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Postcard from Goldfine’s Bridge Room

This postcard from Gallagher’s Studio of Photography shows the Bridge Room at Goldfine’s by the Bridge, one of the nation’s first discount stores. It opened in 1962 at 700 Garfield Ave. Today the building is home to the Goodwill Duluth store.

The text on the back of the card reads:

One of the features of this modern store is the Cafeteria serving delicious foods at modest prices. Delightful Panoramic View of the New 21 Million Dollar Hi Bridge connecting Duluth, Minn., and Superior, Wisc. – Westerly Ports of the St. Lawrence Seaway.

The roots of the Goldfine’s by the Bridge store go back to Fannie and Abraham Goldfine’s cattle-buying business in 1922. That enterprise expanded into a general farm store called Goldfine’s Trading Post in 1937.

Following Abe’s death in 1950, his sons Erv and Monnie became partners in the family business with Fannie. In the decade that followed their store became the area’s largest seller of furniture, carpet and appliances.

Buoyed by that success they opened Goldfine’s by the Bridge. An article in the Duluth News Tribune noted:

The $1.5 million structure displays a $2 million inventory in its 132,000 square feet of sales space. More than 20 merchandising departments and an 18,000-square-foot warehouse are incorporated in the massive concrete block and poured-concrete building.

Opening the store realizes “a cherished dream of our family to build the most modern and reliable shopping facility in this area,” said Mrs. Fannie Goldfine Benton, president of Goldfine’s. Her sons are officers of the corporation; Erwin is general manager and Monty is merchandise manager.

The store closed in 1979, but by then the Goldfine’s had established a hospitality company that would grow to own or operate 38 motels in 16 states. Erv died in 2002; Monnie died in 2009. Their ZMC Hotels business was sold in 2015 to California-based Hall Equities Group.

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