Elder-Beerman, Dayton, Ohio

The Original Elder & Johnston Store at Main & Fourth in Dayton

The Beerman Home Store, later a part of Elder-Beerman

Main at Fourth
Dayton, OH 45401


Street Floor
Fine Jewelry • Costume Jewelry • Accessories • Handbags • Small Leather Goods • Scarves • Gloves • Hosiery • Cosmetics • Umbrellas • Top Shop • Plaza Sportswear • Plaza Shoes • Stationery • Greeting Cards • Candy • Smokeshop • Men’s Accessories • Men’s Furnishings • Male World • Levi Shop • Men’s Clothing • Men’s Sportswear

Second Floor
Shoe Salon • Contemporary Shoes • Millinery • Wigs • Fur Salon • Beauty Salon • Junior Sportswear • Junior Dresses • Junior Coats • Sleepwear • Loungewear • Daywear • Foundations • Plaza Dresses • House and Town Dresses • Women’s World • Ms. Beerman Dresses • Ms. Beerman Sportswear • Ms. Beerman Coats • Plaza Coats • Comtempo • Young Sophisticates • Clubhouse Sportswear
Regency Regency Dresses • Regency Sportswear • Regency Coats

Third Floor
Infants • Toddlers • Boys • Boys’ Accessories • Girls • Girls’ Accessories • Children’s Shoes • Sporting Goods • Toys • Luggage • Housewares • Cookware • Small Electrical Appliances • Gourmet Shop • Vacuum Cleaners • Garden Center • Hardware • Paint and Wallpaper • Books • Cameras • Gourmet Foods • Plaza Restaurant • Optical Service

Fourth Floor
Domestics • Bath Shop • Linens • China • Glassware • Gifts • Silverware • Fabrics • Art Needlework • TV Center • Stereos and Radios • Lamps • Pictures and Mirrors • Floor Coverings • Curtains and Draperies • Furniture • Interior Design Studio • Mattresses • Customer Service


Northwest Plaza (1966)
217,000 sq. ft.

Centerville (1966)
195,000 sq. ft

Hamilton (1968)
Second and High Streets

167,000 sq. ft.

Van Buren (1969)


Fairborn (1969)


Richmond, IN (1974)
100,000 sq. ft.

Lima (1973)
130,000 sq. ft.

Courthouse Plaza (1975)
Second at Ludlow
341,000 sq. ft.

Piqua (1975)

Towne Mall
Franklin (1977)
118,000 sq. ft.


  1. I grew up in Dayton, Ohio and loved this store. I saw the changes over the years and was saddened to see it's decline. I actually ended up working for the Northwest plaza store. Ironically, the downtown Dayton store was turned into a company called Reynolds and Reynolds and I ended up working there too. Now I live in Kentucky. There is an Elder Beerman located in Frankfort but nothing like the wonderful store I loved. Thanks for posting :)

  2. Your top picture shows the south end of the Reibold Building. Elder and Johnston (as it was called) occupied the large north end. I toured it once and found the original Otis escalator and 6th (?) floor enormous skylight. The second picture depicts The Home Store - also in Downtown Dayton - another component of the Elder-Beerman story and empire. Elder-Beerman constructed a totally-new 5-story department store in Downtown Dayton in 1976 - almost unheard of in the US at that late date. That store closed sometime in the mid-90's. It is now an office building. Prior to that construction, "Elder's" most imposing store was at Northwest Plaza -- still in existence, I think, but no longer in a good neighborhood, sadly.

  3. I became familiar with Dayton in the 1970s . . . Elder Beerman was different from its rival Rike's, but can recall that a chance trip one evening to the Centerville store recealed that to be a very attractive branch. On my brother's wedding day in 1976, we ran downtown to that new store to pick up a last minute item. I would have never thought then that Downtown Dayton would be devoid of these great stores by now. A ride through town on a business trip a few years ago was a disappointing experience.

    Thank you for your comments!


  4. I lived in the Morgantown WV area for a short while and was delighted that there was an Elder-Beerman put in the mall close by. It was a little bit of home. :)

  5. I played Santa at the downtown location in the early 90's. I worked nights on Friday - Saturday afternoon and night - Sunday afternoon.
    We had a real Santa that worked the weekend mornings. When I say real I mean he had a white beard, his own suit, a belly, the guy looked like Santa.

    They also had a section of the store dedicated for kids to do their own Christmas shopping. (Santa Land?). Only Children were allowed in the area and they could buy small gifts for their friends or parents.

    On weekend mornings, EB had a Breakfast with (the real) Santa and his Elves in the restraunt. The Elves gave out small gifts. Lots of Singing and clapping and starry eyed children. After the show the kids could get their photo taked and/or do some shopping.
    I covered for Santa once when he was unable to attened. I will never forget that day. Wonderful Times.

    One night the Store Manager asked if I could stay late. A family wanted to get a photo with their daughters and they were running behind. Of course I agreed. They showed up about 1/2 hour late. It was a proud Father, Mother, and their two daughters home from College! :-) They said they had got their family photo with Santa, at Elder-Beermans, every year since the girls were babies (1970's).

    Towards the end, on the night shift, I would sit or walk the store for hours with my elf and we would not see a single child. Sad.

    It was still the best job I ever had.

    Merry Christmas
    Santa's Helper

  6. i worked at the elder beerman east town location during high school....from there i was sent into their management training program at a very early age...i had no idea what i was getting myself into...they promoting me quickly and i worked at: northwest, richmond, hamilton, sandusky, zanesville and finally fairborn where i was FIRED...wasn't funny then, but little did i know they did me a HUGE favor as i moved to los angeles shortly thereafter where i've lived for 25 years....aw, but i do have a lot of fond memories of my times there, including some downtown dayton days stints, the beerman thanksgiving day meals for the less fortunate, and a lot of good, hard-working staff....would love to hear from anyone who remembers me :-)
    shawn hickey gunnarproduction@aol.com

  7. I worked at the Downtown Hamilton Elder-Beerman in the early/mid 1990s. There were 6 sales floors: furniture and electronics in the "blue" building across the street, and clothing plus bargain basement in the newer, "brown" building.

    I was in charge of the employee newsletter, and I got in trouble once. I wrote a (false) story that Elder-Beerman was formed by two Beerman brothers, and each wanted to name the store after himself. They fought about the name until one brother passed away, and that left the other brother to finally name the store after himself. The brother who passed away was the Younger Beerman, and the surviving brother was the Elder Beerman. I was called into the management office and given a verbal warning over that one...

    I was written up one other time. Elder-Beerman had a strict dress code that required suit and tie at all times, every day. I took my suit coat off and placed it on the sales counter while I was moving some boxes. A manager saw me out of dress code and wrote me up. Funny thing, though... people complain about formal dress now, and ever since I worked at Elder-Beerman, I've always worn suits to work, regardless of dress code.

    While I was one of many temporary part time employees, the full timers were senior ladies who were there to stay. They were 80 years old with blue hair when I worked there. About 15 years later, my wife got a job in Oxford. On the way up once, we drove by Elder Beerman. I slammed on the brakes in an instant, and said, "Let's stop in, for old time's sake." All of the blue haired ladies were still there, and they all remembered me. The store was down to three sales floors, from six. A few years later, the store closed. What a sad day.

  8. Elder and Johnson was a much classier store than when it became Elder-Beerman. Used to shop and Elder and Johnson frequently when I was growing up. There really is no comparison between the original and what it is today.

  9. I worked at the Elder-Beerman in Hamilton in the ‘70s. What a great store! And what great times we had. It was a first class store and back then, it was truly the hayday of shopping. There were 3 floors + the bargain basement in the department store itself. The fashion floor included a bridal department and a hat department. We even carried boy scout and girl scout patches. We also had a restaurant that served a darned good meal. It was a time when there was full service given. When you shopped, there were people there who assisted you in your selections. And we were continuously cleaning and straightened the shelves and racks to ensure you had the ultimate shopping experience. There was also a tailor on staff. We even had a gift wrap department right instide the lay-away department. The gift wrap department hummed during the holidays! That’s where I learned to wrap a fancy looking package. We had the candy counter that sold fresh, warm nuts. I worked there for 5 years and it was truly a family. I remember standing in line to clock-in with our time cards and having a very specific dress code. Hose were always required and no slacks for women. Those were good times.

  10. I have such fond memorys of elderbeermans in hamiliton ohio!.. loved the candy dept where u could get the best freshest candys and nuts, every sat I was on moms hand as we went through the store for what every she was looking for at the time, I can still at 54 remember how the depts. looked, and the great restaurant we ate at long after I was married every week, and when I was little the santa across the street in his little santa house, that was the highlight of Christmas time, and all the beautiful window displays they always put up... I also was trained there for a job in a newer elder beermans that opened up in the 8os at the forrest fair mall in Fairfield ohio.. sure miss those good old stores. nothing like them these days.. ticked to find this site!!!...

  11. I have vivid memories of Rike's Department store downtown. The Christmas display of Santa's sleigh and the reindeer across the front of the store on the Main Street elevation.

    It was a terrific store to shop in. Offered excellent goods in every department too! My mother shopped there often. Everything from clothes to furniture and in between.

    I remember being a small boy of 4 or 5 and going to the store with my mother. She would shop and I would explore what was on the floor while she busy. Then she would take me to lunch in the store

  12. I worked downtown in 1972 at E.F. McDonald Co. & loved to walk the downtown area during lunch & visited the various stores. The arcade is where we girls often ate fish platters, Downtown Dayton was a special place, I never thought it would disappear!

  13. My mother was a model for Elder & Johnston's in 1938-1940.I have newspaper photos of her with several other models from 1940.

  14. Betty Bonner was the personal shopper for Elder Beerman.

  15. I so enjoy reading the above comments about this wonderful downtown Dayton store. I first shopped at The Home Store (what we called it) with my dear grandmother in the late 1950's. Rike's was great, of course, but Beerman's suited our then modest taste and wallets. As I recall the store was L shaped with entrances on both Main and Third Streets. The highlight of our year was not Christmas shopping but making our purchases for school clothes via "lay away" payments. What a thrill it was to pick up those new clothes after a long summer of making payments. Oh, I was in the old Elder's on South Main Street on only one occasion and for only a few minutes so I have no memories of that store. Also, Mr. Arthur Beerman was quite a philanthropist, as I recall, and for many years he provided free Thanksgiving dinners to anyone in the community. Loved my Home Store memories from back in the day! Mike Snyder, Louisville, Ohio

  16. I was born in Dayton, OH and lived in Beavercreek, until I moved to MT, in 1986. After HS, I worked at First Nat'l Bank, at One First Nat's Plaza. On my lunch hour I would walk through Elder Beermans and Rikes dept stores. I LOVED those stores. They were just beautiful & it was so much fun to be there at Christmas time. I loved going there with my family, as a child, to see all the decorated and animated windows! I'm so glad I lived in that era.


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