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Great Shopkeepers

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Parent Issue
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OCR Text

lu Soribner for July, Dr. Holland says tliat A. T. Stewart's " business was one which he did not cio, and could not do, without a depressing iniluence vipon all who were dependent npon the same business for a livolihood. His great establishment was a shadow that hung orer all the others ia the town. The man with ten or twenty thousand dollars ; the man with a hundred thousand dollars ; the man with one thousand dollars, each, alike, was obliged to compete with this man, who had millions outside of the necessities of hifl enormous business. The hosier, the hatter, the woman in her thread-and-needle shop, the milliner, the glove-dealer, the dealer, the upholsterer, all were obliged to compete with Stewart. If he had followed a single line of business, it would have been different ; but he followed all lines. Wherevcr he saw a proüt to bo made, in any line of business that was at all con;ruous with dry goods, he made it. He ;hus became a formidable competitor with half the shop-keepers in New York. His capital made it possible for him to ruin men by the turn of his hand- to flx Drices at which everybody was obliged to sell at whatever loss. Ho we ver proud ;he New Yorker may have been of his wonderful establishment- and there is no doubt that it was pretty universally regarded with pride - it is easy now to see, in this period of unexampled depression, that our business men at large would be in a mtich better condition if that establishment had never existed. If all the money that has gone to swell his useless estáte had been divided among small dealers, hundreds of stores, now idle, would be occupied, and multitudes of men now in straitened circumstances, would be comparatively prosperous. "Butitis said that he employed a great many people. Yes, he did ; but did he pay them well ? Would they not have boen better paid in the employ of others ? The necessities of his position, and his ambition, compelled him to pay small prices. The great mass of those who servcd him worked hard for the bread that fed them, and the clothes that eovered them. The public bought cheaply ; the outside dealers suffered ; the employés laid up no money, and Mr. Stewart got rich. Under the circumstauces, and undor the necessities of the caee, was it desirable that he should get rich ? We think not ; and we think that the final result of this great shop-keeping success is deplorable in every way. It has absorbed the prosperities of a great multitude of men and women. New York would be richer, happier, more comfortable, more healthy in all its business aspects, if the great store at Tenth street liad never been built. Five hundred men who invest their littlo capital in the varied lines of business, and pay their modest rent, and devote their time to their affairs, content with profits that give them and their families a fair living and a few savings for a rainy day, are certainly better for a city than a single Stewart, who absorbs their business and leaves them in distress."


Old News
Michigan Argus