October 22, 2005
RIP, Kaplan's-Ben Hur

Sigh. Another piece of Houston's history is going away.


After 92 years of selling Tiffany lamps, men's suits, coffee beans and other merchandise, Kaplan's-Ben Hur is closing its doors in December.

Martin Kaplan, the owner of the historical Heights department store at Yale and 22nd, launched a going-out-of-business sale this week that will continue until the store closes. Kaplan's grandparents Dave and Bessie opened the store in 1913.


The store's website has a letter to its customers announcing the impending demise and accompanying sale. This Houston Business Journal article has a little bit about the store's history. And take a look at the linked document (Word doc) on the Kaplan's page, which gives a perspective on the state of retailing from someone who knows a little bit about it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 22, 2005 to Elsewhere in Houston | TrackBack
Comments

The Houston Heights will never be the same without Kaplan's. I have enjoyed shopping there since I can remember. I am so sorry to hear you are closing and wish you and your entire family the very best and thank you for a "job well done".

Customer since 1970.

Nita and Jack Smith

Posted by: Nita and Jack Smith on October 24, 2005 11:41 AM

Martin, We, just as countless other Houstonians, are saddened by the closure of this part of history. Your store, and the remainder of the Kaplan family, will be sorely missed. My wife, Jo, doesn't go back quite as far as I do but she has enjoyed shopping for lots of years at your establishment. I go back as far as your father, your uncle. and your mother. We have seen lots of changes at your store. Jo and I wish all the best for you in the future. We hope to cross paths from time to time and never forget the Kaplan name and the name Martin Kaplan.

Jack L. Spence.

Posted by: Jack L. Spence on October 27, 2005 11:22 PM

TO MARTIN AND THE GENERATIONS THAT CAN BEFROE YOU. I'M SORRY TO SEE THAT YOUR STORE IS CLOSING. I WAS RAISED IN THE THE HEIGHTS AND MY FATHER STILL LIVES NEAR BY. SO YOU WILL KNOW THE JOY THAT YOU FAMILY HAS BROUGHT TO MINE.
MY MOTHER WAS EMPLOYED AT YOUR STORE AS A GIFT WRAPPER, HER NAME IS JULIA LARA. SHE PASSED AWAY IN DECEMBER 2004. HER FIRST GRANDCHILD WHICH IS 27 YEARS OLD NOW, SHE BOUGHT ME A BABY BLANKET, I HAVE MISSED PLACED IT IN ALL THESE YEARS. I HOPE TO GO BACK BEFORE YOUR DOORS CLOSE TO SEE IF YOU HAVE IT STILL. MY FIRST MOTHER'S DAY GIFT FROM MY MOTHER WAS A BROWN LEATHER CHANGE BAG WHICH WAS ALSO BOUGHT AT YOUR STORE. THINGS THAT I TREASURE FROM MY MOTHER WILL HAVE DOUBLE MEANING, I ALSO HAVE A PART OF YOUR HISTORY. YOUR STORE MAY BE CLOSING AND YOUR WALLS MAY BE DARK, BUT KAPLAN'S BEN HUR WILL LIVE ON WITH ALL THE BEAUTIFUL THINGS THAT WERE BOUGHT AND TREASURED. THANK YOU

Posted by: Mary Wheeler-Lara on October 29, 2005 11:20 AM

There is always a sense of pride to say you were raised in the Houston Heights. The Heights is more than a part of Houstonís history and like Kaplanís is a representation of tradition, quality and values - not only in the merchanise but in it's associates.
When you walked into Kaplanís you stepped into yesteryear. Shopping at Kaplanís was special, it was family. You knew each item was unique in that it was selected especially for the valued Kaplanís shopper.
Lucille Vaughn was a loyal Kaplan's shopper. Kaplan's was her choice for all clothing and shoes. After a lengthy illness, this transplanted Texan return home to Illinois. My mother would send her gifts from Kaplan's and according to her neice once she saw the Kaplan's sticker her face would light up -- If it was from Kaplan she knew it was special

Thank you for your many years of service

Posted by: Rachel Garcia-Ramirez on October 31, 2005 12:36 AM

YOU WILL BE MISSED
MY DAD USED TO SHOP THERE ALL THE TIME UNTIL HE PASSED AWAY ABE WAS THE SALES MAN I REMENBERED HE ALWAYS HAD NEW ITEMS PUT ASIDE FOR MY DAD,SOME OF THEM WERE PRETTY WILD LOOKING (thats just my dad trying to keep up with times )MY WIFE EVEN ENJOYED THE STORE FOR UNIQUE GIFTS AND BABY CLOTHES.MY DAUGHTER IS 20 MONTHS OLD WE BOUGHT HER GOWN FROM THERE SHE WAS BAPTISED IN.TO END THIS THIS WILL BE A HEIGHTS ICON MISSED.

Posted by: SCOTT on July 19, 2006 9:58 AM