No more lovin' at Levitz

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The demise of the Levitz furniture store chain, which is now in the frenzy of its post-Chapter 11 final-clearance sales, didn't come as a surprise. In an era of more fashionable (and sometimes less expensive) furniture options from the likes of Ikea and Crate and Barrel, coupled with the worsening economy and subprime lending meltdown, Levitz, which had emerged twice before from bankruptcy, seemed doomed. Indeed, the similar Seaman's furniture (remember, "See Seaman's First," the jingle went) met its demise years ago.

Levitz was founded in Lebanon, Pa. in 1910, and eventually had locations around the country. (For years, we thought this was only a New York chain.) But we'll miss Levitz mostly because it was another retail fixture that worked its way into our everyday vocabulary -- it was just always there. And we knew it was there because of that memorable jingle. It was simple and catchy: "You'll love it at Levitz." The Levitz name won't altogether disappear. Some non-affiliated Levitz shops also originated by the same family, called Sam Levitz, will carry on, but you'll have to visit Tucson, Ariz., where members of the Levitz family moved decades ago, to see them.

Still, it's not an entirely bad time in the furniture business, despite the housing-market decline. Raymour & Flanigan, which entered the city market just a few years ago, will scoop up Levitz locations. Raymour did the same with old Huffman Koos stores.

As a proper send-off to Levitz, here are some interesting examples of the "Love It" campaign, including the earliest we could find, from 1978.

-- Rolando Pujol

Photo: From pbo31's Flicker stream

Tags: retail , levitz , department stores , tv , jingles , history , old school , real estate , shopping

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