los Angeles on this date in 1922, the son of a junk dealer. He began body-building at age 12, and took himself to Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, a gathering place for stuntmen, acrobats, and body-builders, as a teenager. He served in the […]

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January 30: In the Kitchen at the Carnegie Deli

Milton Parker (Packowitz), the co-owner of the Carnegie Deli near Carnegie Hall in New York City, died at 90 on this date in 2009. The Carnegie Deli opened in 1937; Parker acquired it with Leo Steiner and a third “silent” partner in 1976. Steiner served as host and tumler to the deli’s celebrity customers; Parker […]

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November 13: Eugene Ferkauf and E.J. Korvette(s)

Department store innovator Eugene Ferkauf, who pioneered the “membership” discount store with E.J. Korvette in 1948, was born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan on this date in 1920. Named in a 1962 Time magazine story as one of the six greatest retailers in American history, Ferkauf challenged the “fair trade laws” and “manufacturers’ […]

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October 14: Ralph Lauren

Billionaire fashion designer Ralph Lauren (Ralph Lifshitz) was born in the Bronx to Polish Jewish emigrés on this date in 1939. He changed his name, he told Oprah Winfrey in 2002, because his given name “has the word shit in it. When I was a kid, the other kids would make a lot of fun […]

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June 12: The Bar Code

Alan L. Haberman, the supermarket executive who campaigned for acceptance of universal product coding (UPC) — the bar code — died at 81 on this date in 2011. UPC technology was invented by Norman Joseph Woodland and Bernard Silver, students at the Drexel Institute of Technology in Philadelphia, who patented their invention in 1952. However, […]

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