The Butler Brothers Warehouse (later the Morgan Industrial Center), 350 Warren Street in the Jersey City Historic Warehouse District, is one of the most imposing brick buildings in the city.
It was constructed about 1905 for the Chicago-based Butler Brothers retailing and wholesaling company.
In the 1920s, Butler Brothers moved into retailing with a chain of “Scott” and “L. C. Burr” stores. In the early 1930s, they developed theBen Franklin Stores and Federated Stores, both of which were franchised five and dime stores. Most were in small towns. By 1936 there were 2,600 Ben Franklin stores and 1,400 Federated stores.
In the 1940s and 1950s, Butler Brothers was one of the largest wholesalers in the country. Unlike many modern franchises, which seek to present a uniform identity to consumers, the Ben Franklin franchise largely benefitted dime store owners by making weekly shipments from their warehouses, where tens of thousands of items were kept in inventory. Not only could a store owner order merchandise on Friday and receive it on Tuesday to replenish empty shelves, but by consolidating shipments, saved a considerable amount on freight, and found it easier to manage his inventory.
Butler Brothers also organized special sale events every few weeks. Stores could order salebills with their own names on them, and in many cases, with sale prices they chose for the merchandise. Manufacturers would offer special prices to get the extra sales inherent by being included in such large promotions, which Butler Brothers would pass along,
In February of 1960 the company was bought out by City Products Corp of Ohio, a company which had been in existence since 1894 as an ice company, for $53 million plus assumption of Butler Brothers liabilities. wikipedia
I say this every year, but I’d like to investigate the Forgotten wonders of the New Jersey cities just across the Hudson from NYC more often.