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OHRBACH, family of U.S. department store founders and owners. NATHAN M. OHRBACH (1885–1972) was born in Vienna and taken to the United States at the age of two. He went into the retail dry goods business and opened his own store in 1911. He established his first department store in New York City in 1923 and another in Newark in 1930. In 1935 he published his memoirs, Getting Ahead in Retailing. After his retirement in 1940, his son JEROME KANE OHRBACH (1907–1990), who was born in Brooklyn, became the head of the firm and its affiliates. In 1948 he added the Los Angeles store to the two his father had founded. Both father and son were prominent in numerous general and Jewish public organizations, including New York's Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, the American Jewish Committee, the Boy Scouts, and the City University of New York.

The Orbach's chain had branches across the country until 1987, when the New York store went out of business. The company was bought out by Howland-Steinbach, and the stores reopened under that name.


T. Mahoney and L. Sloane, Great Merchants (1966), 310–23.

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.