The Lion Store, Toledo, Ohio

Read about The Lion Store in the
new book by Bruce Allen Kopytek

ON NOVEMBER 29th, 2014 FROM 11 am until 1 pm.
The Lion Store's physical plant, shown here from
the corner of Adams and St. Clair Sts., consisted
of a number of connected buildings on Summit,
Adams, and St. Clair Streets.

The oldest portion of The Lion Store was known
as the "annex" and fronted on Summit Street.

Around the corner, On Adams St.,
The Lion Store's eastern-most
component was a three-story

Just to the west along Adams St. was a
lower, older structure which turned the
corner around to St. Clair St.

The façade of the corner building was the same on both

Continuing north on St. Clair St. was this
3-story portion, similar in design to
the one around the corner on Adams St.

The next section of the store was a two
story storefront without an entrance.

A more modern two-story section next
to the previous one also had no entrance.

The final component of the store on St.
Clair St. was a 5-story commercial
structure of four bays.

In later years, the whole ensemble was
painted white in order to unify the various
buildings into one, but the cobbled-
together nature of the store remained.

The Lion Dry Goods Co. (The Lion Store) (1857)
St. Clair, Adams and Summit Streets
Toledo, Ohio

Lower Floor
China • Silverware • Gifts • Housewares • Small Appliances • Clocks • Toys
The Lion Thrift Basement

Street Floor
Fine Jewelry • Jewelry • Watch Repair • Hosiery • Slipper Bar • Wig Bar • Hat Bar • Neckwear • Accessories • Umbrellas • Handbags • Small Leather Goods • Gloves • Popular Sportswear • Budget Lingerie • Cosmetics • Notions • Drugs • Stationery • Books • Records • Candy • Gourmet Shop • Trim the Tree Shop • The Copper Kettle Restuarant • Men's Furnishings • Men's Dress Shirts • Men's Sport Shirts • Men's Sportswear • Men's Clothing • Young Men's 11th Hour Shop • Rivets Shop • Men's Shoes • Men's Hats
Street Floor Annex B • Linens • Bath Shop
Street Floor Annex C Luggage • Art Needlework • Art Goods • Sewing Machines • Fashion Fabrics
Summit Street Annex Appliance Center

Second Floor
Dresses • Sportswear • Formal Shop • Suits • Fashion Coats • Women's World • Better Dresses • Designer Dresses • "77 " Shop • Sophisticate Shop • Ottawa Room • Fur Salon • Millinery • Bridal Shop • "Tempo" Shop • Junior Dresses • Junior Sportswear • Junior Fashion Coats • Young Juniors • Women's Shoes
Children's World Infants' Shop • Kindergarten • Infants' Furniture • Jr. Girls' Shop • Girls' Shop • Jr. Teens' Shop • Boys' Shop • Jr. Boys' Shop • Children's Shoes • Beauty Salon
Second Floor Mezzanine Casual Dresses • Casual Sportswear • Popular Dresses

Third Floor
Draperies • Floor Coverings • Mirrors • Pictures • Lamps • Furniture

Bowling Green
145 N. Main Street
May, 1944

217-219 South Front Street
November, 1950

Central at Secor
August, 1957
100,000 s.f.

August, 1972
Reynolds at Ryan Roads

North Towne
August, 1980
Alexis Road at 1-75

Coming in Due Course


  1. I went a couple of times to the Lion Store in Fremont, but it was closed by 1970. I went more often to the store in Westgate. It was near my great-aunt's home there, and she would take us there as a real treat. I remember it well as it was my first escalator ride. It was still there when my daughter was a toddler and I took her to see TV favorites Patches and Pockets. Lion turned it into a home store when they took over an empty building (Lamsons?) at the Franklin Park Mall in the 1980s. The Westgate building remained open after Dillard's bought the chain and it closed in the late 1990s. Westgate was torn down in the 2000s, but rebuilt and has a Costco and some smaller stores. The Southwyck store was closed and demolished also in the 2000s. Northtown closed in the 1990s, although the building is there no stores are open.

  2. They took over Lamson's space at Southwyck, not Franklin Park. That space was Jacobson's. Bowling Green was gone by the 70s.

  3. My Grandfather was AJ Pete, career-long employee [ahhhh for those days again!] and later President of the Lion Store from about 1934-1959 [?] He believed in the expansion of Toledo to the west/northwest after WW2 and committed Lion to anchor the new development at Westgate.

    Quite a man. I wish often that I had the opportunity to have known him more deeply!

  4. there was a location in downtown toledo that featured 2 lions at the enterance of the store.There was a picture of my mom sitting on one of those lions to keep the contractor from removing them.that had to be back in the late 60's

  5. The original flagpole from the downtown location flew over the gold lions (above post). When the store closed, that flagpole was turned into our family lamppost.

    Marvin Yaffe was the men's clothing buyer and met our mother, Zandra while she was working in the shoe department.

    That flag/ lamppost adorned our driveway till it rusted in half, 20 years after our parents had passed away.

    1. This blog is bringing back some old memories. I know at some point that I must have met your father. My Dad was Leon Winbigler and I know that Marvin was at Lion during my Dad's tenure as president (1961-1973). He always spoke highly of your Dad. A very distinctive name that I immediately recognized.

  6. Actually, Franklin Park Mall (now Westfield) built a fourth "wing" in the early 90's and the Lion Store was its anchor department store. Dillard's now is in the space. Jacobson's was demolished in the early 2000's and replaced with a movie theater, food court and Dick's Sporting Goods.

    My grandmother used to take me by bus to the Downtown Lion Store in the 70's. I remember she always bought a bottle of lavender bubble bath that I think was made with the Lion Store name on it.

  7. Sharon Gunn Troutman15 September, 2012 13:34

    My Grandmother, Bertha Gunn, worked as a saleslady at Lion downtown in the Better Dresses Department! She always corrected people who mentioned she worked in dresses that no it was "better dresses"! My brother and I would take the bus from The Colony area to visit my Grandma. She would take us to lunch at the Woolworth lunch counter and we thought that was so cool! I remember walking over the grates in the sidewalks and being concerned about falling in!

  8. I remember getting up early and walking to the great Southwyck Mall, to go to work for the Lion furniture department. I had 27 years in this department of selling great lines of furniture and bedding. Most often being the top salesman and being rewarded by mention from top management of the store. Unfortunately today where the Lion store once stood is nothing but a open field with weeds knee high, and no one seems to care of the area anymore.

    1. My dad sold carpet at lion store for years Larry brooks is his name

  9. One of the great joys of going to the Lion Store with my mother in the 1920’s & 1930’s was seeing and sometimes sitting astride the life-sized stone lions that stood on the sidewalk outside the entrance. As mentioned in a memory shown above that is dated 11 Nov 2011, there were two of them. Whether they were carved out of solid stone or molded out of some kind of concrete-like substance, I don’t know, but they were brown and beautifully polished and always exciting to see.

  10. One of the funny traditions in our family at Christmas is who is going to get the one Lion's box we still have.

  11. Wasn't there a Lions at Westgate shopping center in the 60's?

  12. Yes, please look more closely at the exhibit.

  13. My grand mother, Ida Fox, was the Lion Store Notions buyer downtown (1940s-early 60s). I worked a a stock boy downtown in 1964 and 1965.

  14. My grandmother worked at The Lion Store for 20+ years. I can't remember which location, but I remember visiting all of them as a child. She actually retired from a department store (unheard of today). I'm sad to hear that Southwyck was torn down. I remember that "old town" section of the mall and getting scared to death at a Halloween House. I also remember North Point being a "newer" and "nicer" mall. So weird to remember after 30+ years!

  15. My best friend's mom worked at the Westgate location in the 1960's. She took Linda and I to work with her a few times. I remember thinking how big the store was. We always had such a good time.Thank you Mrs. M. Frost for the beautiful memories. And the privilege of knowing you and your family.
    Debbie G.

  16. Worked for Lion Westgate 1967-77. Not only a great place to work, but their appreciation for their employees could not be matched. Have had many jobs since, but the warmest memories are of all the customers and fellow employees I met during my years at Lion. Wish it were possible to Christmas shop their one last time. Joani F

  17. I loved the Lion Store. I never got the chance to visit the downtown store though. My bedroom furniture was purchased from the Southwyck Home Store in 2002 when I bought my house. I loved the free giftwrapping they would give you with a VIP charge account if you charged at least $1,500 a year on their store credit card.

    What I really miss are the moonlight madness sales. Great deals and it was fun being able to go to the mall and seeing all the other stores also open late. I also miss the hours of the lion store. I think their regular hours were better than Dillard's holiday hours are. I remember the Lion Store use to be open until 10 every weeknight.

  18. For some time in the early '60s every Saturday saw a live radio broadcast from Lion Westgate, usually with Larry O'Brien of WTOD. Lion provided two (younger) female employees for the show to promote the latest in fashion for young women. What ever happened to Nancy Chambers and Diane Pasch?

  19. I worked for Lion Store at Westgate from 1980-88. I met and worked with a lot of great people through those years. I have a lot of fond memories working for Lion Store. I remember shopping the downtown Lion Store with my mother. She past away 20 years ago. I still remember the sites and sounds of the downtown store and having lunch on the second floor.

  20. Hey just found a pot or kettle that say the lion store toledo Ohio was really just wondering what it was used for is there any pictures of such things

  21. Found a pot or kettle with the lion Store Toledo Ohio was wondering what it was used for is there any pictures available to view and see

  22. My mother, Mary Pennington, worked at the downtown store in ladies alterations! I visited her often and loved visiting the other employees at the store. My brother Marty Pennington and sister in law Peg worked there also. When Northtowne opened, my mom worked there and also subed at Southwyck and Westgate when they needed her too. I also worked inventory at the Northtowne store many times while growing up. Loved the Lion Store so much so that when Dilliards took over I never shopped there.

  23. With that kind of experience behind you, you'd probably love my book, "Toledo's Three Ls."

  24. Very fascinating; I only remember the later years of the store but I'll always remember going to pick up stuff from what I believe was the catalog section of Lion at Westgate (it was behind the northwestern side of the building, where Friendly's also was). They eventually turned that into a Lion Home store toward the end of the chain's life.

    One note, though: The North Towne location was actually at Alexis Road between Telegraph Road and Detroit Avenue (the main doors of Lion faced the Alexis/Detroit intersection). Alexis and I-75 is about two miles east of where the location was. The mall was torn down last year. :)

  25. My husband & I were recently going through his collection of Hopalong Cassidy books, and one of them, dated 1931, has stamped in several places ""Lion Store Circulating Library." I've never heard of the store having a library (of course, this would have been before my time), and if this WAS from Toledo's store. BTW - My copy of "Toledo's Three Ls" just arrived today, and I'm already getting sentimental just looking at the pictures. Any help on the library part would be greatly appreciated.

  26. Hi Judy!

    You must have heard my interview Monday on WSPD. I do hope you enjoy the book. Many stores had lending libraries, where one could (for a fee) take out books. I have not seen an ad for this type of operation in the Lion Store, but I will search the Blade to see if I can find one. I think these departments were superseded by book shops in most department stores by World War II.
    If you are interested, you can look for an upcoming article about the stores in the Toledo Free Press, in conjunction with Michael Miller's interview on WSPD.

    Many thanks for buying my book!


  27. My dad (George Pfeifer) worked for LaSalles in the early 30's, then switched to the Lion store in the late 30's. After becoming a department head and a buyer, he got promoted to manager of the new Bowling Green store in 1944. In the early 60's as the parent Mercantile Stores began closing all the smaller stores, he also managed the Fremont store until it closed. The BG store closed in 1964 IIRC and dad transferred to the Westgate store and then to Southwyck just before retiring. I worked part-time at the BG store for a couple years while in HS as a stockboy, janitor, and etc. Since I put price tags on everything, I used to kid that I had my hands in more women's pants than anyone in town.
    Dad used to attend the Lion retiree's luncheons from about 1973 until he died in 2008. I saved many of the pictures and some of the other memorabilia from the BG store. He was very proud of the company and his fellow employees.

  28. Tom:
    Thank you for sharing your dad's life. It is fascinating and so much a part of the Lion Storte's history. I need to update this exhibit; I have never seen a picture of the Bowling Green store as it existed. If you have one that you are willing to share, you can contact me at Also, I will be signing books at Books-A-Million in Perrysburg from 11 am to 1 pm on November 29th. I'd love to meet you or anyone associated with Toledo department stores!
    - Bruce

  29. I loved working at the Lion Store- I worked at Southwyck in the home store from '84 to '98. It was like my second family. As soon as Dillards came in I knew it was time to leave. I've stayed good friends with a lot of my co-workers, and I miss the rest to this day. So "Hi!!!" to Jim Knapp and Larry Brooks and anyone else from the old Home Store gang! Amy Hersch from Linens. :-)

    1. Hi Amy!just saw your post!our dept/store was like a family ! Miss you! ....Holly

  30. Mike Childers12 May, 2015 09:07

    I fire inspected the Lion Store downtown in the 1970's and as I recall it consisted of 7 buildings with the floors at a different height so you had to take a slight step up or down as you passed to the next building.

  31. The stone lions are still inside the Franklin Park Mall Dillard's. When the Lion Store was constructing the store they put a large crane in e center and lifted the lions onto two perches high above the first floor on either side of the glass elevator. Then they took the crane out and closed up the building.those lions will be there until the building comes down - meaning Lion Store will not be forgotten!

  32. I worked at Lion Westgate while in college from 1974 until 1978. Worked in fabrics for my grandmother's old boss Mr. Lusiak (ugh). Transferred to men's suits which I enjoyed much better.

  33. I worked for the Westgate Lion's Store from 1980-1988. It was a great store! I have a lot of fond memories!

  34. I'm from Mo. Moved to Toledo 20 yrs ago people say there was a Lion store location in Maumee at the Anthony Wayne Trail and S Detroit. Parkway Plaza. I'm nlooking for maybe a display item that might have been in children's dpt how would i find that not sure where to search.

  35. Present building was restored and developed for apts. Lobby pic with elevators still looks the same

  36. Present building was restored and developed for apts. Lobby pic with elevators still looks the same

  37. I assume you mean Lasalle's. The Lion store was demolished in the early 1980s.

  38. My aunt, Icel Midkiff was manager of the beauty salon at downtown Lion's, then later at Westgate. She told me of prank when one of the golden lion was stolen, it was later recovered.
    My mother, Betsy Hagan worked as a hair dresser at the downtown Lion's until her unexpected (early) death, age 26, when I was an infant. If anyone remembers her,I'd love to hear your story. Please email ThankYou!

  39. Hello, Cheryl! I am sorry to hear that your mother died so tragically young. I have the story about the missing Lion Store lion in my book. It was related to Toledo/Ann Arbor college football rivalry. You do know that the original lions are high up on perches in the Franklin Park Dillard's store, right? It would be hard to play a prank on them today!
    - Bruce

  40. I remember shopping with my Mother atthe downtown Lion store as a child. When I had a job of my own, downtown at Ohio Bell, I shopped there, too. They had quality merchandise and it was a classy store. I remember the wood escalator, too!

  41. The bakery was my favorite miss the cheese cake who was the bakery

  42. The bakery was my favorite miss the cheese cake who was the bakery

  43. Does anyone remember the smiths cafeteria that was in the Westgate plaza by the Lions store. Have great childhood memories of eating there on Friday night's with parents then going to lions. My dad always used to buy me a grab bag of candy from the counter in the children's dept.

  44. what ever happened to the lion statue in front of the lion store. I had a picture of me sitting on it when i was around four or five, so it would have been in the mid fifties

    1. The original Lion statues are on pillars inside the Franklin park Dillard's store.

  45. I came across a handwritten sales slip from this store but only the month/date were written (12/21) and it had a round cashier stamp 56; wondering if anyone knows what decade this might have been from before cash register's were used. BTW, the item is for a Mirro Cooky Press with all the attachments that I bought at a garage sale for $2 and it sold in ? for $1.29. Also with the receipt is a brown and green square 3 cent "prepaid sales tax" consumers receipt stamp.

  46. Recently talking about the lions, and I think every Toledo child remembers sitting on them. My husband told me a story I had not heard before. His sister was pledging a sororiety and they had some harmless hazing that they had to perform. His sister had to go downtown during a busy time of the day and brush the teeth on one of the gold lions. Yes, she had to rinse them and wipe them dry as well. This would have been back in the 40s. She did draw a crowd of curious on lookers.

  47. My father did the plumbing work for the Lion Store.

  48. I have a baby soon still in it's original box with a note inside saying..Congratulations and Best Wishes
    The Lion Dry Good Co. I received this after the birth of one of my children. 1980 maybe.

  49. rick.buehrer@yahoo.com07 August, 2020 10:43

    I have very fond memories working at Lion. I stared working at the Lion Store after graduating from college in 1969. I worked at all three of the Lion Stores until September 1984 when I accepted a teaching position at the University of Toledo. I started in the men’s department at Westgate as an assistant buyer. Jim Morlock was the buyer. I was transferred to the Linens department for about six months under Larry Monroe before returning to the Men’s department. I got my first buying position as the buyer of the toys, records, and small electrical appliances at Westgate in 1972. Soon after that I took on the Housewares department under Paul Bryan until his retirement in 1972. Around that same time Helen Brown (stationary buyer) retired and that department was added to my list of responsibilities. Finally, in 1977, then Lion President Dave Nichols required that all buyers be located at the Southwyck location so I moved from the Westgate location to Southwyck. I left the Lion group in the fall of 1984.
    In 1977 I began teach a retail course at the University of Toledo on Monday/Wednesday nights. In the spring of 1984 I was offered a full-time teach appointment and the rest his history. I taught at UT until I retired in 2010. After retiring in 2010 I was offered a Visiting Professor appointment at Virginia Tech where I taught until May 2020.
    I will always remember the many friends and colleagues from my years at Lions. Here are just a few: Jim Morlock, Lenny Lusiak, Frank Higgins, Jim Flory, Helen Brown, Paul Bryan, Carol Jansen, BJ Smith, Gary Zale, Dave Connors, Jack Savage, and Spencer Rogers.

  50. Rick- Frank Higgins was my boss from when I started in Linens in '84 until his passing. He was a great boss- always friendly and professional. Jim Flory and Gary Zale were at the Home Store at the same time- all great people.

  51. Did most of my shopping at Southwyck and just loved the personal shoppers. Ms Ginger French had a card with all my moms sizes and favorite colors. All my poor dad had to do was call her and say "Spend a hundred bucks" sometimes more! And it would all be gift wrapped and waiting for him to pick up. He loved it! I did too. She would pull items for me, knowing I was on a budget but still wanted to dress nice. You just can't beat service like that and trust me it doesn't exist now days. Anywhere! My mother worked at Woodward and Lothrop in Washington DC. She used to wait on Mrs. Roosevelt. She loved working in that store. They called it Woodies mom worked in fine china and silver and her twin worked in linens. There were days they had the customers quite confused. I will have to see if you have any info on Woodies too.

  52. I worked at the Lion Stores Southwick, North Towne, but primarily Westgate from 1988-1994. I worked in Loss Prevention.

  53. Where are the Lion statues today ?

  54. Franklin Park Mall Dillard's

  55. I remember going downtown in the late 70s/1980 and going shopping at Lion Store with my Grandma. Then we would meet my mom for lunch.
    I lived close to the one at Westgate. I lived a mile 1/2 away. When I was 9 years old going to into 3rd grade my mom took me to the salon to get my ears pierced. I also remember my mom taking me to their salon for hair cuts and body waves- never full perm though, just enough to give my hair bounce.
    My mom still talks about when she had ears pierced there. She had 2 wrong size gold ball earnings in her ears. One was big and one was small. She went back and they re pierced her ear and it became infected. She ended up needing an antibiotic in the end to get rid of the infection.


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