The LESTER Store

  A part of Camden's retail scene from the 1920s into the 1960s, the Lester store sold men's, women's and children's clothing and jewelry. The store was located for most of its history at 713 Broadway, between Line and Pine Streets. Lee Newman, who went on to found a men's store of his own which is still in business today, in Cherry Hill NJ, worked as a manager for owner Sidney Lester, in the 1930s and 1940s. The business survived a disastrous 1942 fire.

Sidney Lester opened up at 936 Broadway in 1928. In 1935 he moved his business to 713 Broadway, where it remained for many years. The business was still open at that address as late as October of 1959. 

Camden Courier-Post - June 9, 1933

Merchants' Association Announces Plans for Three-Day Event

A committee of the Merchants' Cooperative Association, headed by Harry A. Moran, secretary and manager of the the Hurley Store, has announced a three-day co-operative promotion which will be known as Camden's Co-operation Days. 

All merchants of this city have been invited to participate in the event which will be outlined in newspaper and radio announcements. City and store decorations and entertainment features which may include the personal appearances of stage, radio, sports and screen stars are being arranged.

The whole event has been arranged because of recent disclosures, resulting from investigation made by the local publishers proving that local industrial employment and business conditions have shown a decided upward trend in the city within the past several months.

The committee includes Charles Gates, Camden manager of Sears, Roebuck & Company; J. B. Van Sciver, Jr. of J. B. Van Sciver; C. A. McGrew, manager of J. C. Penney; Lester Abrahamson of Lester's; S. Savage of Western Auto Supply; William Rothman of Barrett's Tire Shop; Leonard R. Baker of Baker-Flick; Samuel Auerbach of Auerbach's; N. Futernick of Futernick's; Max Peck of the Fashion Shop; Simon Abrahamson of Simon's; Michael LaSala of DiJulio-LaSala; Joseph Murdock, manager of the Stanley Theatre; W. L. Tushingham, business manager, and F. J. Kinsella, advertising director of the Courier-Post newspapers.

Camden Courier-Post - June 16, 1933

Merchant Leaders Promoting Camden's 'Co-operation Days' Sale

The above business leaders welcomed State Senator Emerson L. Richards to Camden yesterday when he sounded the keynote for the opening of the biggest merchandise sale in Camden in 20 years. 

Left to right, back row: Cutler A. McGrew, manager of the J. C. Penney Company; Frank J. Kinsella, advertising director, 
Courier-Post Newspapers, Edward Callow, district manager Stanley-Warner Theatres; Joseph Murdock, manager Stanley Theatre.

Middle row: W. L. Tushingham, business manager, Courier-Post Newspapers; Samuel Auerbach; Russell Gibbons, Baker-Flick Company; William Rothman, Barrett's Tire Shops; Joseph Kobus

Front row: M. Futernick; Harry A. Moran, chairman Merchants Committee; S. Lester; J. Price Myers, and S. Abrahamson. 

At right, Senator Richards is shown addressing merchants at the court house plaza. 

Camden Courier-Post - June 17, 1933

Voices of the air materialized into voices at first hand for many persons Saturday, when five radio stars come to Camden as a feature of the closing chapter of '''Co-operation Days." The group, guests of the Sears, Roebuck Store, are seen assembled here on the steps of the courthouse just prior to their official welcome by Mayor Roy R. Stewart. Left to right, 
back row: Edward Callow, district manager Stanley­Warner theatres; Charles Gates, local manager Sears, Roebuck Co. Middle row, Martin A. Gosh, Harry A. Moran, chairman Merchants' "Co-operation Days" committee; Louise Zenike, N. B. C. star; Mary A. Dickinson, Sears, Roebuck Co.; Donald Novis, Welcome Lewis, Nancy Garner and Conrad 
Thibault, all radio stars. 

Stage and Radio Send Stars To Aid Camden Stores Jubilee 
Noted Entertainers Are Given Welcome by Mayor as Event Closes 

The "Co-operation Days" jubilee of the combined merchants of Camden ended Saturday with a visit to this city by stage and radio stars as guests of Sears, Roebuck and Company and the city.

The group of celebrities included Welcome Lewis, Nancy Garner, and her daughter, Louise Zenike; Donald Novis and Conrad Thibault. Nancy Garner is a first cousin of Vice President Garner, one of his official hostesses and is now beginning a nationwide tour in interest of the "new deal" policy. 

The group was met at Broad Street station where they arrived in a special car with Martin A. Gosh, of the Sears publicity department, as host. They were escorted to Camden City Hall and welcomed by Mayor Roy R. Stewart

The merchants' committee presented a large flag to the city, which was received by Mayor Stewart. The visiting stars were then guests at a luncheon in the Walt Whitman Hotel. In an address at the luncheon, Mayor Stewart lauded Camden as the "Centre of the Universe" and praised the Courier-Post Newspapers for the part they have played in trying to restore normal prosperity. He thanked all interests for their contribution toward the success of the "Co-operation Days" sales events arranged by the city's stores. He gave special praise to Sears, Roebuck and Company for its co-operation with the city and its merchants. 

Response to Mayor Stewart's address was made by Howard Thurston, district manager of the Sears stores; Charles Gates, manager of the local store, and Gosh, all or whom assured co-operation of the store in any civic enterprise. 

The dinner guests, included the radio stars and Mayor Stewart, D. Minard Shaw, district advertising manager of Sears; Thurston Gates, A. Gosh, R. J. Mitchell, assistant to the district manager; Mary A. Dickinson, Mrs. M. Loether, all of the Sears, Roebuck official family; Harry A. Moran, chairman Merchants Committee: William Wallace, Ida Laurlck, E. Howard Broome, secretary to the mayor; Samuel Auerbach, William Rothman, Simon Abramson, Joseph V. Haas, S. Lester, M. Futernick, Charles F. Knapp, manager Walt Whitman Hotel and Walter L. Tushingham, Courier-Post 

Following the dinner, the radio stars and guests were whisked with motorcycle escorts on an inspection tour of Central Airport, and then to the Sears store where a vast throng was on hand to see the noted artists. All the stars made brief talks over the air and then made a tour of the store.

Camden Courier-Post - August 8, 1933

Drive in Camden County Forges Ahead as More Firms Sign

The N.R.A. recovery drive in the Camden area forged ahead on three fronts yesterday.

Clinton L. Bardo, president of the New York Shipbuilding Company, was appointed chairman of the N.RA. campaign committee for Camden city and county.

Two hundred and eight additional employers in Camden and vicinity pledged their aid to the drive yesterday by signing N.RA. certificates of compliance at Camden post office.

Thirty Camden merchants met at Hotel Walt Whitman to organize a retail division of the Camden County Chamber of Commerce with the hope that a united front will better enable retailers to protest non-cooperation of N.R.A. merchants or any situation created whereby specific codes might harm one or more businesses in the city.

The total number of N.RA. employers in the Camden area is now 1342. Among the firms signing the recovery pledge yesterday were the Progressive Garment Company, 60 , employees; S. J. Huntzinger Company, 20; Sinnickson Chew and Sons Company, 16; American National Health and Accident Association, 15, and New Sanitary Laundry, 14.

Bardo Is Named

Other members of the N.R.A. campaign committee will be named by Bardo, he announced, in time to participate in their first meeting Friday at 3 p. m. in the offices of the Camden County Chamber of Commerce in Broadway-Stevens Building.

The committee of public, civic and industrial officials was requested to be formed by Gen. Hugh S. Johnson, National Recovery Act administrator, in a telegram to Loyal D. Odhner, chamber executive secretary, several weeks ago.

The purpose of the committee, Odhner explained, is to make a city, and county-wide canvass of all industries and stores to discover whether they have signed the pledge. Furthermore they will also canvass the neighborhoods to determine if possible whether re-employment of men and women out of work is going on as rapidly as expected by N.R.A. officials.

The offer of the merchants to organize a retail division for the local Chamber of Commerce was made in a resolution which will be presented immediately to the board of directors of the chamber for action. Sig Schoenagle, president of the Central Association of Merchants of Camden, presided at the meeting.

Merchants Explain Hours

 Considerable discussion developed over the limitation of retail store hours as provided in the President's recovery agreement. S. Lester and Joseph Fuhrman, Broadway merchants, declared some smaller stores were under the impression they could not remain open beyond the 52 hours prescribed as minimum and at the same time justify display of the "Blue Eagle" symbol.

Both of these merchants said there were no restrictions under the recovery act other than a statement that a store must not operate less than 52 hours and further provided any store did not work its employees more than 40 hours a week.

Opening for longer than the minimum number of hours set forth in the recovery act, in their opinion, was thoroughly in harmony with the President's drive since it would create work for more people to complete all store service over and above the minimum of 52 hours.

"Many of the smaller stores," said Lester, "have for years extended service beyond the minimum of 52 hours. Many of their customers live outside the city and are used to these long-established hours of service. It would be not only a hardship to reduce suddenly these hours of service, but it would also keep out of employ­ment extra help that will be needed for the extra hours."

Retail Code Outlined

Odhner in response to several Camden merchants as to the statement he would make covering the N.R.A. regulations, said;

"A merchant in order to display a 'Blue Eagle' must pay his employees not less than the minimum wage prescribed by the code,

"Nor must he keep his store open less than the minimum hours prescribed by the code.

"All agreements between merchants of various communities regarding opening and closing hours are purely voluntary and are not required by the code.

"If those agreements on opening and closing hours are designed either to cut down the number of workers in the stores or to avoid taking on additional employees, then these agreements are a direct violation of the spirit of the code.

"If on the other hand these agreements are made to eliminate a chaotic condition in the trade and will result in the hiring of additional employees and in increased wages, they are within the spirit of the act and should be supported."

CAMDEN COURIER-POST - August 10, 1933

168 Shoemakers in Three Counties Form Code; Big Firms Sign Pacts

The personnel of the National Recovery Act campaign committee for Camden city and county was announced yesterday by Chairman Clinton L. Bardo.

The committee members and their assignments follow:

James V. Moran, department stores; Leonard R. Baker, department stores; S. Lester, retail stores; Francis B. Wallen, miscellaneous business; A. D. Ambruster, banks; Clinton L. Bardo, shipbuilding; A. C. Held, industry; J. W. Burnison, industry; Harry A. Kelleher, industry; Warren Webster, Jr., industry; William H. Chew, Sr., printing; J. Alex Crothers, maritime interest.; Carl R. Evered, real estate and building trades; Fred T. Gates, chain stores; B. H. Hudson, transportation; Harry C. Stevenson, public utilities; Watson Shallcross, automotive; Elwood S. Thompson, insurance of all types; Robert C. Perina, all professional lines, and J. David Stern, publicity.

Meet Friday Afternoon

The committee will hold its first organization meeting tomorrow afternoon in the offices of the Camden County Chamber of Commerce in Broadway-Stevens Building. A plan of action will be mapped out at this session, Chairman Bardo said.

Meanwhile, Postmaster Charles H. Ellis and his staff at Camden post office were still able to supply the "Blue Eagle" Insignia in limited numbers white waiting for an additional 1500 copies from Washington. Several hundred Insignias were obtained yesterday from the Philadelphia post office, Ellis disclosed, to meet the demand of Camden employers, but this supply was quickly exhausted when 190 additional employers signed the blanket code, raising the total N.R.A. employers in this area to 1749.

One hundred and sixty-eight shoemakers of Camden, Burlington and Gloucester counties have prepared a code to be forwarded to Brigadier General Hugh S. Johnson, National Recovery Administrator in Washington immediately.

The shoemakers who are organized under the name of the Shoe Rebuilders of Camden, Burlington and Gloucester counties, also entered into, a "gentleman's agreement" as to operating hours.

Under the agreement, the stores will be opened from 8 a. m. to 6 p. m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and from 8 a.m. to 9 p. m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

Under provisions of the adopted code, no shoe repair shop owner shall employ his labor for more than 48 hours per week, no repair shop shall remain open less than 52 hours each week and no shops will be opened on Sundays or legal holidays,

The code also sets up a list of minimum wages.

Under its provisions, manager or journeymen would receive $25 a week; bench men would be paid $21 a week; finishers would get $18 a week and unskilled apprentices would be paid $12 weekly.

A list of minimum prices are included in the code.

Among local firms signing the President's agreement yesterday are the Prudential Life Insurance Company, with 30 employees in its Camden office; the American Oil Company, 30 local employees; the Hajoca Corporation, 15, and the Sinclair Refining Company; 12.

It was announced by C. R. Moore, manager of the Household Finance Corporation, 130 North Broadway, that the concern had signed the President's agreement and already placed it in effect.

May 1934 Camden Courier-Post Advertisement

Camden Courier-Post - February 26, 1936

Camden Merchants Plan Gala Event as Span Line Opens
Stores Will Join in Program Featuring Benefits of Purchasing Here

Camden merchants are preparing for their greatest Prosperity Parade.

Sponsored by the retail merchants division of Camden County Chamber of Commerce, this blue-ribbon business event opens here March 13 and continues until April 11.

The event, in which more than 100 merchants operating 200 retail stores have been enlisted, will mark the opening of the Camden High Speed Line and increased purchasing power of the South Jersey public. 

Also, for the first time in Camden, "auction bucks" will be introduced. They are a special form of currency printed for the four-weeks event and will be issued with every 25-cent purchase or multiple thereof, four "auction bucks" to every dollar of merchandise bought.

The "auction bucks," it was explained by Leonard M. Wolper, chairman of the Prosperity Parade committee, will be used as money at two mammoth auction sales to be held in Camden theatres during the parade period. Hundreds of seasonable articles of merchandise donated by local merchants will be up for auc­tion at both sales and may only be obtained with the "auction bucks."

"The parade will be a gala occasion," Wolper said. "Merchants, manufacturers, municipal officials, labor organizations, professional men I and the general public will join hands in demonstrating the value of spending Camden-earned dollars with Camden business men."

Various entertainment and music features are being arranged by the Prosperity Parade committee. Stage,  radio, and film stars are expected to appear personally at various Camden theatres during the. four-weeks event.

A widespread advertising campaign through newspapers, theatres. billboards and the radio is also scheduled to attract customers from the suburbs and throughout South Jersey during Camden's biggest business revival.

Besides Wolper, the committee includes S. Lester, Harry A. Moran, Leon Naden, Frank J. Kinsella and Minot J. Savage. John Price Myen  is chairman of the retail merchants division of the Camden County Chamber of Commerce..

Fourth Annual Shipworkers Ball
January 27, 1939
Banquet Program

Camden Courier-Post
March 16, 1942

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George W. Frost
John H. Lennox
William Van Pfefferle
Stephen Szwak
Theodore Ellis
Benjamin Kauffman
A. Lee Newman
Catherine Burrichter
Sidney Lester
Ladder Company 2
Engine Company 1
Engine Company 2
Engine Company 3
Engine Company 7
Engine Company 8
Dayton Street

The Lester Store
occupied this building
713 Broadway

In 2003 the building is known
as the
Broadway Community Center
operated by the  
City of Camden

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