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Iowa History Daily: June 16 - Marcus Younker's Store

Iowa History Daily: On June 16, 1926, Marcus Younker died. Along with his brothers Lipman and Samuel, Marcus founded the successful retail company Younkers in Keokuk during 1856.

After being born in Poland, the Younker brothers immigrated to the United States as teenagers. While Samuel and Marcus initially settled in New York, Lipman headed west to eventually settle in Keokuk during 1854. When the brothers reunited in Lee County they opened the Younker Dry Goods store on Main Street in Keokuk during 1856.

Eventually expanding with the iconic Younkers Brothers Department Store in the Walnut Street business district in downtown Des Moines in 1874, business continued to boom under the shrewd management and progressive thinking. The brothers identified the need to hire female salespeople during 1881, and the innovative insight allowed sales to continue growing over the late 19th century.

Steady expansion followed, and the business formally incorporated in 1904. Younkers boasted a staff of over 500 by 1910, and used increased capital to buy out regional competitors including Brintnall’s (Marshalltown), Davidson’s (Sioux City), and Yetters (Iowa City). The little dry goods store started in Keokuk expanded to include 28 stores in five Midwestern states by 1978. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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