New Bedford-Based Arlan’s Was a National Department Store Chain
Arlan's Department Store was a discount department store chain that was founded right here in New Bedford.
I remember shopping at Arlan's with my parents when I was a kid. They usually bought me a bag of freshly-popped popcorn on the way into the store to keep me occupied so that they might shop in peace.
Sometimes it even worked.
Brothers William, Herbert, and Lester Palestine founded Arlan's in 1945 in a mill building at 95 Brook Street at Deane Street, where South Coast Storage Depot is now located. William Palestine's son Arlan was the inspiration for the store's name.
Times were good for the Palestine family and for Arlan's Department Store. Twenty years after opening on Brook Street, the Palestine brothers constructed a brand new store on Hathaway Road in New Bedford, where Price Rite is today.
The property, across the street from Brickenwood Housing Development, was undeveloped at the time. Hard to believe when you see all of the retail establishments that clutter the lot now.
I remember watching crews construct the frame for the new Arlan's with my friend and his dad.
By 1970, Arlan's had 119 stores all across the country. There was one in Fall River.
By 1973, the chain fell upon hard times and began to close locations. The company sold some stores to competitors as part of a reorganization plan. Finally, in 1975, Arlan's went out of business entirely.
WBSM News recently reported that two men who helped found the troubled Bed, Bath, and Beyond chain in 1971, Warren Eisenberg and Leonard Feinstein, met while working at Arlan's in New Bedford.
The New Bedford area was home to many department stores that have since faded away, including Ames, Mammoth Mart, Atlantic Thrift, Bradley's, Zayre, Cove Discount, and Mars Bargainland.
Can you think of others? Which were your favorites?