Ad for local women's clothing store Gutman's
was a popular woman’s clothing chain in Buffalo started in 1947 by Alvin H. Gutman. The first location was at 584 Main Street, and in 1955 they added a branch at 91 Grant Street. By 1960 they had added one at 959 Broadway.
The local chain, known for spectacular sales, was very successful in Buffalo and was able to duplicate that success, at one point operating 28 stores in several states. Locally, the company felt that malls were the future, eventually moving their Main Street store into the Main Place Mall when that opened in the mid-1960s. Other locations included five suburban malls.
In 1985 the company filed for Chapter 11 reorganization, with debts eating away at the company. At the time they were down to 17 stores in New York, Michigan, Ohio, and Virginia.
In 1989 they closed their Seneca Mall location, which had lost all its major tenants to the McKinley and Galleria malls, and was failing. The following year they opened an off-price outlet in the Thruway Mall (formerly Plaza), which was losing the battle with the Walden Galleria, a mile away.
In June 1991 they closed the Galleria, McKinley, and Main Place Mall stores. The Galleria store was located near two other local stores at the mall which had recently closed, Sample and L. L. Berger, leaving less of a draw for Gutman’s. Together with cash flow problems, thinly stocked stores, and losses mounting, they filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection again in July 1991.
Following a troubled summer, they shuttered all their locations, except the Eastern Hills Mall, in August 1991.
This and other Buffalo retailing history can be found in the book “Nine Nine Eight“.