By Steve Cichon
Anne Bunis started the Sample Shop in the front parlor of her Hertel Avenue home in 1929. Soon after, her husband, Louis, had the idea to have “living mannequins” in the front window. What had been static displays had become fashion shows for passersby on Hertel.
That one house grew into a string of five houses within a decade. In 1947, the houses were torn down and the long familiar Sample store was built.
In 1989, as 88-year-old Anne Bunis watched her company open a store in the Walden Galleria and even as the cake was being cut in celebration of the Sample’s 60th anniversary, the end was in sight.
The 11-store chain dwindled to three, and those remaining Sample stores were ordered closed by a bankruptcy judge in 1990.
In 1993, the flagship store on Hertel Avenue was razed to make room for a senior apartment complex.
As noted in a 1990 editorial, the loss of the Sample to Hertel was as big a blow to the neighborhood as the loss of Sattler’s was to Broadway-Fillmore.