In the beginning ...
In 1917, brothers Joe and Hiram Hirschfeld moved from Denver to North Platte, Nebraska, to take over the operation of a downtown clothing store. The location of Joe and "Hy's" original store, at the intersection of 6th and Dewey, was ideally situated near the railroad tracks, which was the hub of much of the local commerce and travel in North Platte. Joe was the "face" of the business in many ways, dealing with customers and making sales, while Hiram focused on bookkeeping and managing stock.
At first, the Hirschfelds sold a lot of work clothes to the local railroaders, farmers and ranchers — working men's clothing staples like bib overalls and Kromer caps. Within 20 years, however, the store pivoted toward selling men's suits, sportcoats and other formal wear — the products that remain the backbone of Hirschfeld's business to this day.
The Second Generation
As the store grew and the country entered the WWII years, more members of the Hirschfeld family became involved with running the store — including Joe's daughter-in-law, the mother of Alan Hirschfeld, the current owner. After Joe's sons, Mendel and Leonard, returned from the war, they also became more involved in the day-to-day operation of the store. Hiram passed away in 1944; Joe continued to play a role in running the store into the 1950s. From the 1950s to the 1970s, Hirschfeld's continued its expansion away from work clothes and into men's formal and business wear. Hats, which were very fashionable for men at the time, were a particular focus for the store during that era.
In 1963, Hirschfeld's moved from its original 6th Street location to its current building on the corner of 4th and Dewey. The move allowed the store to expand significantly, including its first foray into the ladies' clothing business. The main store focused on men's clothing — including a new fashion, leisure suits — and "The Casual Shop" sold dresses and women's pantsuits.
The Third Generation
After attending North Platte Junior College and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, current owner Alan Hirschfeld — the son of Mendel, grandson of Joe — spent eight years working in the industry before returning to North Platte in 1979. Since then, Alan says, "we’ve gone through a lot of changes.” The most significant of those would be Hirschfeld's expansion into the tuxedo rental business, offering formal wear for weddings, dances and other special events. That business model eventually also led to the addition of the Prom Shoppe, offering formal dresses and wedding wear for women.
“The backbone of my business is no different than Joe and the others," Alan says. "We take care of customers and make sure customers are satisfied. The family and I have relied on loyal customers over the years that come back because they were satisfied with their purchase.”