Editor’s Note: This is the 379th in a series of articles recalling vanished Huntington scenes.
UNTINGTON — There’s a tiny cream-colored sliver of a downtown building at 923 3rd Ave. that today is home to the Underwood Law Office. But for 60 years or so it housed the Huntington location of Lerner Shops, a well-known women’s apparel chain.
The chain was founded by blouse manufacturers Samuel Lerner and Harold M. Lane in 1918, and it grew rapidly. At one time there were nearly 800 stores, including the Huntington location, which opened in the late 1920s and closed in the early 1990s.
There were Lerner Shops locations in other West Virginia cities as well, operated by Lerner Shops of West Virginia Inc.
In 1985, Limited Brands, the Columbus-based women’s wear giant founded by Leslie Wexner, purchased the company. In 1992, the company changed its name to Lerner New York. Three years later, in 1995, the company changed its name again, this time to New York & Company.
In addition to its retail locations, Lerner Shops also had a big catalog business as well. In fact, the mail-order operation kept the Lerner name even after the brick-and-mortar stores had started going by the New York & Company name. But in 2006 the catalog business was sold and the new owner discarded the Lerner name.