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Herbert F. Sager, local merchant, dead

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Herbert F. Sager, local merchant, dead


Herbert F. Sager’s secret to retailing was to treat each customer with the same reverence you would afford to mom.

Sager, 91, part owner of Fiegel’s Men’s and Boy’s Wear on Main Street, died Sunday at Glacier Hills. He was 91.

“No matter who comes in the “front door - a little boy, young and told, black or white - everybody should be treated the same,” said David H. Sager of his father’s attitude toward customers. “Treat that customer like you would treat your own mother.”

Sager, who was born on a farm in Chelsea, first worked as a sales clerk at Fiegel’s in 1926 with the Store’s founder, Albert Fiegel. After completing the eighth grade, Sager went to work on the farm until he was about 20.

Standing 5-foot-3, Sager didn’t feel he was cut out for farming, David Sager said. That’s when he went into town.

Sager worked at a dimly lit Fiegel’s during the Great Depression. David Sager said the shop would turn the lights on when a customer came in the store. The practice was used to conserve energy.

Herbert Sager eventually became a partner in the business, with John Andress and Paul Jedele in 1940, when Albert Fiegel retired.

David Sager said he got his start in the 1950s as a teen-ager when his father gave him two options: “You can go to summer camp or go to work (at Fiegel’s),” Sager said. He opted to work with his father at Fiegel’s.

By 1970, both Jedele and Andress had retired from the business, making way for David and his younger brother, Douglas, to become partners with their father.

Sager also was active in other areas. He served as an alderman for what was the second ward in Ann Arbor from 1939 to 1945.

In addition to David and Douglas, Sager is survived by his wife, Mabel, and his son, Dudley, both of Ann Arbor; his sisters, Irene Adair of Phoenix and Marie Brady of Tucson, Ariz.; four grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

... long associated with Fiegel's