The section of Orchard Street between Delancey and Rivington streets is one of the fasting changing blocks on the Lower East Side. One by one, old “Bargain District” stores are being replaced by new restaurants and boutiques. More change is on the way. In recent days, a sign went up in the window of Lea’s Dress Shop, a 45 year neighborhood fixture, announcing the business is closing. The sign reads, “everything must be sold.”
We spoke with the owner, Eugene Gluck, earlier this year for a story on the state of LES retail. His mother opened the family’s first dress shop on Rivington Street in 1970.The shop has moved locations many times over the years. Lea’s stocks designer European brands. “My father, my mother, they had the nicest things,” Gluck told us. “Before [they opened], everything was very, very cheap stuff. After my mother, everyone started to bring in nice things.”
“People used to come from all over” Gluck recalled to buy “decent clothes at decent prices.” The crowds, of course, disappeared long ago, and business at Lea’s is half what it was back in the ’70s and ’80s. Gluck told us in March that retirement was not far off, so the closure did not come as a big surprise.
The shop will likely remain open until the end of the year.