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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.
STAMPFER'S DEPARTMENT STORE
STAMPFER'S DEPARTMENT STORE. Founded by Joseph Frederick STAMPFER, the department store was the successor of a dry goods store known as Kees and Sullivan. In 1855 Stampfer bought out Kees' interest in the company.TOWN CLOCK served the citizens of Dubuque for ten years. In 1895 the growth of the business led to the need for a larger store which was constructed on the corner of Eighth and Main. (1) The firm of Sullivan and Stampfer continued in operation until 1901 when Stampfer bought his partner's share. In 1908 the firm was incorporated as the J. F. Stampfer Company.
In its brightest years, Stampfer's operated with little concern for competition. A brisk business was carried on in clothing despite its being priced several times higher than in other stores. Customers bought Stampfer's merchandise rather than travel to high-priced stores in Chicago. Furs were sold in a department called the French Room. On May 31, 1927 on the store's 42nd anniversary, the general public was invited to a Mardi Gras themed event featuring the third floor cleared for dancing. Every street car in the city was chartered between 8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. on the morning of June 1, 1927 to bring people to a sale of special merchandise. Other items in the store was not for sale. The release of two hundred balloons was expected to draw special attention because twenty contained five dollar coupons good at the sale. (2) Although privately owned, the store did its buying in association with over fifty other stores. Buying offices were also maintained in New York City and Chicago. (3)
In 1976 F.P. Inc., a corporation from Oskaloosa, Iowa, purchased the store from McCoy-Stampfer's, Inc. of Madison, Wisconsin which had owned the building since 1975. (5)
In 1979 the building was sold to Tom and Mary Graham who announced their intention to rebuild the store's past greatness. In August 1981, citing a delay of Highway 561 and high interest rates, the Grahams declared the business would not reopen.
1. "Stampfer is 45 Years in Dubuque," Dubuque-Herald and Times-Journal, August 24, 1930, p. 54
2. "Stampfer Company Will be Host to Public," Telegraph-Herald and Times Journal, May 31, 1927, p. 14
3. "Stampfer is 45 Years..."
4. "Johnson Hill's of Wisconsin Buys Stampfer's in Dubuque," Telegraph Herald, July 26, 1962, p. 1
5. "Stampfer's Under New Management," Telegraph Herald, June 13, 1976, p. 18
175 Years, Volume 3, "Razzle Dazzle," Telegraph Herald, September 15, 2008