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Industry Retail
Founded 1883 Dayton, Ohio
Headquarters York, PA
Number of locations
37 (2015)[1]
Products Clothing, footwear, bedding, furniture, jewelry, beauty products, and housewares.
Parent The Bon-Ton
Website www.elder-beerman.com
Former Elder-Beerman location in Centerville, Ohio

Elder-Beerman is a U.S. chain of department stores founded in 1883 and owned by The Bon-Ton. The chain is based primarily in the United States' Midwest region. As of 2009, it comprises sixty-three stores in eight states.


In 1883, Elder-Beerman history began when Boston Dry Goods Store opened in Dayton, Ohio, and was later incorporated under the name Elder & Johnston Company. In 1930, After a short career with Elder & Johnston, Arthur Beerman, founder of Elder-Beerman Stores Corp., branched out on his own and by 1945 Beerman Stores was incorporated. In 1953, Beerman formed a partnership with Max Gutmann and together they established the Bee Gee Shoe Corporation, which operated the El-Bee Shoe Outlets and Shoebilee! stores for many years before its sale. They also operated Margo's specialty clothing stores.[2][3]

File:Old Elderbeeman logo.png
Former Elder-Beerman logo used until 2006

In 1962, Beerman Stores merged with Elder & Johnston Company to form the Elder-Beerman. For the next 20 years, the Elder-Beerman Stores Corp. grew to include furniture and home lines, and the company expanded with new stores throughout western Ohio and several surrounding states, competing with its Dayton rival, Rike Kumler. After Arthur Beerman's death in 1970, Max Gutmann was promoted to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. In 1985, Herb Glaser was named president and CEO of the department store division. With Herb Glaser as president, Gutmann and Glaser developed the Elder-Beerman franchise through the 1980s and early 1990s. When the company was forced to file for Chapter 11 reorganization in 1995, Max Gutmann and Herb Glaser returned from retirement to turn the company around. During the bankruptcy, Frederick J. Mershad asked to replace Gutmann as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Elder-Beerman has acquired three chains throughout its history: Cincinnati, Ohio based Mabley & Carew in 1978;Terre Haute, IN-based Meis in 1989,[4] and Wheeling, WV-based Stone & Thomas in 1998.[5]

1999 and 2003 Prototypes

In late 1999, Elder-Beerman opened prototype stores in Jasper, Indiana, Warsaw, Indiana (now Carson Pirie Scott), and Frankfort, Kentucky. These stores included service centers, open-stock cosmetic and shoe departments, and courtesy telephones. Four years later, the chain opened smaller-scale prototypes in Dekalb, Illinois (now Carson Pirie Scott) and Muscatine, Iowa, the latter being their first Iowa location. These stores represented a new marketing strategy of operating smaller-format stores in mid-sized markets.


Elder-Beerman was acquired by The Bon-Ton in 2003. At that point, Elder-Beerman had exited bankruptcy and was in discussions to go private when Bon-Ton stepped in offering more cash for outstanding stock.

In 2012, The Bon-Ton began re-branding several Elder-Beerman stores to some of its other nameplates. Several in Michigan and Indiana have been converted to Carson's or Younkers.[6] This re-branding has reduced the number of Elder-Beerman stores to 37.[7]


  1. [1]
  2. http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=BL&p_theme=bl&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB144E2D80FA619&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D&s_trackval=GooglePM
  3. https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=pSgqAAAAIBAJ&sjid=uEcEAAAAIBAJ&pg=3382,36063&dq=el-bee-shoes+elder-beerman&hl=en
  4. The Elder-Beerman Stores Corp | Further Reading: International Directory of Company Histories
  5. Elder-Beerman Buying Stone & Thomas. | Daily News Record | Find Articles at BNET.com
  6. http://www.fwbusiness.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10955
  7. http://www.mlive.com/business/jackson-lansing/index.ssf/2012/09/elder-beerman_department_store.html