Olympic Reaches Finish Line

The rumors reported here were indeed true. Olympic has closed its doors to prepare for its “huge quitting business sale.” The store, now plastered with signs announcing that the end is near, also has a stack of invitations to the final “End of an Era” sale, left by the owners, the Franciose family. From the flyer…

We are closing our doors forever. All of our merchandise, store fixtures, furniture and equipment must be sold. You are the first to know. We are extending a special invitation to our local customers and wonderful friends like you to come to outrstore on October 19th through October 25th, one week before we publicly announce this sale in the newspaper. Only those who receive an invitation are invited. However, feel free to bring a friend or relative as your guest. Our opening is on Thursday, October 19th at 9 am sharp!
A fantastic prize contest is part of this sale. To get you started toward winning — simply return this invitation to the store on Thursday, October 19th, and you’ll recieve 1,000 Bonus Prize Dollars just for stopping by.

I’ve got a golden ticket. Run over to the store before these special invitations are all snapped up.

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96 COMMENTS

  1. I feel a little bit sad that this Montclair landmark is biting the dust, but I can’t say I’ve ever thought of it as a place to shop for clothes.
    Seems like a place that wealthy WASPS would go to buy their preppy clothes and Topsiders to hang out on their boats in Nantucket.
    Correct me if I’m wrong!

  2. Say Barista…is there still a way to get that special invite for their end sale?
    And…we all should thank the Franciose family for the many years here in Montclair..They have support many town activities…and Jim has been a major player with the MVAC.
    Good Luck to them all..and Thanks.
    Wayne Robbins

  3. Thanks, Wayne– sounds like they’ve contributed a lot to the community– I wish them health and happiness in the next phase of their lives.
    Melinda

  4. The special invites were on the door, in a box, for folks to take. Not sure how many are there at the moment — or whether they will be replenished. Go and take a peek.

  5. Why did they close their doors? Was the business unprofitable? Couldn’t they have sold it if that were the case? Or is it just a matter of selling or renting the building so they could make LOTS more money?

  6. Hiding – What if they do want to rent the building out so they can make more money? What’s wrong with that?

  7. The closing of Olympic is truly the end of an era. The privately owned department stores have all but disappeared. When I first moved to the area in the early nineties, my elderly mother would visit from the Chicago area and she loved to shop at Olympic. She received a measure of service and attention lacking in the bigger stores and something she remembered from earlier days. Olympic was one of our favorite stops on her visits and I have fond memories of those times. Good luck to the owners in the future.

  8. we liked the place. a little preppy for our everyday stuff but great for gifts and the occasional sunday-go-to-meeting clothes. the lady who selected the women’s bags was great at her job. it was a store that didn’t have music blaring at you constantly. it’s a family owned business and some of them wanted to retire and so it seemed time to do so. yes, it was expensive…but i always figured the gas and time i saved coupled with the above was well worth it. besides. montclair really needs another bank, doncha think?

  9. Ironically, Jim Franciose is being honored with a Business Award this week by Montclair Economic Development Corp. For those who don’t know, his dad was an Olympic biker in the 1930s or 40s. For the past half century, the store has risen and fallen with economic cycles and the mallization of America, a trend that is waning at the moment as people turn more to the convenience of strip malls.

  10. Hey, elderly mothers need somewhere to shop, too. Nothing wrong with that. We’re all gonna be there someday (hopefully!)
    And some of those elderly mothers are pretty sharp dressers. No sloppy bra straps showing or too-tight belly shirts for them!

  11. We’re all gonna be there someday (hopefully!)
    Hopefully not. Living out the worst years of life is not one of my dreams. Enjoy today.

  12. So, what is going to go in the location? It is so central and well positioned for retail or community center? Anyone know?

  13. Hiding – What if they do want to rent the building out so they can make more money? What’s wrong with that?
    Posted by: Sleepysleek | October 15, 2006 12:04 PM
    Absolutely nothing! And it’s certainly in keeping with the times!
    Have a net worth of half a billion? Let’s go for a billion!! (not that these folks do)
    America: The land of more, more, more

  14. It was a family decision. Jim wanted to keep the store open, other members of his family did not. I will miss the store and Jim’s contribution to the Montclair community

  15. It will give the family more time to watch the NY Football Giants….hey, Lee, how bout them Giants.
    Tiki Rocks

  16. Ice, Ice Baby!
    Tiki is a beast! But Big Blue D mauled the Falcons. 7 sacks? Incredible. Isn’t it such a weird stat that the last 10 times the Falcons played the Giants, the visiting team won? I’m just glad they played in the Peach Bowl. Well, gotta root those J-E-T-S, Jets Jets Jets!
    GO BLUE!

  17. The big question is, what will be going into that space?…And, since the family that owns Olympic also owns the building, they will probably do very well as just landlords…as they are at the Williams Sonoma building down the block.

  18. The big question is, what will be going into that space?…And, since the family that owns Olympic also owns the building, they will probably do very well as just landlords…as they are at the Williams Sonoma building down the block.

  19. As a 30 year old I went into this store and got fitted (properly) for the first time in my life for a bra. I never realized that I was wearing the wrong size bra my entire (adult) life. I will be sad to see this place go.

  20. I for one am glad Williams-Sonoma is in town. I remember when I first moved here and needed some things for my kitchen. I also didn’t know my way around Jersey yet. I remember thinking it would be cool if there was a kitchen-type store in town. Voila…one came soon after. Same with the woman’s shoe store at Watchung Plaza. Now, if we could only get a CD store and a MAC store I never would have to leave Montclair.

  21. There used to be a CD store on Valley near the Cheese Shop and prior to that there was a record store in Upper and in Montclair (complete with listening booth where I was convinced to buy The Miracles first album). Places like Tower Records (which is now going under) killed them.

  22. The style was totally out of touch with what people in (and around) Montclair wear.
    And the people who did aspire to that world came off looking totally affected, like pathetic Great Neck wannabes in Jersay.

  23. “And the people who did aspire to that world came off looking totally affected, like pathetic Great Neck wannabes in Jersay.”
    Don’t know what you mean. Could you describe that look?

  24. I disagree with you. And the people who know me and mine know we are not the prepsters from hell. Olympic provided excellent service…a certain kind of clothes that worked for certain kinds of events…..sales people were nice, considerate and helpful. Yes. It cost a lot to shop there. But Olympic never sent out a bunch of pleas…..”please shop with us or the terrorists will win” etc. Why do people always want to find a conspiracy in EVERYTHING? It is tiresome.

  25. Must be nice to have the cash to shop at a Williams-Sonoma or the ridiculously priced shoe stores in town. Maybe some of these stores go out of business because a lot of us are too strapped paying our taxes and mortgages to be able to drop $200 for a frying pan. Not everybody in this town is wealthy.

  26. Spare me the jealousy about who can afford to shop where while simultaneously complaining about taxes. Anybody who bought a house in Jersey for the last decade or so knew property taxes were out of whack and so moving to Montclair and then crying poormouth means you either are a novice or knave. Additionally, you should be glad that someone is willing to shop at W-S etc because it is precisely that kind of store that brings in “ratables” thereby helping the town, county and state. Do you complain just to complain?

  27. And back to Olympic…plenty of leaflets in the door. They do a very nice trade in the Vera Badley printed cotton handbags, etc.–favored by old ladies and preteens alike (and those in between!). And they were always good for gloves, handkerchiefs–the old-fashioned staples. If they had updated their regular line of clothes they would have had broader appeal, for sure.

  28. I had my first proper jock strap fitting there. I never knew my package holder didn’t fit right.
    They will be missed.

  29. So many bitter people on this board. I guess valuing the individual and diversity doesn’t extend to those wearing Polo shirts. So, now it’s OK to be predjudiced against someone based on where they shop for clothes? Bunch of fuc*ing hypocrites around here.

  30. Someone wrote-
    ” Anybody who bought a house in Jersey for the last decade or so knew property taxes were out of whack and so moving to Montclair and then crying poormouth means you either are a novice or knave.”
    How about someone who moved here 15 years ago, and bought a lower-priced house? And is STILL having trouble making ends meet? Not everybody here has the disposable cash to shop at a Williams-Sonoma, or patronize some outrageously priced shoe store when Martys is just down the road.
    Yes, ratables are sorely needed, but it would be nice to have some stores here that cater to the needs of those of us who cannot afford $300 colanders.

  31. “I had my first proper jock strap fitting there. I never knew my package holder didn’t fit right. ”
    WOW, I guess I better get right down there. I’ve never had anyone offer to fit my “package holder”

  32. “Yes, ratables are sorely needed, but it would be nice to have some stores here that cater to the needs of those of us who cannot afford $300 colanders.”
    Agreed. But they probably couldn’t make the bloated rent payments.

  33. Not Loaded – You can’t afford to shop at Williiams Sonoma, so you denigrate it? Sour grapes, and nobody’s problem but yours. There are plenty of places to buy cheap kitchen goods, but none of them are on that particular block on Valley Road. Deal with it & quit hating on affluent people.
    I too would love to see an Apple store go in there. CD stores are a thing of the past, though.

  34. “Schupo,
    in case you haven’t heard- Nicotine IS a drug”
    Hypertechnicality. People will argue that tobacco is a mind altering substance, but it certainly doesn’t affect you in a way that any rational person would consider “mind-altering”. No more than, say, water is a mind altering drug.

  35. It’s clear that these blogs are always filled up with people fighting about something that has NOTHING to do with the topic at hand. So let’s try to get back to that. Can you not just say, Thank you for all your years in Montclair and for giving the community a family business that is so rare to find these days. Let’s not also forget that Montclair was once home of the prep. Where Lily Pulitzer, Polo and Lacoste ruled all the schools and the street. Most of which was bought in the Olympic Shop. Before Montclair was invaded by Brooklinites and New Yorkers. And another thing, I’ve lived in Montclair al of my life. I’ve seen the taxes go up up and up and the prices of homes sky rocket. But I choose to stay and pay those ridiculous prices because I want to. I can move at any time. If your sick of the prices and taxes then move. It’s a struggle for all of us but it’s always a CHOICE.

  36. Before you all post negatives opinions about the Olympic Shop closing, get your facts straight. If you live in the Mtc/Up Mtc areas don’t condemn until you have true facts. Yes, the Olympic Shop is closing but do you realize what the business has done for your town in the last 60 years and what it means to close? You’re all so fast to judge finances but if you are complaining about the high cost of living in Montclair, do you think it’s any different for business owners? The Olympic Shop may not be your cup of tea but it’s provided much support for the town in functions, charities and the MTC Ambulance Unit, that you may have no idea about. If you found the store not what you wanted, then you always had the option of going somewhere else. It’s been a main staple in town and Jim Franciose, the son of Mickey Franciose,has worked 6 days a week for 30 years, devoted his life to continue the business his father established. A customer oriented store! 2 years ago, Mickey passed away, Jim continued his father’s legacy.
    The Store will be missed!!!

  37. So what’s going in its place? Pottery Barn? Banana Republic? Trader Joes?
    What about an American Apparel?

  38. Now there is no place in town to buy quality pantyhose! Olympic..thanks and we will miss you.

  39. they just opened a dog hotel & spa in verona on pompton avenue called “4 paws stay and play”, it’s close to bloomfield ave on route 23.

  40. no, the “Life is Good” shop is replacing the eyeglass/sunglass shop. I heard a rumor that a bakery is replacing Orion.
    If true, that would be great!!!

  41. Its funny how the new Montclair folk are looking down at Olympic as some undesirable store for prepsters and the rich. Well, until all of you wierd artsy NY transplants, who look like you haven’t showered or washed you clothes in weeks, showed up that is exactly what Montclair was. As a former MHS student, I drive by the high school now and thank God I grew up here when I did. Everyone is wearing these baggy jeans sagging below their ass with long hair or mohawks and smoking cigarettes. Its no wonder the football team loses 68-0, the profile of the Montclair student has drastically changed over the last 15 years.
    I used to go to Olympic to shop for nice clothing, like suits, overcoats, shoes, etc. These items are worn by those with some class and decorum. Maybe if they opened a tatoo parlor and body piercing store for the new Montclair folk, it will be successful. Or how about a grunge clothing store, that would be super.

  42. Between Orion, the Olympic shop, and numerous others we are seeing the end of the era of individual owned stores. It seems to me that the only people that can afford the rent is large chains like the Gap and William Sonoma. It’s sad. When i lived in Charleston, SC, everyone loved to shop on King street because it offered eclectic and interesting local stores. The more popular the shopping became the higher the rent the buildings became. Soon those interesting shops left and were replaced by expensive corporate stores like Banana Republic Lacosse, and so on and so forth. Eventually the entire street turned out to look like a strip mall with no local individuality or charm. Guess what happens next. The shopper goes to the mall rather then the town and the town is in a financial decline.

  43. Let’s all gather to celebrate Roady’s 120th birthday!
    I can’t wait for him to open my gift…a box of Depends undergarments! He’ll be so happy his dentures will chatter with glee!

  44. Camel,
    You cannot blame a landlord for achieving as high a rent roll as possible, that is for better or worse what this country is built on…capitalism. This has always been a wealthy town and the profile of the local merchant is unfortunately changing. We are still lucky enough to have a few local business’ and its your choice to support them by shopping there. Hardware stores are a great example, in most towns they have been put out of business by Home Depot and Lowes, but they are supported by many local contractors and have survived at least for now.

  45. Roady, Don’t come crying to me when Bloomfield Avenue and Valley Road start resembling Route 22 in Springfield & Union…yuck!

  46. Interesting about the hardware stores, isn’t it? I’d never think of buying clothes at Olympic, but I patronize Saunders very faithfully. (And I’m one of those weird immigrants from NY whom Roady is down on – only been here eight years, my kid looks totally punk rock, and neither he nor I could give a crap about the football team.)

  47. Sleepysleek,
    Thanks for your input. I just think that punk rocking kids sitting around looking like complete freaks and doing nothing productive is unfortunate. Sports teaches a kid a lot about life, team work, discipline, physical fitness, and competitiveness. All of these things can benefit them in the future.

  48. Roady, I’m not down on sports in general. I’ve got one kid who’s a very competitive swimmer, and it gives her all the benefits of which you speak. The punky guy only gets exercise on a skateboard, but he’s a pretty serious musician, so he gets plenty of discipline and teamwork there.
    Football, though, has always seemed annoyingly militaristic to me. Some jar-head coach yelling all the time, and all that repressed homosexuality.
    I took ballet and jazz dance in high school – the gayness was more upfront and honest, and I got to be a rare straight guy in a milieu of toned, cute girls. I’d sooner steer my son in that direction than see him grunting on a football field. But to each his own.

  49. I totally appreciate the local appreciation for individually owned shops and honestly, i try to support the local establishments as much as i can but to blame “greedy landlords” for their decline is just faulty reasoning.
    Not everything is the fault of developers. What does everyone here do for a living? Let’s take a poll and then let everyone try their hardest to point out how their professions could possibly result in unpopular decisions. You professionals out there, are you charging rates that absolutely everyone can afford? Are you teachers all teaching in the worst school districts to make them better? If you own a shop and you buy your goods wholesale, are you turning around and selling them wholesale because to make a profit would be greedy?
    The developers of the marlboro should’ve put 2 houses on the site because more is greedy right? The owners of Olympic should’ve stayed in business even though i’m sure they’re getting killed by large chains because the alternative makes the town look more like a strip mall right? I want to find one person who is willing to purchase a property, and donate it to some sort of good use. Go ahead, you can all be developers if you want to be, throw away 2 million dollars to buy a building in upper montclair and rent it to someone for 1000 a month just to save the face of the town. Why aren’t you all doing that? And by the way, when you sell your house, make sure to get it appraised and sell it for half that value because you’re contributing to the town turning into Short Hills.

  50. Hiding, I get the point w/ the free market stuff, but you oversimplify. Re your first example: Of course there’d have been no profit (or very little) in putting two hoses on the Marlboro site. but instead they put 10 houses there, and how much profit have they made? None – because no one wants the stupid things. So too much greed will mess up your profit margin just as badly as too much generosity.

  51. Why would someone put HOSES on the site of the Marlboro Inn?
    What would they do with them.

  52. Sleepyseek, i disagree. The developers haven’t made a profit because the houses are ugly and out of whack with the landscape. I’m not trying to defend them by saying it’s a wonderful development, simply defending their decision to maximize its utility. Had they built 10 houses that were attractive and targeted more of a montclair market i think they would be doing very well. Additionally, nobody is doing well on new developments, the Walnut Lofts haven’t sold, the upper montclair townhouses, the townhouses where the old hospital was. I think their lack of profit is more of an indication of the market rather than people spiting them because of greed.

  53. As a 50 year old, I went into this store and got fitted (properly), for the first time in my life, for a jock strap. I never realized that I was wearing the wrong size jock my entire (adult) life. I will be sad to see this place go. Boo Hoo.

  54. I found it interesting that I was mailed one of these invitations. I have never even set foot in the store (fine for others, just not my taste/budget from what I understood), so I don’t quite understand how I am on their mailing list, especially when the piece of mail was specifically addressed in my name…?

  55. “kim” and “hrhppg “,
    Thank you for complementing me on my professional BRA fitting skills. Sizing for bras is not easy and it takes great concentration and hand cupping skill. Not many of us are left that still size the ladies by touch. I have a real gift and love my work. Well, I never actually worked at Olympic. I just “volunteered” my great skills once in a while in the Unmentionables Section. I apologize if you thought I actually worked there. We did both benefit from it though….a sort of “tit-for-tat” if I may? To all my lovely ladies in town throughout the years, thanks for the mammaries!

  56. so i could park my black Ford Crown Victoria (license plate ending 227p) illegally directly in front of the Cozy End Monday about 1:30 p.m. so I could enjoy a leisurely lunch while two elderly people waited for the rain to abate and they could walk to their legally parked car far, far away.

  57. Biff Beeftower for Mayor!
    And sleepyseek, this was hilarious:

    Football, though, has always seemed annoyingly militaristic to me. Some jar-head coach yelling all the time, and all that repressed homosexuality.
    I took ballet and jazz dance in high school – the gayness was more upfront and honest, and I got to be a rare straight guy in a milieu of toned, cute girls. I’d sooner steer my son in that direction than see him grunting on a football field. But to each his own.

  58. Biff Beeftower for Mayor!
    And sleepyseek, this was hilarious:

    Football, though, has always seemed annoyingly militaristic to me. Some jar-head coach yelling all the time, and all that repressed homosexuality.

    I took ballet and jazz dance in high school – the gayness was more upfront and honest, and I got to be a rare straight guy in a milieu of toned, cute girls. I’d sooner steer my son in that direction than see him grunting on a football field. But to each his own.

  59. I would rather undergo a root canal than watch kids, or anyone for that matter, play baseball. I just think that is just about the MOST BORING GAME in God’s creation.

  60. This would be a great location for a bank. I take Lorraine to get to the Upper Mountain train station, and whenever I need to use an ATM, I have to walk all the way to the Chase on the corner of Bellevue. A bank would be much more convenient for me.

  61. Its great to see that Montclair will have the best halftime show in the state with all the long haired hippy musicians who’s artsy liberal parents have taught them that sports are boring and physical activity is barbaric and milataristic. Sleepysleek, I have never heard such a wimpy feminine comment, but oddly enough I think you represent what Montclair has turned into. I am thankful that I made the decision to move one town to the East.

  62. Roady,
    Please move further. Your comment
    ” I have never heard such a wimpy feminine comment”
    is particularly offensive.
    I hope the women in your life read it a realize how overtly homosexual you are.

  63. For the record, in addition to the hot fashion trend that Vera Bradley has become, Olympic also carries Brighton bags and jewelry. Pricey but beautifully crafted leather bags. Hard to find. Certainly not in Macy’s or Bloomies. Also, their Girls toddler to size 16 department was awesome. Everything from trendy to traditional. The woman who was the buyer for the girls’ clothing and the bags is one classy lady! Also, need a blue blazer & dockers for your son? No need to go to the mall.
    I know most think of Olympic as a stuffy, preppy, old-people’s store but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
    I will miss the store & the great people who work there. They are the picture of class!
    As for what will replace? My vote would be for Pottery Barn.

  64. For the record, in addition to the hot fashion trend that Vera Bradley has become, Olympic also carries Brighton bags and jewelry. Pricey but beautifully crafted leather bags. Hard to find. Certainly not in Macy’s or Bloomies. Also, their Girls toddler to size 16 department was awesome. Everything from trendy to traditional. The woman who was the buyer for the girls’ clothing and the bags is one classy lady! Also, need a blue blazer & dockers for your son? No need to go to the mall.
    I know most think of Olympic as a stuffy, preppy, old-people’s store but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
    I will miss the store & the great people who work there. They are the picture of class!
    As for what will replace? My vote would be for Pottery Barn.

  65. For the record, in addition to the hot fashion trend that Vera Bradley has become, Olympic also carries Brighton bags and jewelry. Pricey but beautifully crafted leather bags. Hard to find. Certainly not in Macy’s or Bloomies. Also, their Girls toddler to size 16 department was awesome. Everything from trendy to traditional. The woman who was the buyer for the girls’ clothing and the bags is one classy lady! Also, need a blue blazer & dockers for your son? No need to go to the mall.
    I know most think of Olympic as a stuffy, preppy, old-people’s store but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
    I will miss the store & the great people who work there. They are the picture of class!
    As for what will replace? My vote would be for Pottery Barn.

  66. For the record, in addition to the hot fashion trend that Vera Bradley has become, Olympic also carries Brighton bags and jewelry. Pricey but beautifully crafted leather bags. Hard to find. Certainly not in Macy’s or Bloomies. Also, their Girls toddler to size 16 department was awesome. Everything from trendy to traditional. The woman who was the buyer for the girls’ clothing and the bags is one classy lady! Also, need a blue blazer & dockers for your son? No need to go to the mall.
    I know most think of Olympic as a stuffy, preppy, old-people’s store but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
    I will miss the store & the great people who work there. They are the picture of class!
    As for what will replace? My vote would be for Pottery Barn.

  67. When I had the joyous luxury of working in an office right in the Upper Mtc. business district, 2 miles from home, I did lots of shopping on my lunch hour at Olympic and other stores. I am one of those “bought our house 16 years ago and barely scraping by” types, but the above comments are so true – Olympic had quality merchandise, convenience, and the type of old-fashioned customer service you don’t find in Target.
    I too spent some time in the “unmentionables” department, bought quality pantyhose for a change (as opposed to the junk sold at CVS or ShopRite), and even found some of those warm, sweatery tights for my young daughter’s holiday outfit, which otherwise I probably would have had to order from some catalog in Sweden.
    I was always able to find thoughtful, reasonably priced gifts at Olympic, too.
    Mr. Franciose did a lot to support our town, and he will be missed.

  68. no, no, no! Olympic can’t close!!!! it’s an institution! it’s a landmark! it’s an outrage! sniff. boo hoo. i bought one of my older sons’ first “big boy” suits there! awww, this is too much. all this change – man, i’m getting too old for this!

  69. Just checking back on this thread after 2 days absence –
    Roady! Gotta love that “I have never heard such a wimpy feminine comment” response. Yes I’m much more feminine than a he-man like yourself. I’m a hetero girly man, and always have been. You know what it got me in my teens and twenties? Copiously laid.
    Then in my thirties I married one of those artsy-guy-loving hotties, and we moved here to Montclair and drove you out! Yee ha, adios… and we’ll see you at the long-haired artsy hippie half-time show. (though I’m more of a bald artsy punker.)

  70. I’ve been in UpMo since 1992, the year the haberdasher at the corner of Bellevue and Valley (where Baby Boom is) closed. Olympic was going strong at that time, but the meaning of the opening of the Gap and ultimately Williams-Sonoma was very clear: the independent owned and operated was no longer viable.
    “Coldstone Creamery”. “Life is Good” (technically not a franchise, but…). Word on the street (via a well-connected mommy mafia): in spite of the “for rent” signs, Olympic will turn into an Abercrombie.
    Now the New York crowd has a good reason to sit backwards downstairs on weekend service to visit our fair burg.

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