Founded in 1959 in Miami, Florida, The Size 5-7-9 shops had already established themselves as a small chain of specialty stores catering to small size women by 1970, when they were purchased by The Edison Brothers Shoe Company. Already an established retailer in their own right, operating such shops as Bakers, Chandlers, and Joan Bari, the Edison Brothers company were looking to diversify and enter into the apparel retail field.
The Edison Brothers proved to be quite successful with their foray into apparel sales. By 1979 the company had grown the number of 5-7-9 locations to 130 as well as adding another fashion store, Jeans West to their portfolio.
The image Edison Brothers looked to project with their 5-7-9 shops was that the store was for the young, upbeat, and alive. Salespersons were to be attractive and fashion minded. The store décor was designed to project the “imaginative setting young moderns liked to live” (I’m not even sure what that means?).
Specializing in name-brand women’s fashions in smaller sizes, 5-7-9 carried such names as Trousers Up, College Town, First Glance, and Bobbie Brooks.
As with all things, nothing lasts forever and in 1991 with Edison Brothers struggling, the company proclaimed that 5-7-9 along with several other stores were not performing at the expected level. Adjustments were made to merchandising and to improvements in inventory and expense control, to which initially the 5-7-9 shops responded positively. However this positive response wasn’t enough to turn the Edison Brothers around and in 1999 the company went belly up and 5-7-9 would be bought up by AIJJ Enterprises who also owns Rainbow Shops.
I was actually quite surprised to find that 5-7-9 stores are still out there, in the wild, though now known for being a low-middle end fashion retailer rather than the innovate brand the Edison Brothers strove for in the 70s.