End of a Shopping Era: Loehmann's is Closing

The very first Loehmann’s location opened in 1921.

Loehmann’s is closing.

I am not sure how many families care about this news but in our house, it was pretty upsetting.

My two teenage daughters and I love shopping at Loehmann’s. Sure there are tons of places to shop, but Loehmann’s has always been “our spot.” In fact, for the past three years we have set our alarms so that we are among the first shoppers there on Black Friday. Yes, the communal dressing room can be AWKWARD, but with 40% off already marked down prices, my girls and are fine stripping down with other bargain loving ladies.

My girls inherited their love of a bargain from me, and I from my mother.

When I was a teenager, I desperately wanted designer jeans. Jordache, Sergio Valente, Sassoo—I begged my mom explaining that EVERYONE had them and that I NEEDED to have a designer name on my booty.

But my mom shook her head and explained that the jeans I had were just fine, and we could not afford such expensive denim. Furthermore, she said it was total ridiculous what they were charging (I just looked it up and the average retail price of a pair of Jordache jeans in the 80s was $26 – crazy high at the time!)

I was bummed to have to wear a non-brand name on my bum.

A few weeks later my mom said she heard there was a store in Brooklyn that sold designer jeans at discount prices. The store was called Cheap Charlie’s and my mom said we could go check it out. Sure enough they had Jordache jeans there in my size and the price was right for my bargain savvy mom. We both left the store happy. (Side note – to sell the jeans at a discount the store had to black Sharpie the brand name on the pocket … but bygones, these were genuine Jordache jeans after 10 or so washings the black line faded. I wore and washed those jeans a lot!)

My mom just loved discount, be it a coupon, a sale, a discount retailer or just the fine art of haggling. The woman can find a stain or loose thread on a garment and talk her way to 20 % off.  To this day, if someone is on line and has a coupon that she doesn’t have – watch out salesperson!

The brands have changed, my girls covet AG, Joes and J. Brand jeans, but the thrill remains. Just this past December my daughter got a pair of AG jeans that were retailing at a department store for $190 (absurd) for $48 dollars (almost double the cost of the Jordache but I was still pretty pleased).

When my mom brought me to Cheap Charlie’s, I remember thinking she was pretty awesome. I appreciated that even though she didn’t think the jeans were important, she knew they were important to me.

Cheap Charlie’s reminds me of my mom. My girls may forget the prices we paid at Loehmann’s, but I think they will remember the fun we had shopping there together.

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