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The Leader, formerly The Tobey Furniture Company
Life Span: 1873-TBD
Location: NE Corner State and Adams Streets
191-193-195-197 and 199 State Street
Tobey Furniture Company built this building in 1873 after their previous State Street factory was destroyed by the Fire. It then became the Leader Building and finally as the Adams-State Building.
About 1890, the building was occupied by The Leader, a department store that was to be the greatest retailer in the world.
From Chicago Twenty Years Later, 1893:
What co-operation, courage, push, and honest dealing can do, has been fully exemplified by this firm. Although established but a year and a half, yet they have built up a business that is unequalcd by any house in the city, or perhaps, in any other city—for the length of time established. The firm is composed of C. Dernburg, L. Glick and J. Horner, and is located at 191-193-195-197 and 199 State Street, with a frontage on Adams Street also of 160 feet. The establishment is composed of 34 departments, all under control of efficient managers. In fact, the entire establishment is carried on in the most systematic manner. From cellar to garret “system” is the watch-word, and without perfect system it would be impossible for this firm to do the enormous business they do. Four hundred people are employed in the various departments, making the house a veritable bee-hive when all are at work.
The store is magnificently fitted up, and the stock is arranged so that all appears to the very best advantage, and gives a most pleasing effect. The name this firm have adopted is certainly most apsirable place to trade; the housewife can here find almost everything needed. On their dress-goods’ counters are all grades of goods, from the cheapest prints to the most costly goods manufactured. The same may be said of all departments, “you pays your money and you takes your choice.”
Buying as they do in very large quantities, and being willing to sell at small margins of profit, the firm is able to give bargains not to be had at smaller establishments. ” Once a customer at the ” Leader” always a customer” is the rule. The generous treatment accorded all who trade here is one of the first causes of the firm’s popularity.
The firm have a capital of S2,000,000, and their business for 1891 amounted to the enormous sum of one million, seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars, taking into consideration the fact that the firm only began business in September, 1890, this showing is certainly wonderful.
The individual members of this firm are C. Dernburg, L. Glick, I. Horner Mr. Dernburg is a native of Germany, Mr. Glick of New York, and Mr. Horner was born in Chicago. They justly deserve their need of praise, and it is hoped they may succeed in the future as they have in the past, until “ The Leader?” may surpass all competitors, until “The Leader” may be a household word in all the country as it is in Chicago and vicinity at this time.
The company went bankrupt just five years after opening.
The Leader Building
Decorated for Dedication Day, Columbian Exposition, 1892
The Leader building.
The Tobey Furniture Building
191-193-195-197 and 199 State Street
July 11, 1895
FRAUD IS ALLEGED.
Sequel to the Recent Failure of a Chicago Store
CHICAGO, Ill., July 11.— Fraud is now charged in the “Leader’ department-store failure. A capias has been issued for Paul Dornburg, Lipman Glick and Joseph Homer, members of the firm, upon affidavit of J. V. Farwell & Co., charging the dry-goods firm with having made false statements in regard to its credit and obtaining goods on the statement. Glick was arrested and gave bail in the sum of $12,000. The other members are expected to come in during the day and give bail.
Going out of business notices
July 10-11, 1895
Robinson Map 1886
Volume 1, Plate 7