With locations from Chattanooga to Kalamazoo, Michigan, and points in between, Moskin's was once billed as America's largest credit clothing chain "with over a million satisfied customers."
This photograph, part of the Chattanooga Free Press photo collection displayed at ChattanoogaHistory.com, is believed to have been taken here in December 1950. A sign visible in the store window touts easy credit terms: "Buy now and pay next year."
The store's location, 906 Market St., was part of a downtown block that was leveled in the 1970s to make way for Miller Park, a central city green space that opened in 1976 and was redesigned and re-landscaped in 2018.
According to a newspaper report, the chain's first store was opened in Lima, Ohio, in 1907. An internet search reveals that there were once Moskin's locations throughout the Appalachian region, including Chattanooga, Knoxville and Asheville, North Carolina.
According to a 2012 report in "The Atlantic" magazine, 21st century Americans spend only about a third as much for apparel as U.S. consumers did in 1950. In 1950, Americans spent on average about 12 percent of their income on clothes, compared to about 4 percent in more modern times.
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In 1950, credit cards were not widely used, and in-store credit was a way for working-class consumers to spread out payments for clothes.
Moskin's followed a blue-collar business model. Two of the establishment's slogans were: "The Store That Treats You Fair" and "The Store Where You Are Welcome."
A mid-century newspaper report noted, "From its very inception this firm put its full confidence in the working man and trusted him. The man with the dinner pail who earned his living through the sweat of his brow formed the bulk of Moskin's customers, and this firm has never broken faith with its great family of over a million wage earners who live in over 100 cities."
A window sign in this photograph shows prices for common items in the winter of 1950. Labeled as "Gift Ideas for Her" were: fur coats ($82), robes ($12.95), housecoats ($10.95), dresses ($6.98), lingerie ($3.98), blouses ($3.98), sweaters ($4.95) and handbags ($3.98).
An obituary in The New York Times indicated that the founder of the clothing company, Morris Moskin, died in 1979. Meanwhile, Hixson resident Richard E. "Dick" Phillips was manager of the Moskin's store here before his death in March 1953, according to a local newspaper report.
Before it was home of Moskin's Credit Clothing, records show that 906 Market St. was the location of Chattanooga Saddlery and Buggy Company in the late 19th century and the Lookout Cigar Company in the early years of the 20th century.
To see more photos in this series, follow the "Remember When, Chattanooga" public group on Facebook. ChattanoogaHistory.com is a website dedicated to preserving vintage images of Chattanooga. It is curated by local history buff Sam Hall.
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