Brief History of the H. Freedlander Company (1884-1989)

David Freedlander

Image of David Freedlander

There is a rich history behind the H. Freedlander Company. David Freedlander was Ann Freedlander Hunt’s great-grandfather. He came to America from East Prussia which was then part of Germany. He settled in Buffalo, New York, for several years and traveled long distances as a pack peddler. Wooster was part of his territory. He liked the area so much that he decided to move to the little town with his wife, Anna, his son Herman, and Herman’s sister, Jennie. His first store, The Buffalo One Price Clothing House sold clothing for boys and men.

Store Staff 1895

In front of Freedlander store on S. Market St. in 1895 from left to right is Charles Hessler, Herman Freedlander, and Cyrus S. Schlassnagle.

David died when he was a young man leaving my grandfather, Herman, his eldest child, to run the store and make it profitable. He had to support himself, six siblings and his mother. My grandfather knew a little about retailing, but not enough to succeed in business without additional education.

Freedlanders Store

Image of Freedlanders buildings as they appeared in 1939. Note Freedlander Alley used to run between the two buildings.

The one price policy that David insisted on in 1884 became a hallmark of Freedlander’s. The little store expanded often throughout the years. The independent department store was family owned from 1884-1989 or a total of 105 years. Herman and his son, Harold, Ann’s father, worked hard at giving customers the very best personal service possible. They instilled this belief in all of their employees.

Harold Freedlander was the third generation of the Freedlander family to run the business.

Although the business no longer exists, this Wooster institution is still fondly remembered by many. For this reason, Ann Freedlander Hunt, the fourth and last generation has written a memoir about this beloved and historical business.

Photo by jschumacher.Freedlanders Storefront

Image of Freedlanders storefront facade taken in 2007 on West Liberty Street in Wooster, Ohio.

Gone but not Forgotten, A Freedlander Legacy is about the history of the retail store that takes the reader behind the counter through the years as happy customers and former employees share their funny and touching memories. Her book will be published and available soon. For more information, please contact Ann at or 330-264-8288.

Interior image of the Freedlander department store.


  1. Harold Kaufman says

    Reading this page has made so many memories come back to life for me. I was lucky enough to know Harold Freedlander and his daughter Ann when I was a representative to them for several accessory cxompanies. Harold was one marvelousand sharp business man, and I am sure that anyone that had the opportunity to know him could honestly say he was their friend. He was their to greet me every time I came into his store as a company representative!

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