The Beaux Arts commercial built at the turn of the century in 1899 is most famous due to its occupants, the Pfeiffer Brothers Department store. The brothers boasted that their store was the first full-fledged department store in all of Little Rock. The building stands at a mere three stories but is rich in commercial and retail history. It’s main rival, the Gus Blass Department Store, was located blocks away. The two stores would fight a retail turf war for much of the 20th Century.
The Pfeiffer brothers opened their store
in 1912 after remodeling the building to convert the store into “one of the
most modern in the South.” One of the brothers actually traveled all over the
north and east studying other stores getting ideas on what to do. The brothers
combined their clothing and jewelry store and opened the store in 1912,
claiming to be Little Rock’s first department store, competing for that title
as well as customers with Gus Blass Department store. They wanted to create a
store with all the modern conveniences. The store was the first in the area to
be organized into departments. These new departments were Menswear, Children’s,
Women’s, household goods, etc.
Pfeiffer family came from a long line of business owning families dating back
to the early 1800s. It seems as if every member of the family owned some sort
of business in the region. Throughout the 20th Century the store
would continue to grow and become successful. It would be bought in the 1960s
by William Dillard and absorbed into the Dillard franchise meeting the same
fate as its longtime rival, Gus Blass Department store. Today the building is
home to the Pfeiffer family’s only flagship store. It also remains as one of
four buildings that still stands from the early 1900s Main Street. It was made
a National Historic Landmark in 2000.