Saturday, January 7, 2012

Bygone Business: Mitzelfeld's

If you drive down the east alley behind 312 S. Main Street, you'll see this black-and-white striped canopy covering the rear entrance to the building. For people who have lived in Rochester for a while, those signature stripes say "Mitzelfeld's," even though the beloved department store closed its doors in January 2004 after a 54-year run. The company that became known as Mitzelfeld's started out as Leslie Eggleston's department store in 1939, and after his daughter, Diana, and William Mitzelfeld were married, the young couple joined the business. A new building was opened on the east side of Main between Third and Fourth in 1949, and the store was known as Eggleston-Mitzelfeld's before eventually becoming known simply as Mitzelfeld's.  William and Diana Mitzelfeld later passed the management of the store to their sons, Brad and Monty, and the store was known for its high quality merchandise and the personalized customer service that was the hallmark of the family-owned business.

Did you shop at Mitzelfeld's?


  1. Shop at Mitzelfeld's? I did inventory work at Mitzelfeld's, I think on a spring or Christmas break.

    How many Rochester-area residents steadfastly refused to pronounce the name right? Many people I know said "Mitzelfield's."

  2. My mother (Sue Young) was the manager and buyer for the childrens department in the early 70s.

  3. I did inventory one summer with lots of other high school students.

  4. Ah, yes - a summer wasn't complete without doing inventory at Mitzelfeld's! Actually, my first ever real job (as in having w2 deductions taken from my pay) was in the Accounts Payable department, two months after my 16th birthday (I would "moonlight" during the summer inventory season). Lots of fond memories, then later, as an adult, lots of money forked over upstairs in the Home department - but it was always money well-spent.

  5. Where you had to go for Boy Scout clothing as well.

  6. Best gift wrapping for Christmas presents ever. Wish they were still around. Missing you this holiday season!

  7. I have many fond memories of Mitzelfeld's. And it also was the place where I earned my very 1st paycheck! My mother (who worked in the fabric department for over 10 years) got me in to work inventory the summer after 10th grade, and they wound up keeping me on in accounts receivable, where I worked part time throughout the rest of my high school years. I loved that job!

    John Mohr

  8. I sold Mens' Wear during Christmas break in 72 .

  9. Patricia, a fond Mitzelfeld's ShopperOctober 18, 2014 at 2:13 AM

    I missed Mitzelfelds. What a loss. I did not want to see them close.
    I shopped there for the most beautiful career coordinates: skirts, blouses......
    The gorgeous fabric and coordinating buttons made them so special to wear. I could honestly say I enjoyed dressing for work thanks to the selection they carried.
    Mitzelfelds was a classy store. I remember the service there being excellent. And their clothing was worth buying, even at full retail.
    I bought good quality jewelry coordinates there. It was a joy to shop there. And I often did.
    I was 21 at the time. I bought a gorgeous pair of taupe pumps from their shoe department.
    They carried the perfect, absolutely perfect white lace skirt and jacket that made an excellent bridal shower suiting.
    I was very impressed with the custom bedding department and their wide and excellent selection of high quality fabrics.
    I also had the opportunity to work there briefly back in 1990 or 1991 to assist with their sidewalk sale.
    Years later I had the chance to speak with the owner. Seem like such nice people.
    It was truly a wonderful part of Rochester, Michigan.
    Jacobson's, too.
    The best.

  10. Can anyone post the exact address of the former Mitzelfeld's? Is it 401 Main or 401 N. Main or another address entirely?

    1. Mitzelfeld's store included several individual buildings along the same block that were eventually combined as one store. They used the address of 312 S. Main, but the building includes the addresses of 312 through 322 S. Main. Today the building is occupied by Hepplewhite Interiors, Lucido Fine Jewelry, the Pendleton Shop, and other tenants.

  11. I have great memories of Mitzelfeld's in Rochester. I always found nice clothing for myself as well as my toddler child. Top of the line!

  12. I worked at Mitzelfelds for a year after graduating from college, from 1979 - 1980, mostly in the boys department. I loved that store! Made some good friends with whom I would love to reconnect.

  13. grew up with Mitzelfelds - many fond memories. Had to go there to buy all things Girl Scout (uniforms, badges, etc.), bought my charm bracelet and charms in the 60's, which I still have, loved the sidewalk sales mom took us to, mom and dad bought all our shoes there while growing up in the 50's and 60's. We'd go down the road to Red Knapp's for lunch to complete our outing.

  14. I first learned of this fine store when I received a baby shower gift from Mitzelfelds. I drove from Detroit to Rochester several time each year to visit Mitzelfelds. It was always a great shopping experience and the merchandise was like none you could find anywhere else. This store was truly a Gem and one to be remembered. Thanks for the memories.

  15. My Dad was Harold Smith. He was the manager of the store for many years. He must have started there in 1958 or 1959 and was there until he bought his own business in 1970 in Imlay City. It was a great place and Dad was so fond of all those years working with Bill and Diana. Today I am writing my own blog about my Dad and I went looking for a picture of the store windows. They were his special pride and joy when he took care of them all those years. That is how I found it. Thanks for the memories. Janet Smith