Forgotten Buffalo: Historic & Hip...An Urban Explorer's Guide to the Buffalo-Niagara Region: Unique Landmarks, Historic Gin Mills, Old World Neighborhoods, History, Nickel City Oddities, Tours and More!
Although other businesses lasted longer, there is no doubt that Sattlers was Buffalo’s most beloved department store. Just as important as the Broadway Market and towering churches, the store at 998 Broadway defined Polonia to generation. It was a regional shopping Mecca where you could purchase anything from a communion suit to fresh fruit.
Sattler's was founded in 1889 by 17-year-old John G. Sattler when he opened a one-room shoe store in his mother's home at 998 Broadway, on the site of Sattler's main store which covered six acres. In 1926 he added a line of women's wear. A few years later, the store underwent the transition into a full line department store. By the 1950's, Sattler's was a large department store in Buffalo, possessor of a wonderfully strong name and had received national publicity because of its merchandising policy.
Sattler's other locations included stores in the Boulevard Mall (Amherst), Thruway Plaza (Cheektowaga) and the Seneca Mall (West Seneca). An innovative home furnishings merchandising concept covered 12 acres at Elmwood and Hertel Avenues in Buffalo. Sattler's also operated 8 drug stores, including three "free standing" units.
A shift to discount retailers like Kmart and the deteriorating Broadway Fillmore business lead to the flagship stores demise in the early 80's. The famous 998 was torn down in 1987. After years of being a vacant lot, a Kmart store was built on Buffalo’s most famous retail address. Ironically, the store closed in 2002. Today, the site remains vacant. More Sattlers history to come!
SATTLERS HISTORICAL TIMELINE Prepared By Mark Wozniak
1871 - Born: John G. Sattler, 70, founder of Sattler's Department Store (opened as a one room shoe store Mar 18 1889) at 998 Broadway in Buffalo [he listed his occupation as shoe merchant in the 1930 census]
3/18/1889 - John G. Sattler, 17, opens a shoe store in his mother's home at 998 Broadway in Buffalo; the store would expand into a landmark Buffalo department store, remaining in business until 1982
1914 - Sattler Theatre, commissioned by Buffalo department store owner John Sattler, opens at 516 Broadway in Buffalo; in the early 1920s it would be sold, and become Basil's Broadway Theater
1937 - Mollenberg-Betz, Buffalo refrigeration company, installs the first air conditioning system in Buffalo, at Sattler's Department Store at 998 Broadway
8/25/1941 - Died: John G. Sattler, 70, founder of Sattler's Department Store (opened as a one room shoe store Mar 18 1889) at 998 Broadway in Buffalo
9/3/1947 - Sattler's Department Store holds a grand opening ceremony for a "newer, greater" store at 998 Broadway in Buffalo
3/18/1964 - Sattler's Department Store in Buffalo observes its 75th anniversary
1/25/1982 - Five of six of Sattler's department stores in western New York, including the flagship store at 998 Broadway, close due to the bankruptcy filing of the parent company United Department Stores of New York City; only the Boulevard Mall store would remain open (it would close a short while later)
8/1987 - Sattler's department store building, a long-time landmark at 998 Broadway in Buffalo's Polish-American neighborhood, is demolished