Services have been held for Gerald Gushner, the son of the founder of Boyds, a highly respected independent specialty store in Center City Philadelphia.
Boyd, 86, died Saturday at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital of respiratory complications, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Gushner’s father, Alexander, founded Boyds in 1938 and Gerald Gushner joined the business after graduating from Pennsylvania State University in 1952. He started in sales and by the mid-Sixties was Boyds’ president and co-owner. The store is still owned by the family and operated by Kent Gushner, Gerald’s son, who runs the business with his two brothers-in-law.
Kent Gushner said it was his father who transformed what had been a moderately priced men’s store into an emporium of European fashion in the Seventies. The store, which was originally on Market Street, relocated 25 years ago to a 48,000-square-foot site on Chestnut Street and added women’s wear. The location was at one time the home of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and features carved columns and sweeping staircases.
In 2004, Kent Gushner and his brothers-in-law, Jeff Glass and Ralph Yaffee, purchased the business from Gerald and his brother. Around that time, Kent Gushner launched Trussini, a European-inspired collection of men’s clothing, that is carried at both Boyds and other high-end retailers around the country.
“Boyds was his passion,” Kent Gushner told the Inquirer. “He came to work every day until near the end. He was at the forefront of spearheading changes and making Boyds an iconic Philadelphia store.”
In addition to Kent, Gushner is survived by his daughters Cindy Yaffee and Lisa Glass, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. His wife, Nadine, predeceased him in 2012.
The family said memorial contributions can be made to the Abramson Cancer Center, 3535 Market Street, Suite 750, Philadelphia, PA, 19104.