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J. Peterman Co. store, 1993

Posted on April 13, 2016 | in Uncategorized | by
The J. Peterman Company store at 3090 Richmond Road in Lexington, Sept. 15, 1993. The store is now a Pizza Hut location. Photo by Robin Tinay Sallie | staff

The J. Peterman Co.’s first retail store, at 3090 Richmond Road in Lexington, on Sept. 15, 1993. Lexington-based J. Peterman started as a mail-order catalog company in 1987, and it eventually expanded into a line of 10 retail stores, including Lexington; Manchester, Vt.; New York; and Chattanooga. When this store opened on Dec. 12, 1992, it sold, among other items, jars of strawberry preserves for $6; a Chinese-made BMW-style motorcycle with sidecar, circa 1950, never used, $7,500; and a 38-pound silver bar from a 17th-century sunken Spanish ship, $16,900. The company enjoyed pop culture success from 1995 to 1998 thanks to the TV show Seinfeld. The show parodied the owner and the company with character Elaine Benes, played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, working at the company under eccentric businessman and world traveler J. Peterman, played by John O’Hurley. The company’s fortunes soon reversed, though, and Paul Harris Stores Inc. bought J. Peterman at a bankruptcy auction in March 1999. That’s when Peterman departed the company. Peterman returned in 2001 with his signature Owner’s Manual catalog. This building in the The Village Shoppes now houses a Pizza Hut. In April, 2016, J. Peterman started using Kickstarter to introduce a whole new generation to items they might have thought existed solely in Seinfeld reruns, including an urban sombrero. Photo by Robin Tinay Sallie | Staff

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