ETHEL D. BURNS, 90, CHERRY’S CHAIN OWNER
Byline: Andrea M. Grossman
NEW YORK — Ethel D. Bransome Holland Cherry Burns, co-owner and operator of Cherry’s — one of Miami Beach’s premiere retail boutiques of the Forties and Fifties — died Sept. 30 in Manhattan of the effects of Alzheimer’s disease. She was 90.
Her daughter, Joanbarbara Holland Weinstein, described Cherry’s as a “baby Bergdorf Goodman” selling couture and “the finest beachwear.” Louis A. Cherry, Burns’s second husband, established the first Cherry’s outpost in Asbury Park. N.J., but the boutique found its real success in South Florida.
During a Christmastime visit to Miami Beach in the late Thirties, Burns decided that city was a “happy retail hunting ground,” according to Weinstein.
In 1938, the couple opened a Cherry’s outpost on Miami Beach’s Lincoln Road, which they kept open for three months a year.
“Women would pull up in chauffeur-driven limos — barefoot,” Weinstein said of the store’s wealthy clientele. Once, she recalled, Cherry’s was closed to the public for two hours so Betty Grable could shop for a bathing suit.
In 1939 the couple closed their New Jersey store and in 1940 moved to Miami Beach full time. They closed the Lincoln Road Cherry’s and opened two Cherry’s stores on Collins Avenue — one for beachwear and one for couture. Later, they opened a third location on Arthur Godfrey Road.
In 1947 Burns was named Small Business Woman of the Year by Women’s Wear Daily.
After her husband Louis Cherry’s death in 1963, Burns closed the clothing boutiques and opened a Barton’s candy store in Bal Harbor, Fla.
In 1964, Burns moved to New York to live with her daughter and soon began working for a bridal designer, who Weinstein declined to name. Cherry remarried in 1972 to Dwight Burns.
Burns began working in retail at age 14 as a milliner’s assistant when her father died, leaving her mother and three brothers in need of an income.
Burns ended her career at age 85 when the affects of Alzheimer’s kept her from her daily functions. She is survived by her daughter Joanbarbara Holland Weinstein, brother William Bransome, and step-daughter Maxine Duer, as well as two step-grandchildren and a step great-grandchild.