Elizabeth Thalhimer Smartt takes readers along on her obsessive quest to find the true story of her father's family and their department store Thalhimers. Riveting and poignant, this multigenerational narrative weaves together history, biography, and memoir into an unforgettable portrait of an ambitious American retail family.
Four generations of Thalhimers grew their business from a modest one-room dry goods store into a twenty-six-store chain across the south. William, the store’s founder, immigrated to America from the tiny German town of Thairenbach and set up shop in Richmond, Virginia, where he met his wife Mary.
Of their seven children, Isaac inherited the Thalhimer store and legacy. His only son to live to adulthood, William B. Thalhimer Sr., grew to be a gruff, resolute, and successful merchant and philanthropist. He guided The Store through the Great Depression and saved scores of German Jews from Nazi persecution through a clever plan. William Sr.’s two sons William Jr. and Charles would share the task of inheriting The Store, the former becoming the most brilliant leader in its history. He ultimately sold Thalhimers, and in 1992, the store’s saga ended.
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