August 19, 1962
Duluth businessman Manley "Monnie" Goldfine died Wednesday at age 80. Goldfine was one of the founders of Duluth retailing icon Goldfine’s By-The-Bridge; here are some photos and articles about the store from the News Tribune’s archives. One note on the name… I saw "By-The-Bridge" punctuated and capitalized in all different kinds of ways, so I just settled on the version I liked best:
Mrs. Dennis Mahoney of 3702 Minnesota Avenue looks at clothing in the new Goldfine’s By-The-Bridge store in Duluth in 1962. Mrs. Mahoney was the first customer through the doors when the Goldfine family opened its Trading Post 26 years ago, and was given the honor again for the new store. (News-Tribune file photo)
NEW GOLDFINE’S TO OPEN MONDAY
Goldfine’s, Duluth’s newest mass-volume department store, opens its eight electronically operated doors to the public at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
The store management uses "By the Bridge" as the address of the huge new structure to stress the proximity of its Garfield Avenue location to the Duluth-Superior high bridge. Key curves and sweeps of the big bridge are reflected in interior decoration of the block-long store.
The $1.5 million structure displays a $2 million inventory in its 132,000 square feet of sales space. More than 20 merchandising departments and an 18,000-square-foot warehouse are incorporated in the massive concrete block and poured-concrete building.
Opening the store realizes "a cherished dream of our family to build the most modern and reliable shopping facility in this area," said Mrs. Fannie Goldfine Benton, president of Goldfine’s. Her sons are officers of the corporation; Erwin is general manager and Monty is merchandise manager.
Mrs. Benton said the new building "meets our fondest expectations" and is the largest enterprise undertaken by the family. …
The new store replaces Goldfine’s Trading Post building, occupied for 26 years of the company’s 39-year Duluth history. Goldfine’s has closed its Fourth Avenue West carpet and furnishings outlet, but will continue to operate its downtown store at 202 E. Superior St., Monty Goldfine said. …
Exterior of Goldfine’s By-The-Bridge, 1967 (News-Tribune file photo)
The exterior makes extensive use of decorative concrete detailing to break the sheer massiveness of its broad length. Its main entrance is highlighted by an expanse of glass that provides customers of the store’s "Bridge Room" cafeteria with a view of the high bridge and surrounding harbor area.
A 175-ton air-conditioning system and gas heating provide comfortable interior climate. Bright lighting on the main floor hangs from a waffle-patterned poured concrete ceiling that gives the building strength over its wide-open areas.
Use of both pastel and intense wall colors in the interior decor sets off the dominant off-white of the ceiling and the blue-toned tile flooring.
An escalator flanks one side of the glass-doored main entrance; a floating staircase on the other rises to the upstairs cafeteria and furnishings, appliance, sporting goods and carpet departments and store offices. The offices are on a third-floor mezzanine.
Goldfine’s By-The-Bridge, 1968. (George Starkey / News-Tribune)
Apparel items by the hundreds are racked in a huge department near the front door. Women’s and children’s footwear are displayed nearby. Housewares – linens, sheets and towels – men’s and boys’ sections, more than 2,500 children’s dresses, phonograph records, jewelry and cameras, coats, auto supplies, pet items, hardware, china, luggage and toys are readily accessible in the front part of the store.
A huge drug department features prescription service; its neighboring departments offer an enormous display of beauty and health aids and a snack bar.
A grocery supermarket spreads over much of the area at the northwest end of the big building. Seven modern check-out counters are racked in front of 420 lineal feet of shelf racks and counters.
A long conveyor belt system will rush customers’ grocery and meat purchases to wide parking areas at the front of the store.
Upstairs, rack upon rack of major appliances and big displays of fishing tackle and other recreational gear are to be found under bright lighting. …
A concrete ramp stretches up from Garfield Avenue to the four truck bays at the second-floor entrance to the furniture warehouse. …
Parking space for 500 cars stretches along both sides of Garfield Avenue; the Goldfines say 36 individual parcels of property were purchased over a period of several years to provide parking room. …
Goldfine’s By-The-Bridge record, jewelry and clothing departments at the store’s opening, 1962. (News-Tribune file photo)
There was a massive fire in the store in June 1964, followed by a sale of fire-damaged merchandise that drew huge crowds in July. The store reopened in August 1964. In July 1966, the store added a pilot house on the roof. Here’s an article on its opening from the News-Tribune of August 4, 1966:
Crews lower a pilot house on to the roof of Goldfine’s By-The-Bridge on July 6, 1966. (News-Tribune file photo)
PILOT HOUSE WILL HAVE REAL SKIPPER
When Goldfine’s By-The-Bridge opens its new pilot house Friday there will be an authentic Great Lakes skipper at the helm.
Capt. B.F. Davies, a retired 43-year veteran on the Great Lakes and 29 years as a shipmaster, has been engaged as captain of the pilot house recently installed on the roof of Goldfine’s store, 700 Garfield Ave.
The pilot house is from the former Great Lakes carrier Charles S. Hebard of the Wilson Marine Transit Co., a vessel Davies skippered for three years during World War II.
Davies, who supervised the installation of the pilot house, said every possible piece of equipment has been installed to assure authenticity. …
Davies said he is looking forward to meeting tourists and Duluthians when they visit the pilot house beginning Friday. He’ll be available to answer questions about the Great Lakes and, more specifically, about the operation of a huge ore carrier. …
The Goldfine family sold their interest in the store to Unishops Inc. in 1971, though Manley and his brother, Erwin, stayed on in leadership roles until 1977. Unishops went through bankruptcy in the mid-1970s and announced in August 1978 that the Goldfine’s chain – also including stores in Grand Rapids, Willmar and Mankato, Minn., and Des Moines and Sioux City, Iowa - would close because it was losing money.
Goldfine’s By-The-Bridge closed on January 20, 1979, as recounted in this News-Tribune article from the following day:
CITY TRADITION ENDS: GOLDFINE’S IS CLOSED
Its racks picked clean by last-minute bargain hunters, Goldfine’s By-The-Bridge, the Duluth discount department store, shuddered its dying gasp and shuttered its doors for good Saturday.
Its closing brought to an end a Duluth institution begun in 1922 by the late Abe and Fannie Goldfine. …
"We are sad to see the business close, mainly because about 200 people are losing their jobs," said Manley Goldfine who, with his brother Erwin, grew up with the business. …
"An era has come to an end," Manley commented.
The Goldfine’s building survives today as the home of Goodwill Industries.