Local Brands: Lamson Brothers, Toledo, Ohio

Lamson BrothersTOLEDO – In a box of fabric, we found a little label for a dress store called Lamson Brothers.

Every town used to have a Lamson Brothers, a stylish local department store that not only sold national labels, but stitched a few of its own labels into wholesale garments to give turn the retail shop into a real local brand.

One of those stores was Lamson’s. The shipping receipt seen here had another description.

Toledo Born. Toledo Owned. Toledo Managed.

The label dates from probably the 1960s or so. No matter. It’s the idea, and its still relevant. If you are a locally owned store, you have the advantage these days. But you have to use it. Another good idea to think about with brands. Lamson was a family name. Family names make great names for retail stores.

We were curious about the history of the company.

Lamsons ToledoOn the OhioPix site, there is a great photo of the opening of a women’s section. Pictured are Jules Lamson Vinnedge, Ruth Kowalski, and W.J. Bielefeldt, all in a photo taken in April-May 1969.

The story ends sadly. President of a retail department store, Lamson Brothers, Later known as Lamson’s of Toledo. Mr. Vinnedge, according to the website Find a grave, Vinnedge was fatally shot in a hold up outside the Maumee, Ohio branch store, on May 3, 1977. The site says that he married his second wife, Susan, in 1972, and she had the happiest five years of her life.


  • Garland Pollard

    J. Garland Pollard IV is editor/publisher of BrandlandUSA. Since 2006, the website BrandlandUSA.com has chronicled the history and business of America’s great brands.

1 Comment

  1. I lived in Toledo for a few yrs, and Lamson’s, Lion’s and Lasalle’s were my favorite stores to have had shopped in anywhere and I miss them so much. I now only have Macy’s, Penney’s and Sears to shop and none of them have the style and quality the other stores had. I had in Toledo small women’s store’s and other quaint shops then. Believe me I get tired of the same old stores, not even Kohl’s have any good clothing just the usual stuff. I hope one of these days we get some nice stores, I can not afford Nordstrom’s and Neiman Marcus prices. I still have stuff I bought from these stores. That what I call quality. Macy’s carry junk compared to our Hudson’s stores.

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