The family-owned retail business was founded by Berger’s father in 1905, became prominent in the Fifties, and up until the end of the Seventies, prospered with a fine selection of women’s ready-to-wear, sportswear and cosmetics, including Pauline Trigere, Geoffrey Beene, Escada, Max Mara, Ralph Lauren and Estee Lauder, among others. In particular, Berger’s downtown Buffalo unit became a symbol of service and fine women’s clothing.
However, times changed. The upstate economy started to falter and the suburban malls and new competition cut into Berger’s business. The family closed the chain’s five stores in 1991.
Berger joined his family’s business after World War II, starting as a clerical assistant to the merchandising manager of women’s accessories. He moved up the ranks, and eventually became president in 1968, and chairman in 1984.
After Berger retired, he remained active in business circles, often serving as a consultant to local retailing and analyzing trends. He also taught fashion merchandising and retailing at Erie Community College.
Berger is survived by two daughters, Lauren Cantor and Karyl Cafiero; two sisters, Miriam B. Rashman and Roslyn B. Orlin, and three grandchildren.