Robert Hall: Celebrating Winter, Easter or Communion?

Many of my clothes were from a place called Bramsons in South Shore but my winter coats, came from Robert Hall; they were beautifully trimmed with fur and great colors. Some were ski jackets and others were like velvet for dress coats. According to Mom, I could never find a coat that fit my small frame but Robert Hall always had what I needed in winter clothes. I know many boys who got their first suit for their communions at Robert Hall. Men’s suits were very reasonably priced and the store offered free alterations. We shopped at Robert Hall in south Chicago but there was a Robert Hall located all over the city of Chicago. One store was located on Devon Avenue and South State street. And outside of Chicago, there were several suburban locations.

Robert Hall advertising was effective; many of us still today remember the jingles. Les Paul and Mary Ford did many radio spots that included when the values go up, up, up, the prices go, down, down, down because of no overhead. Go, go, to Robert Hall.

Robert Hall Clothier, Inc., popularly known simply as Robert Hall, was an American retailer that flourished from about 1937 to 1977. According to a Time magazine story in 1949, the corporate name was an invention. The founder and head was garment merchant Jacob Schwab and the first store opened in Connecticut but Chicago was a great spot to expand. Later in the late 1970’s, The Robert Hall Villages were an attempt by United Merchants to expand beyond apparel and put some life into their retail lineup, which then consisted of hundreds of aging Robert Hall clothing stores. These stores were mainly located in malls such as Pleasant Valley and North Park Plaza here in Chicago.

In July 1977, United Merchants and Manufacturers, filed for bankruptcy citing losses from the Robert Hall chain as the reason for filing. According to the New York Times, Robert Hall Clothes, the nation’s largest retail chain selling men’s and women’s clothing, padlocked all of its 366 stores in a surprise move that immediately drew charges of a lockout from three unions with which it has contracts.

Mary Ellen Devlen offers some wonderful pictures on her site.

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