PRESS RELEASE:  Tampa’s Original Department Store to CELEBRATE its History, Saturday, April 27, 2013!

Maas Brothers was a leading Tampa department store founded by Abe and Isaac Maas in 1887.  It grew from a small 23' by 90' dry goods store to a chain of 39 stores across the state of Florida.


Abraham Maas, c1922


Isaac Maas, c1922


The Maas Brothers Gather Together in Georgia

The building of the Maas empire in Florida begins in Georgia with brothers Solomon Maas (born 1850) & Jacob Maas (born 1848), natives of Dolgesheim, Germany near Hessen-Darmstadt.  Solomon and Jacob came to New York in 1870, with nothing in their pockets and not knowing a word of English.   For a while they worked there with a German friend , learned a little English and saved a little money. With the south recovering from the Civil War and reconstruction, the cotton market had become a wide market.  Sol and Jacob thought this sounded promising and took a train for Cochran, Georgia.  Here they opened a general store under the name of Maas Brothers.  They sold general merchandise, food stuffs, groceries and feed, and they dealt in cotton.  Soon they were a solid part of the small community of cotton-raising farmers. 

Abraham Maas, a brother of Sol and Jacob Maas, was born on May 22, 1855 in Dolgesheim, Germany near Hessen-Darmstadt. When he was a child in grammar school, he longed to be a doctor. But before he finished school, his older brothers Jacob and Sol Maas had left for the US. Abe came to the US at age 20 in 1875 and like many Germans who came to America at this time, it is said that he came to escape conscription in the army.  His parents, Joseph Maas and Regina Bacherach Maas, had scraped together what money they had from their small farm and sent young Abe by steerage to find freedom and success like Sol and Jacob.  Abe joined his brothers and worked for Sol for 7 years as a traveling salesman and merchant. With the success of the Cochran store, Sol opened a second store in Dublin, Georgia which Abe was sent to run.  By 1880 Abe had settled in Dublin, Georgia, not far from Cochran.





Abe's 1880 census in Dublin, GA shows he was single and living in the home of farmer David Ware and his family, along with several other unrelated persons.


Isaac and Julius Maas arrive in Cochran, GA

Isaac Maas (b. Sept. 11, 1866 in Dolgesheim, Hessen, Germany) came to the US in 1877 and joined his brothers Solomon Maas and Jacob Maas  in Cochran, GA.  On Sept. 25, 1881, their youngest brother Julius Maas  arrived in the U.S. on the SS Elbe from the port of Bremen, Germany, and joined Solomon, Jacob and Isaac in Cochran, Ga.   Isaac and Julius became clerks in the business and learned English and gained experience in business. 

Isaac, Solomon and Jacob Maas on the 1880 Census

1880 Census of Cochran, Georgia shows I. Maas, age 18, clerk; S. Maas age 30, merchant; J. Maas age 32, merchant.
All indicate they were born in Hesse Darmstadt, and so were their parents.

The Maas Brothers Scatter

In 1881, Sol, who was the helm and rudder of the whole business, was involved in a shooting resulting in paralysis of his legs.  Undeterred, he ran the business from a wheelchair until his death due to pneumonia—and with him went his business.  The brothers were scattered in all directions.


Abe Maas

In 1882, Abe accepted a position as traveling salesman out of Macon, Georgia, and was on the road for 2 years.  In 1883, Abe travelled to Cincinnati where he married his childhood sweetheart, a beautiful red-head, the lovely Philabena Wolf, on Sept. 19, 1883.  "Bena" was born on March 9, 1863 in Gundesblum, Germany, the 2nd of 10 children of Joseph Wolf and Johanna Maria Koch. 

Isaac Maas

Isaac first moved to Savannah where he operated a dry goods business for a year.  He then came to Ocala for a couple of years and operated a millinery shop and in 1885, operated a store selling men's wear, dry goods, and groceries in the Tuscawilla Park district.

Julius Maas

Julius moved to Savannah and was listed on Savannah city directories from 1888 through 1897 at 107 E. Jones St, working as a clerk for a wholesale dry goods firm by the name of "Frank & Co."


It is not known who Oscar Maas was, he was living at a different address and was probably unrelated.




Jacob Maas

Around 1881, Jacob married Addie and went into the wholesale grocery business in Macon, Ga., with S. B. "Daisy" Price, later mayor of Macon.  Their business was named Price and Maas.  By 1897, Jacob and Addie lived at 802 Cherry and had started J. Maas & Co. and were the proprietors of "The Bazar," a millinery store at 517 Cherry. 

By 1899, Jacob was joined by his brother Julius from Savannah, and the company became "J & J Maas".


On the 1900 and 1910 censuses, Jacob was listed as a millinery merchant and proprietor of a millinery store.  Jacob died between 1920 and 1930; Addie was a widow on the 1930 census.  Jacob and his wife Addie had daughters Regina (b. June 1882, GA) and Edith (b. Oct. 1884, GA).  Edith married and divorced by 1930, and had a daughter named Adelade L. Angier. Below: 1900 Census of Jacob Maas and family at 802 Cherry in Macon, GA.  They had been married for 19 years and Addie was the mother of 2 children.  Addie was from Pennsylvania with both parents from Germany.  Jacob indicates he came to the US in 1870, had lived here for 30 years, was a naturalized citizen and was a merchant in the millinery business.


Abraham Maas Comes To Tampa

On July 4, 1884, Abe and Bena had a son and named him Sol after Abe’s beloved brother and later they had a daughter named Jessie.    In 1886, Abe's business in Dublin, Georgia was far from successful and he decided, like Isaac, to try his luck in Florida.  He visited several towns in Florida and decided to open his store in Tampa, which back then was thought to be not much more than a fishing village.  However, the railroad had already moved its terminus from Cedar Key to Tampa and the first cigar factory had moved here from Key West.  Abe thought that someday Tampa would have a fine port and develop into a big city.  He had been quoted as saying to his brother Isaac, "It's a waterfront town. Who knows? It may amount to something someday." Abe loaded his entire inventory into a railroad box car, and from this inventory would soon rise a multi-million dollar empire.

The first Maas store in Tampa, Dry Goods Palace, in the Field Building at Franklin & Twiggs, circa 1896 .  Abe Maas leaning against column.

He returned to Tampa on December 1, 1886 and began setting up his store "The Dry Goods Palace", with his wife Bena at his side. The store officially opened on December 10, 1886, consisting of one 23 ft. x 90 ft. room in the two-story J. C. Field Building at the southeast corner of Franklin and Twiggs St.   

Years later, Bena told her daughter-in-law, Mrs. Sol Maas, "We didn't close at 5, we closed when the last customer departed and that might be at midnight."  In years to come, when the shop no longer needed her help, she poured her energy into her cherished project, the Children's Home of Tampa.  It then was supported only one day a year so Bena went from one wholesaler to another begging for funds.  She became the home's president emeritus and during her 25 years of leadership it was put on a firm, progressive basis.

Abe & Bena Maas' 1900 census in Tampa shows they were living at 508 Marion St, near Madison St, with their children Solomon and Jessie.  Abe owned the home free of mortgage.

On April 13, 1887, Abe and Bena had a daughter, Jessica "Jessie" Maas.  (Jessie married Jules Winston, a New York jewelry merchant who was never affiliated with Maas.)


The Maas family circa 1891, Tampa
Photo courtesy of Ben and Anna Maas, great-grandson and great-granddaughter-in-law of  Sol Maas.

L to R: Solomon Maas, Abraham Maas, Philabena Wolf Maas, Jessie Maas









Isaac Maas Joins Abe in Tampa

Attracted by the promise of Tampa, Isaac moved here from Ocala in 1887, bringing a handful of hats and ribbons from his Ocala shop.  He formally joined his brother in business on September 15, 1887. Abe sent out notices to all his customers and ran ads in the newspaper announcing "My brother Isaac has joined me, and the business henceforth will be conducted under the name of Maas Brothers." 

In 1895, the brothers pooled their resources and were able to arrange to bring their 15-year-old cousin Ernest Maas (b. Nov. 6, 1880, Dolgesheim) from Germany.  He arrived on the SS Trave from the port of Bremen on Sept. 15, 1895 and promptly came to Tampa.  Abe put him to work as a porter in the shop and his main job was to drive a two wheel cart and pony to deliver goods.  Ernest could not speak a word of English.

1910 Census, Tampa

Fredericka "Ricka" Maas, Sister of Abe & Isaac

Above: The 1900 Census of Tampa shows Ernest and Isaac Maas (lines 79 & 80) living at 221 Hyde Park Ave. in the household of Benjamin and Ricka Brown (lines 75 & 76).  Ricka was Fredericka Maas, sister of the Maas brothers.  Ernest and Isaac were both single.  Ernest's listing shows he was born in 1878 and immigrated in 1889, but this is incorrect, possibly information provided by someone else in the household.  Ernest's application for a passport in 1905 and future censuses indicate 1895.  Ernest was a clerk in a dry goods store and Isaac was a dry goods merchant.  Relationships were to be given with respect to the head of house; Ernest and Isaac were listed as cousin and brother, indicating that Ricka may have provided the information for this listing.

Left: Fredericka Maas, sister of Abe and Isaac Maas, around the time of her marriage, circa 1888.  She married Benjamin A. Brown, postmaster at Bartow.  Ricka and her husband Benjamin Brown had sons David Maas Brown (b.1891)  and Joseph T. Brown (b.1896) as seen in the above census record image.

Right:  David Maas Brown, circa 1895,
son of Ricka Maas and Benjamin A. Brown

David married Esther Elson in 1918 and they had a son, David Maas Brown, Jr. (b. circa 1919) and a daughter named Ricka E. Brown (b. circa 1925).  This family lived in Lakeland.



Left: David Maas Brown, Jr. with his mother Esther Elson Brown (middle), 1923.  Woman at right is Annie Samuels of unknown relationship.


Right: Navy ensign David Maas Brown, Jr, 1945, served in the Pacific aboard the USS Livingston.


The Wolf Brothers, Morris and Fred Wolf
Brothers of Philabena Wolf Maas

Morris C. Wolf was born Mar. 16, 1871 and Fred W. Wolf was born Aug. 26, 1873 in Hessen-Darmstadt, Germany.  In 1883 they came to the US with their parents, Joseph and Hannah Wolf, locating in Louisville, KY where their mother died on Nov. 11, 1898.  Morris secured a position in a clothing store at Greenville, OH by his uncle, Michael Wolf of Cincinnati.  Morris was only 12 years old at the time and his compensation was $1.50 per week, besides board and clothes.  He spent a year and a half at this concern, and though he did not profit monetarily, he gained valuable experience.  The ensuing 8 years he was in Louisville, KY, variously employed, but chiefly as a clerk in the dry goods store of his uncle Samuel Jacobs.  In 1893 he came to Tampa, where his brother Fred had preceded him in 1889.  The brothers were familiar with Tampa due to their father having spent some time here for the benefit of the weather for his health.  Fred had spent some time in school and graduated as a clerk in a store. 

After Morris' arrival in Tampa, the brothers were employed with their brothers-in-law, the Maas brothers, until 1898 when Morris Wolf resigned and embarked in business for himself with the scant capital of $200.  His location was half of a small business room near the corner of Franklin & LaFayette.  On Feb. 17, 1899 he moved to the next door and in March of the same year, Fed Wolf resigned from Maas Brothers and entered into partnership with his brother.  This was the beginning of the prosperous business of Wolf Brothers.  In March of 1901, they moved to fine quarters at 808-810 Franklin St. where they sold men's fine clothing and furnishings.  Fred married Thekla Strauss of Louisville, KY, in 1898 and they had a sons Joseph L. Wolf and Harold S. Wolf.  Morris married Caroline Baer around 1912 and had children Bernice, Mildred & Dolly.

The Wolf bros. and sisters

L to R:
Morris Wolf
Martha Wolf Loeb
Jenny Wolf Strauss
Julia Wolf Cohen
Bena Wolf Maas
Fred Wolf

Maas and Wolf family, 1917

Back row:
Morris B. Wolf holding daughter Adolphine "Dolly" Wolf (married Mr. Diamond)

Morris' wife Caroline Baer

M. Henry Cohen
Henry's wife Julia Wolf

Abe Maas
Abe's wife Bena Wolf

Simon Loeb
Jenny Wolf (married Mr. Strauss)
Simon's wife Martha Wolf

Fred Wolf
Fred's wife Teckla Strauss

Morris and his family lived at 901 S. Delaware

Front row: Marcus Cohen, Johanna Cohen (m. Mr. Goldberg) - children of M. Henry and Julia Wolf Cohen; Bernice Wolf (m. Mr. Harris) and Mildred Wolf (m. Mr. Weischelbaum), children of Morris and Caroline Wolf.

Place your cursor on the photo to see persons identified on the photo








The Wolf brothers in their new store at 808  Franklin Street, circa 1920s.












Wolf Bros. at 808 Franklin St., March, 1932



The Second Maas Bros. Store

By 1898, the Dry Goods Palace had outgrown its space, so the Maas brothers moved their business from the small Palace store at Franklin & Twiggs to two, 50 ft. x 90 ft. floors of the Krause Building on the southeast corner of Franklin and Zack streets.  

In 1907, Maas Brothers was incorporated and Abe became its president.

Julius Maas, the youngest Maas brother, also had a store at the 700 block of Franklin St., which in 1902 sold clothing and men's furnishings as "Maas the Haberdasher."


The Maas family and employees in front of the Krause bldg store, circa 1898.


Maas Brothers in the Krause building (left) with the American National Bank Across the street, circa 1910.
Image from the University of South Florida Digital Collections, Hampton Dunn Postcards.

Maas Bros. in the Krause building with American National Bank across Franklin St., circa 1910
Photo from Tampa: The Early Years, by Robt. J. Kaiser


Above photo shows a World War 1 Fourth of July Liberty parade in 1918 on Franklin St., looking north toward the intersection of Franklin and Twiggs St.  The original Palace Dry Goods in the Field Building was located between the 2nd & 3rd lamp posts from the right, at the corner of Franklin and Twiggs.  The large painted Maas Bros sign is the Krause Building on the southeast corner of the 600 block of Franklin St., at Zack, where Maas moved into in 1898.  The tower-like building with pointed roof to the left of it is on the north side of Zack Street, and the building just beyond that (to the north) is where Julius Maas operated his haberdashery, on the 700 block of Franklin St..  The next building to the north of the Julius Maas' store is where the Tampa Theatre was built in 1926.


Another view of Maas Bros. in the Krause Building at Franklin & Zack as a horseback military unit
performs in the Gasparilla Parade.


Maas Brothers ad in Rinaldi's Guide Book of Tampa and South Florida, 1920




During the 23 years in the Krause building, the dry goods business expanded and the Maas brothers added more product lines to their inventory, which included ready-to-wear clothing, furniture, and carpeting.


1920 - Construction of the new 8-story Maas Bros. store and the offices of the Florida Citrus Exchange building (far right of photo at 201 Twiggs) as seen from the intersection of Zack and Tampa St.  The American National Bank bldg. can be seen to the left of the construction site, and the Krause bldg. can be seen across Franklin St. at the far left of this photo.
In 1920, Maas Brothers purchased the American National Bank Building across Franklin St., which was built in 1904, and contracted the construction of a new eight story building. Construction began in 1920 on the new 8-story tower at the southeast corner of Zack and Tampa Street adjacent to the four-story American National Bank building.  The store, known as "the big store", opened in October 1921.  The expansion of Maas Brothers, its acquisition of lands and buildings continued unabated. 

The business acumen and untiring energy of Isaac Maas was instrumental in the growth of the business from 1,100 square feet to 25,000 square feet; from a sales force of three to more than 100, from capital of $625 to $250,000; from one of the smallest to the largest exclusive ladies furnishing goods houses in the state.  



Above: Maas Bros. store circa 1922 in the former American National Bank building, built in 1904, and the newly built 8-story building at Zack and Tampa St.. Photo at right shows mid 1920s and two floors added to the American National Bank building.  See a night photo in color of this building circa 1956 with neon sign lit up.

Maas Brothers delivery trucks, 1925
The Maas Brothers Sell to Hahn Department Stores

By 1929, Maas Bros. had become Florida's largest department store south of Jacksonville. Maas Brothers dominated Florida's West Coast and was known as "Greater Tampa's Greatest Store." That year, Abe and Isaac sold their interests in the store to the Hahn Department Stores but continued on as president and chairman of the board, respectively. Maas Brothers gained the buying power of 28 department stores while Hahn gained the addition of another successful chain with a loyal customer base. In 1935, Hahn Department Stores changed its name to Allied Stores Corporation.  Despite being owned by a national company, Maas Brothers was still operated by the Maas family.


Maas Bros. delivery trucks parked on the Tampa Street side of Maas Bros. department store.  Oct. 1935

First National Bank building at far right


This 1895 fire insurance map of Tampa has been modified to show various locations of the Maas stores.

1. The Field building (blue) where Abe Maas opened his dry goods Palace.

2. The location of the Krause Bldg. (green)

3. The location of the American National Bank Building.

4. The newest location, 8-story building that also housed the Citrus Exchange.

Click map to view larger

Photo above left shows the east side of the 700 block of Franklin St. in 1926 while the Tampa Theatre building was being constructed.  See the stores that were demolished to build Tampa Theatre.  Julius Maas' store was in the building just to the right of it.


This is the Krause building in 1925 after the Maas brothers moved across Franklin St. to the former American National Bank Building and their new 8 story building they shared with the Citrus Exchange. Signage indicates "Maas Clothier and Haberdasher".  This is the southeast corner of Franklin & Zack, at 621 Franklin St.  Notice the Exchange Bank Building at the far right and the Federal Courthouse on Florida Avenue on the far left. Place your cursor on the photo at left to see the Franklin Exchange Plaza that was the location of the Krause building.
In the 1950s, the Krause building became the location of Liggett's Drug Store, having moved from the northeast corner of Twiggs and Franklin Street, and Haber's Dept. Store, .

The southeast corner of Franklin St. and Zack Street, Sept. 18, 1953.
Burgert Bros. photo courtesy of the Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library

During the 1920s, Isaac Maas was secretary and general manager of Maas Bros.  He was also vice-president of the Citizens-American Bank & Trust Co., and was interested and closely identified with other leading Tampa concerns.  He was a Shriner, a Mason, an Elk, a Rotarian, a member of the Tampa Yacht and Country Club, and other organizations.  During WW1, he took a very active part in conducting Liberty Loan and other war work campaigns.  He was intensely patriotic and progressive and never failed to respond to a call for work or financial assistance to a good cause.  Isaac traveled extensively and made several tours of Europe.  He was a patron of fine arts and owned a valuable collection of paintings and statuary.

Issac Maas remained single until late in life, marrying Fanny Blouenstein of Washington, DC on Oct. 9, 1924.  He died on March 8, 1935 at age 72, leaving no children. At the time, he was serving as chairman of the board of Maas Bros.  Abe Maas, who was president, became chairman, and their nephew, Jerome Waterman, became president.


Isaac was active in several Tampa organizations, including the Egypt Temple Shrine and Jesters, the Palma Ceia Golf and Country Club, Tampa Yacht and Country Club, and Congregation Schaarai Zedek. He also was a charter member of the Rotary Club and the South Florida Fair Association.  In 1923, Isaac Maas built the house on Bayshore Blvd. that now carries his name. Architect Franklin O. Adams adorned it with sgraffito friezes under the eaves and other Italian elements.  The home that Isaac Maas built on the northeast corner of Edison Avenue and Bayshore Boulevard has outlasted the onetime giant of Florida department store chains.

The Isaac Maas house at 907 Bayshore Blvd.


The 1930 census of Tampa shows Isaac Maas married Fanny when he was 62 which was 6 years prior--1924.  Fanny was first married at age 17, since she was 60 at this time in 1930, her marriage to Isaac would not have been her first marriage.  Isaac's brother Julius was living with them at 907 Bayshore Blvd.



Abe Maas was always active in public affairs in Tampa and was recognized as one of the most valuable citizens movements for the advancement of Tampa.  He was a member of the Tampa Board of Trade (predecessor to the Tampa Chamber of Commerce) since 1886 and a director of it for all that period with the exception of one year.  In early 1900, Abe Maas was the founder of the Tampa Lodge of Elks and was affectionately spoken of as the "father of the lodge."  He was the first member initiated into the lodge, Cardholder #1 and its first Exalted Ruler of Tampa Lodge #708.  He was largely instrumental in the building of the handsome Elks home at Florida Avenue between Lafayette and Madison St.  Besides being president of Maas Bros., he was vice-president of the Morris Plan Bank, a director in the National City Bank, the Bank of West Tampa and the Thompson Cigar Company.  He was also one of the first directors of what was known as the Old People's Home.
He was measurer of the Hillsborough Lodge of Masons for 26 years and for 25 years was president of the Jewish Congregation Schaarai Zedek.  He was a prominent member of the Shriners, the Knights of Pythias and charter member of the Rocky Point Golf Club.  He was active and influential in the various WW1 activities and in the 1920s served a second time as chairman of the European Relief campaign in Tampa, raising funds for the starving children of distressed countries. Abe was also an owner of the Floridan Hotel, built in 1927, along with prominent residents Tampa residents T.N. Henderson and Clarence Holtsinger.

Abe & Isaac Maas with members of Hillsborough Lodge 25, April 14, 1928.
Abe Maas # 13, sixth from the right, front row.  Isaac Maas #27, 6th from the right, back row. 
See full size photo for better view

Photo courtesy of Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library System

On Friday evening, June 6, 1941, Abe left the store feeling fine. He attended the high school graduation of his grandson but later at home, Abe became very ill. As the evening progressed, Abe's health declined. Finally, at two o'clock, Saturday morning on June 7, 1941, Abe died at the age of 86.

Bena Wolf Maas died on June 22, 1947 in Tampa, she was one of the founders of the Children's Home and was its president for 25 years. During her long residence here she engaged in many other charitable and welfare projects, undertaking most of them anonymously. She always took an active part in the Community Chest and other civic and benevolent projects. Many older residents remember her going from door to door throughout the city in appeals for Tampa orphans.  She was the last surviving charter member of the Order of Eastern Star here.

Since 1892, A Shelter From Childhood Storms  



The Maas family mausoleum at Myrtle Hill Memorial Park Cemetery
Photo by B. Plourdes


Sol Maas, circa 1895

Solomon Maas, son of Abe and Bena Maas

Sol Maas was born in Dublin, Georgia on July 4, 1884 and came to Tampa with his parents in 1886.  After graduating from the University of Florida, he became affiliated with Maas Brothers and took an active part in various civic undertakings in Tampa. In 1922 he was department manager of Maas Bros. and served in various capacities at the department store before becoming secretary in 1933. Besides being secretary of the department store, he was president of Maas Realty Company and a director of Morris Plan bank. He was a member of Temple Schaaral Zedek, the Elks, Masons, and Shrine. Sol had been in ill health since he suffered a stroke in 1943 and had gone to North Carolina with his wife to spend the summer. He died September 21, 1944 of a stroke at Patton Memorial Hospital, Hendersonville, NC. 

Abe & Bena's daughter, Jessie, married Jules Winston of New Rochelle, NY.  Mr. Winston was in the jewelry business of the firm Andrews & Winston, 5th Ave., NY.

Sol Maas and wife Julia, whose nickname was "Blizzard" because she was born in one, had two children, daughter Frances, and Joseph Morton Maas of Decatur, GA. 

Joseph M. Maas was born December 3, 1922 in Tampa, FL and married Myree Elizabeth Wells of Stone Mountain, GA.  They met working at Rich's Department Store. A graduate of Agnes Scott, Myree Wells was his boss in the handbags department, wrote articles on fashion in magazines, and was a buyer who traveled to NY. Once married, she left her job. They eventually invested in a few of the first Casual Corner stores for which she did the window displays.  Joe served in the United States Army Air Corps in World War II, and later graduated from Georgia Tech in 1947. He worked in the retail clothing business his entire career and owned Casual Corner stores in Decatur. He was an active member of the Decatur Kiwanis Club. Joe and Myree had 2 children, a son and daughter.

Left & front: Frances & Joe Maas, children of Sol Maas & Julia.
Right: Emily Winston, dau. of Jessie Maas and Jules Winston
Circa 1930

Abe's daughter-in-law, Mrs. Sol (Julia Cahn) Maas, remembered Abe as a humble man.  "He never seemed to realize his importance to the country nor what he had accomplished.  He never was a snob.  He was Uncle Abe to everyone.  Isaac was aristocratic and restrained.  I do not think that Abe expected my husband to become associated with Maas.  Sol was a graduate of Armour Institute of Technology in Chicago and came to Tampa as an electrical engineer with the Tampa Electric Co.  Ultimately, he joined Maas and was put in charge of merchandising of the small ware departments.  Later he was elected secretary and treasurer of Maas Realty and was its president when he died.  Maas Realty became known as Maas Beneficiaries." 

Mrs. Ashby (Emily) Moody, granddaughter of Abe, was born in Tampa to Jules Winston and Jessie Maas, the only daughter of Abe and Bena.  Emily had charming recollections of the elder Maases.  "Grandfather was a darling, he was gruff on the outside but all mush on the inside.  He was the leader of the family and the worst fall guy in the world.  Besides his own family, he brought many Jews to this country during Hitler's regime.  He spent much money to help them get a new start in life.  He also contributed generously to the Sacred Heart Catholic church in Tampa.  My mother was very pretty.  When she visited the Maas store, everyone would stop working and talk to her because she was so cute.  I was her only child."  Emily and her husband Ashby owned an antique shop which they named "Grandma's Place."  It was the old homestead of Abe and Bena Maas.



Abe Maas and family, 1915

Left to right
Jessie Maas Winston - Abe and Bena's daughter
Solomon Maas - Abe and Bena's son
Philabena "Bena" Wolf Maas, Abe's wife
Unknown nurse
Abraham Maas

In front: Emily Winston, daughter of Jessie Maas and Jules Winston.

Emily married Ashby Moody.

From 1910 through 1930, Abe and Bena Maas lived at 601 South Blvd at Horatio St.




Ernest Maas' "Ladies ready to wear" store at 509 Tampa St., 1932
Place your cursor on the photo to see this location as the Spain Restaurant

Ernest Maas,
the Maas Cousin

Ernest Maas, Abe and Isaac's cousin, had a daughter named Audrey Louise Maas who married Mark Shine.  Mr. Shine owned Kirbys Men's Wear in Tampa.  He and Audrey had three children--Stephen, Martin and Barbara. 

Ernest Maas came to Tampa in 1895 and was 15 when he began working for his cousins Abe and Isaac Maas; he earned 25c a week. Ernest lived in the store, he cleaned it, opened and closed it. He also drove a two-wheel cart pulled by a pony to make deliveries to customers. Family lore was that he promised to teach German to some of his fellow deliverymen if they would teach him how to speak English.

Within three months, he was speaking English and soon afterward, he was handling customers from behind the counter at Maas Bros. on Franklin Street.  Eventually, he became the buyer in the ready-to-wear department. In 1910, the successful 30-year-old was well-established in Tampa religious and fraternal circles. That January he married Maude Alice Baer of Washington, D.C.

As the years passed, Ernest Maas Sr. became a director of Maas Bros. and expanded his role in Tampa civic life. He was active in the Tampa Elks Lodge, serving as exalted ruler and later as president. He was also president of the Tampa Merchants Association.

Ernest helped organize the University of Tampa and served as treasurer in its early years. He was chairman of the Young Men's Hebrew Association, a forerunner of the Jewish Community Center.

Audrey remembered her father, Ernest Sr., as a tall, handsome man with a sharp business sense.  "He was with Maas until 1929 when it sold out to Allied Stores at which time he opened a ladies ready-to-wear store, Ernest Maas, Inc.,  at 509 Tampa Street, where the Redwood Restaurant later stood."  The Spain Restaurant and Toma Bar are located in the three-story building today. 

In the early 1930s, Ernest was Deputy District Governor of the Lions Club of Tampa.  In 1936 he received the Tampa Civitan Club's Citizen of the Year award for his role in organizing a fundraising drive that saved Boy Scout Camp Owen Brorein. A Tampa Morning Tribune editorial called it "largely a one-man job."  In 1938 Maas, Jr. served as Exalted Ruler of Tampa Elks Lodge #708.

In 1937, Ernest Maas joined with cousins Julius Maas and Julius Weil, who owned Maas the Haberdasher. The combined store opened at Franklin and Madison Street.

Ernest Maas remained active in the business until he sold his interest in Weil-Maas in 1946. By then he was fighting cancer. He died on Sept. 17, 1947, at age 66.

In addition to his daughter Audrey, Ernest Maas had a son on Nov. 4, 1910, Ernest Maas, Jr.  In the late 1930s and 1940s, he served as a Chief Clerk commodity pricing specialist for the district OPA (Office of Price Administration) in Tampa.  He and his wife Mary Virginia, a native of Nebraska, had a daughter Melinda in Tampa.  Ernest Maas, Jr., died Feb. 27, 1995.


Mark Shine, wife Audrey Maas Shine and son Martin at Kirbys in 1999

For sixty years, the small, family run haberdashery has endured. But Kirbys, which may be the longest operating menswear store in town, lost its patriarch on Oct. 14, 2010. Mark M. Shine, whose family emigrated from Russia more than a century ago, died at age 93. "Dad was born and raised in Tampa," said his son, Martin, who now runs the well-known South Tampa business. "He loved this community; he loved Tampa. He grew up in Old Hyde Park and had many, many stories to tell. He remembered when they developed Davis Islands and recalled how once you could swim out in McKay Bay."

Mark Shine attended Gorrie Elementary, Wilson Middle and Plant High schools in South Tampa, and received an accounting degree from the University of Tampa in 1938.

"He was a real Tampan in spirit," Martin Shine said. The family's venture into Tampa retail dates back three generations, when Mark Shine's father, Louis, opened The Palace in Ybor City in 1911. In 1959, Mark Shine closed up the shop because Ybor City had hit hard times, his son said.

He moved the menswear shop to Palma Ceia and named it Kirbys, a name picked at random from the telephone book.  The shop soon became rather exclusive, selling $1,200 Italian suits to attorneys and doctors and $250 trousers to South Tampa businessmen.

But never did the business stray far from the family. Mark Shine's wife of 65 years, Audrey, and three children, Martin, Stephen and Barbara, often helped in the store. Through it all, Shine's business acumen kept Kirbys afloat, even as other haberdasheries folded.

After retiring, he stayed on to help Martin manage the store. "He was a wonderful partner, wonderful sounding board," Martin Shine said. "His experience was invaluable. He was an innovator, a good marketer; when I look through old ads we did way back when, I'm in awe of his ingenuity."

Mark Shine joined the U.S. Coast Guard and served during World War II. He was a director of the Merchants Association of Florida, and a charter member of the Committee of 100 and the Ybor City Rotary Club. "If there's one thing every single person says to me when they talk about my father," Martin Shine said, "it's that he was a gentleman, first and foremost. He had a warm smile, he was a perfect gentleman. He had a kind soul and he treated everybody well."

Info above from: Mark Shine Dies at Age 92  By KEITH MORELLI, The Tampa Tribune Published: October 16, 2010




Ernest Maas 1910 Census, 234 Hyde Park Ave, Tampa
Ernest Maas married Maude A. Baer in 1910, their 1910 census shows they were married "0" years and Maude had no children yet.  Maude was born in Washington DC, her father was French from Alsace-Loraine, and her mother from Maryland.  Ernest and Maude were renting this home.  Note Ernest's immigration year of 1895
Ernest Maas 1920 Census, 835 S. Edison Ave, Tampa
Ernest and Maude Maas owned this home on S. Edison Ave, clear of mortgage.  Ernest's immigration year is listed as 1895 and naturalized 1900. Their son Ernest Jr. was 9 and their daughter Audrey was 9 mos.  They also had a 23 yr old servant, Florence Curley.
Ernest Maas 1930 Census, 817 S. Edison Ave, Tampa
Ernest & Maude Maas in their home at 817 S. Edison Ave, which they owned.  Along with their children, there is Ernest's mother-in-law, Fannie Baer, widowed, age 70, and a female servant Antomese Holsey.

Ernest & Maude Maas, along with their son and daughter, and Fanny Baer, are listed on the 1935 Florida State Census at the same address.  They are at the same location on the 1945 Fla. State Census, except Ernest Jr. and Fanny are not listed there.



This 1911 photo of Franklin St. looking north from Zack shows Julius Maas the Haberdasher (far left) was originally on the west side of Franklin St on the north side of Zack.

By 1926 Maas moved across the street into the building 2nd from the right.

Julius Maas clothier/haberdashery on Franklin St., 1927.  Note the Tampa Theater Building at the left edge.

"Maas the Haberdasher" in downtown Tampa on the east side of Franklin St.   A nephew, Julius Weil, was also with Julius as a salesman in the early days.  The stores combined and its name, to avoid confusion, was changed to Weil-Maas. 

In 1937, Julius and Ernest united in business and moved into this building. "Maas the Haberdasher" at 516 Franklin St. on the SW corner of Twiggs.

Ernest Sr. died in 1947 after having sold his part of Weil-Maas the year before.

This building was destroyed in a fire on June 28, 1951. A new building was built for Madison Drugs which later became Walgreens. It is now stores and offices.


The Maas Sisters

Mrs. Isaac (Rosa) Hyman was a niece of the older generation of Maas brothers.  Her home was the mecca for the Maas sisters who came to the U.S.  The widowed Rosa lived with Audrey for many years as did Rosa's mother, Betty Maas Weil, another Maas sister.


Other sisters of Abe, Isaac, Julius, Sol and Jacob Maas were Fredericke "Ricka" Maas  and Henrietta Maas.  Sisters Regina and Caroline remained in Europe. 

Good-hearted Henrietta Maas (b.1857) came from Germany in 1875 to keep house for her bachelor brothers during their first struggles in Cochran, Georgia.  Ten miles away in Hawkinsville, GA, lived Morris and Henry Waterman, operators of a livery stable.  Each week Morris would travel by horse and buggy to court the lovely Henrietta Maas.  They married in 1881 and had four children, one of whom was Jerome A. Waterman, born in 1883 in Georgia, who became a giant figure and business wizard in the Maas empire.

Henrietta (Maas) Waterman on the 1900 census of Macon, GA.  Her husband Morris was a livery stable keeper who came to the US from Germany in 1872.  Morris and Henrietta had been married for 19 years and had children Joseph S., Jerome A., and Regina.


Henrietta Maas and husband Morris Waterman with their children, circa 1891.

From left to right: Unknown child, Henrietta Maas Waterman, Joseph S. Waterman, Maurice (Morris) Waterman, Regena Waterman (in front of Maurice), Jerome A. Waterman


Photo courtesy of Jerelyn Spross Fyvolent, granddaughter of Joseph S. Waterman.


Jerome Waterman as a First Lieutenant of Gasparilla XI, 1917 Jerome Waterman Runs the Maas Empire After Jerome's father died, his mother Henrietta wanted Jerome to come to Tampa to live near his uncles, Abe, Isaac and Julius. They urged him to join the firm, and in 1907 he started as an assistant bookkeeper. He worked day and night and learned all phases of the operation, having just about every job there was in the store.  This was of great value to him later in the development and modernization of Maas.  Jerome became president of Maas Brothers in 1935 upon the death of Isaac Maas who was then serving as chairman of the board.  Abe took Isaac's position and Jerome took Abe's position.  His office was on the 8th floor of the downtown Tampa store; a wonderful place filled with books, family pictures, huge files of newspaper clippings, his own beautiful poems and writings, and his awards in frames and on the shelves.


The 1920 Census of Tampa shows (line 95) Jerome Waterman, age 24, living with his uncle Isaac Maas at 223 Hyde Park Ave.  Jerome's occupation was bookkeeper, retail dry goods. Also in their home was Henrietta Waterman, Isaac's widowed sister (Jerome's mother.)  In the next home was Benjamin Brown and his family; wife Rica M. was Isaac's sister Fredericke Maas,  Ben & Rica's sons, David M. and Joseph T. Brown, and Rica's brother, Julius Maas.


Jerome recounted some memorable times.  One of the first things he did was establish a "one-price policy" in the store.  Same price for every customer. The next day, a customer came in to buy 10 yards of black peau-de-soie priced at $2.50 a yard.  (It took 10 yards to make a dress in those days.)  She offered $20. 

Waterman refused to sell, saying "We have just one price to everybody; we sell as cheaply as possible and treat everyone the same. 

Maas fabrics dept, 1928

The lady said "I'll go elsewhere" and out she swished.  Abe told Jerome, "Now you see, we've lost a sale!"  Jerome told him that she would be back because their price was right.  And back she came within an hour and paid the $25.  Afterward, Abe never doubted the "One Price" policy.
Another thing that bothered Jerome was the exorbitant comparative values used in advertising, such as "Worth $6 a yard, only $1.98."  Jerome told Abe it was impossible to build a business on misrepresentation and exaggerated comparison.  Jerome said, "One day I came to work and found all the paraphernalia Abe used for advertising--paper, eraser, crayons, dumped on my desk with a cryptic note, 'You are so blankety-blank smart, from now on, YOU are advertising manager.'"


Maas Bros. fabrics dept., 1936

See photo gallery links at the end of this page to view many more interior photos of Maas Brothers from the 1920s to 1960s and Wolf Brothers as well.

Jerome incorporated into his new advertising policy, an inspirational column he wrote to run alongside regular Sunday ads.  Known as "My Column," its non-commercial approach became so popular the newspaper quit charging him for the space.  It ran for 12 years until he joined the Air Corps in WWII.  Upon his return from service, he collected his most helpful items and published them in a book called "An Inspiration a Day."

Gulf Life Insurance Company, presentation of
policy to Jerome Waterman, July 1932



Jerome Waterman, far right, seated next to his uncle Isaac Maas. Circa 1930s

Others are reported to be Julius Maas (on the left), Sol Maas and Julia "Blizzard" Maas (wife of Sol Maas)

Jerome was one of the first businessmen in Florida who learned to fly.  His early lessons were taken at Drew Field and his pilot's license is signed by Orville Wright.  During National Air Mail Week in 1936, he was commissioned for a day to fly mail from Plant City to Tampa.  He organized Gulf Airlines which later merged with National Airlines, and became the advisory director of National.  Waterman was also instrumental in the building of many of Tampa's fine theatres.

As a family man, Waterman allowed nothing to come between him and his daughters, Regena and Cecile, not even his business.  His wife, Daisy Guggenheimer Waterman, whose passion was helping the blind, died in 1945 of cancer at age 49. Ten years later, the [Daisy G. Waterman] Lighthouse for the Blind opened. In 1971, the organization changed its name from the Tampa Lighthouse for the Blind to the Hillsborough County Association for the Blind . But its building, at 1106 W Platt St., still bears Waterman's name.  Jerome was father and mother to his girls.  Regina married Stephen Bragin and Cecile married Marvin Essrig.  Jerome's grandchildren are Lee, Marvin and Kathy Essrig, and Janet Lee Bragin. 


  1948 - St. Pete Maas Brothers was located on the northeast corner 1st Ave N and 3rd St N. After being closed in October 1991 it spent several years as the Florida International Museum. The building was demolished in 2005 to make way for an office tower for Progress Energy.


In 1948, Maas Brothers opened its first full line branch store in downtown St. Petersburg. Other branch stores opened in downtown Lakeland in 1954, downtown Sarasota in 1956, downtown Clearwater in 1961 and one in Ft. Myers.  Maas Brothers opened its first mall store, in 1965, in the Edison Mall. 














Jerome Waterman hosting a Maas Brothers fashion show "Fashionolia", 1947








Maas Bros at Westshore Plaza, circa 1980s







During Jerome Waterman's tenure with Maas, he saw the organization grow from one store in Tampa to 17 stores in Florida, and sales increased from $1.2 million in 1929 to an excess of $50 million in 1966.  In 1966, Jerome was a magnetic, versatile and lovable man of 82 and was still chairman of the board of Maas Brothers.  He was at the time, with the organization for 50 years, 23 of them as president.  He died in Tampa in May of 1970, at age 86.


Jerome A. Waterman, 1965
Photo courtesy of Jerelyn Spross Fyvolent


Abe Maas, the penniless lad who sat in the puffing train on the way to join his brothers in Cochran, GA, would never have imagined he was on his way to founding a multi-million dollar empire such as this.



Maas Bros. home furnishings store at 4130 Gandy Blvd. - 1957


Maas Brothers Charge-A-Plate and leather pouch from the 1950s, front and back views.  Name & address digitally distorted for privacy.

In 1986, Maas Brothers celebrated its 100th anniversary. It was in the same year that Canadian real estate developer Robert Campeau completed his takeover of Allied Stores Corporation. As part of liquidation and cost cutting, Maas Brothers was consolidated with the weaker Jordan Marsh Florida franchise on Florida's East Coast in 1987 (Allied's Jordan Marsh had expanded from New England in 1956, later forming a separate Allied division). The plan was that the stronger Maas Brothers would help the weaker Jordan Marsh. This brought the total number of combined stores to 39 throughout Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. In 1988, Campeau launched a successful takeover battle with Macy's for Federated Department Stores. Ironically, Federated would acquire Macy's in 1994. With the acquisition of Federated, Maas Brothers' formal rival, Miami-based Burdines, became its sister store. As with the Allied acquisition, in order to cut costs, several back office operations for Maas Brothers, Jordan Marsh, and Burdines were consolidated.
By 1989, Federated and Allied were struggling to make its debt payments incurred from the takeovers. On January 16, 1990, Federated and Allied filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Several underperforming stores were closed, including the flagship downtown Tampa store in February 1991. "It affects me emotionally," not businesswise, said Fred Wolf, manager of Wolf Bros. "I'm part of the family." As part of its plan of reorganization, the Florida operations would be consolidated and several stores would be closed. The Maas Brothers/Jordan Marsh headquarters was closed and consolidated with Burdines in July 1991. On October 20, 1991, the Maas Brothers stores officially became Burdines. The majority of the former Jordan Marsh stores were sold off since they competed with Burdines. Burdines, along with the other Federated division except Bloomingdales, would be converted to Macy's.




The original tiles from the building are on display at the Tampa Bay History Center.



The last sales staff at Maas Brothers downtown in 1991.

Photo courtesy of Megan Weber, seen on the left in green blouse.




After the store closed, the 89-year-old building sat abandoned as downtown withered. People haggled over whether to refurbish it, but condo developers who originally bought it to restore the building instead decided to build a 33-story condo.  The old Maas Brothers building was demolished in late March of 2006.

The building in the forefront was built in 1904 and was the American National Bank before Maas took it over.  It originally had only 4 floors; the top 2 floors were added on in the 1920s.  The taller building on the right was built in 1920 for Maas and was also home to the Florida Citrus Exchange offices on the Twiggs St. side. 


In 2006, the lot sold for $11 million. The high-rise condo project never left the ground, and ICI Shopping Centres bought the lot in December 2009 for $2.7 million. Once it's completed, the old Maas Bros. site will be downtown's latest parking lot, accessible from Zack, Tampa and Twiggs streets to open in July 2010. Seven One Seven Parking Enterprises will operate the lot. Jason Accardi, president of the parking company, said he is in discussion with TECO Energy Inc. to feature charging stations for electric vehicles. Ultimately, the lot will be sold or redeveloped.

The lot where Maas Bros once stood.  The former site of the Krause building is off camera to the left.


Be sure to visit "Maas Brothers Recollections", a 2006 article that contains Maas Brothers shopping memories from various readers.

Also visit the Maas and Wolf Brothers photo galleries here at Tampapix, to see old photos of the stores, inside and outside.     Photo Gallery1   Photo Gallery2    Photo Gallery3




Downtown Tampa Store Directory
Main Floor
Fine Jewelry • Silverware • Costume Jewelry • Aisles of Beauty • Toiletries • Hosiery • Scarves • Gloves • Handbags • Small Leather Goods • Main Floor Blouses • Main Floor Sweaters • Main Floor Lingerie • Casual Shop • Notions • Stationery • Fine Candies • Sunshine Book Shop • Records • Suncoast Fountainette

Men's Shop Men's Furnishings • Men's Sport Shirts • Men's Sweaters • Men's Sportswear • • Gear Shop • Boys' Shop •Gear Shop

Men's Shop Men's Clothing • Men's Shoes • Men's Hats • Cambridge Shop • Trendsetter Shop • Television Center • The Sound Center

Second Floor of Fashion
Shoe Salon • Pacesetter Shoes • Casual Shoes • Misses' Dresses • Misses' Sportswear • Active Sportswear • Coats and Suits • After-5 Shop • Town 'n Country • Boulevard Room • Mrs. M Shop in the Boulevard Room • Boulevard Room Fur Salon • Boulevard Room Bridal Salon • Promenade Shop • Midtown Shop • Career Shop • Better Sports Dresses • Pacesetter Shops • Pacesetter Coats • Hide Out Shop • Clubhouse • Fur Storage • Millinery Salon • Hat Bar • Maternity Corner

Third Floor
Lingerie Fashions • Loungewear • Fashion Foundations • Intimate Apparel Shop • Cradle Shop • Children's World • Children's Shoes • Girls' Shop • Pre-Teen Wear • Debuteen Shop • Shindig Corner • Special Events Center • Camera Shop
Jr. World Young Juniors • Junior Sportswear • Junior Dresses • Junior Coats • Junior Lingerie

Fourth Floor
Linens and Domestics • Bath Shop • Table Top Shop • Drapery Centerc • Custom Upholstery • Fashion Fabrics • Art Needlework •White Sewing Center • Beauty Salon

Fifth Floor
Housewares • Small Electrics • Gift housewares • Magicolor Paint Center • China • Glassware • Crystal • Fine Gifts • Antique Shop • Flame & Flower Shop • Major Appliances • Outdoor Shop • Garden Shop • Outside Awnings • Auto Accessories • Toy Center • Sporting Goods • Sports & After

Sixth Floor
Floorcoverings • Furniture Center • Casual Furniture • Sleep Shop • Collector's Shop • Et Cetera Vignettes • Pictures and Mirrors • Lamps and Shades • Clocks

Seventh Floor
Suncoast Restaurant • Gourmet Shop • Citrus Fruit


Former Maas Brothers/Jordan Marsh Florida stores

Georgia - Savannah
Broughton Street - opened 1925 as Levy's of Savannah, renamed Maas Brothers February 1986, store closed December 1987, purchased by the Savannah College of Arts & Design (SCAD) 1996, opened as SCAD's Jen Library 1999
Oglethorpe Mall - opened 1982 as Levy's of Savannah, in February 1986 converted to Maas Brothers store, was renamed Jordan Marsh 1988, closed 1991, torn down for Rich's 1993, Rich's-Macy's 2003, Macy's 2005

Bradenton - DeSoto Square - opened 1973, became Burdines 1991, Burdines-Macy's 2004, Macy's 2005

Countryside Mall (now Westfield Countryside) - opened 1975, became Burdines 1991, Burdines-Macy's 2004, Macy's 2005
Downtown - opened 1961, closed 1991, became Harborview Convention Center 1996

Fort Myers - Edison Mall - opened 1965, became Burdines Fashion Store 1991, Burdines-Macy's Fashion Store 2004, Macy's Fashion Store 2005

Gainesville - Gainesville Mall - became a University of Florida book depository 1997, mall demolished for Kmart, which in turn was demolished for Lowe's

Lakeland - downtown - opened 1954, replaced 1971, closed 1994, became Watkins Motor Lines headquarters 1995
Naples - Coastland Center - opened 1977, became Burdines 1991, Burdines-Macy's 2004, Macy's 2005
Ocala - Paddock Mall - opened 1980, became Burdines 1991, Burdines-Macy's 2004, Macy's 2005
Port Richey - Gulf View Square - opened 1981, became Burdines 1991, Burdines-Macy's 2004, Macy's 2005

Downtown - opened 1956, closed 1991, opened as an indoor flea market 1993, demolished 1996, theatre o site
Sarasota Square (now Westfield Sarasota Square) - opened 1976, became Burdines 1991, Burdines-Macy's 2004, Macy's 2005

St. Petersburg
Downtown - opened 1948, closed 1991, became Florida International Museum 1995, demolished 2005 for new Progress Energy Florida headquarters
Tyrone Square - opened 1972, became Burdines 1991, Burdines-Macy's 2003, Macy's 2005

Tallahassee - Governor's Square - opened 1976, became Burdines 1991, Burdines-Macy's 2004, Macy's 2005

Downtown flagship - opened 1886, closed 1991, demolished 2006, to be redeveloped for condominiums
West Shore Plaza - opened 1967, became Burdines 1991, Burdines-Macy's 2004, Macy's 2005
University Mall - opened 1974, became Burdines 1991, Burdines-Macy's 2004, Macy's 2005
Gandy Home Store - opened 1956, became Burdines Furniture 1991, Burdines-Macy's Furniture 2004, Macy's Furniture 2005

Winter Haven - Winter Haven Mall (now Winter Haven Citi Centre) - opened 1977, became Burdines 1991, Burdines-Macy's 2004, Macy's 2005

South Carolina
Hilton Head Island - The Mall at Shelter Cove - Store planned but never opened as Maas Brothers. Opened 1988 as Jordan Marsh, sold to JCPenney 1991, Saks Fifth Avenue 1997, became Off Fifth 2005

PRESS RELEASE:  Tampa’s Original Department Store to CELEBRATE its History!

The Maas Brothers Central Office Reunion Committee is pleased to announce that our team is getting back together again, some 20 years after our nameplate disappeared from department store retailing. That’s right, all buyers, merchandise managers, advertising executives, computer programmers, accounting managers, and all other central office alumni from our downtown Tampa and Gandy offices are invited to join us for a reunion! While several reunions have been held for store personnel, this is the first for central office.

The event, slated for Saturday, April 27th, will take place at the TAMPA BAY HISTORY CENTER, in downtown Tampa. The evening will begin in the glass enclosed atrium, and includes a Tapas party catered by the Columbia Restaurant, along with displays of Maas Brothers memorabilia and photographs.

During its heyday, Maas Brothers was the quintessential department store on the west coast of Florida, with loyal customers and well-recognized slogans such as ‘Maas Brothers, of Course!’

When Maas Brothers was merged with Burdine’s (now Macy’s) in 1991, all 39 stores were renamed, the doors to the downtown central office were closed, and the Maas building sat abandoned until it was demolished in 2006. Ranon, Inc. painstakingly saved our porcelain glazed concrete sign from the building, and George Michael Riley gifted it to the Tampa Bay History Center, where it is now on display as part of the permanent collection.

During the Campeau days, and then through a subsequent bankruptcy, our Maas Brothers staff was merged, purged, and then scattered, many without getting a chance to say goodbye to people they’d worked with for years. After more than 20 years, this reunion offers an opportunity for old friends and colleagues to meet and reminisce.

For prices and other details, contact Lisa Lichtenberg at, or find us on Facebook at “Maas Brothers Central Office Reunion, Tampa, FL”. ADVANCE ADMISSION ONLY, no tickets at the door.

The Maas Brothers Central Office Reunion Committee is seeking Maas Brothers memorabilia of all types, so if you have an old price tag or shopping bag or other items please let us know.


Lisa Lichtenberg:, (813) 988-2225





Information Sources

"Yes, There Were Maas Brothers"  May 15, 1966 St. Pete Times article by Lorna Carroll

The Maas family tree at, by Anna Maas

Biography of Abraham and Isaac Maas  Memoirs of Florida, Volume 2, 1902

Biography of Abe Maas  Men of the South, 1922
Biography of Isaac Maas  Men of the South, 1922

Memoirs of Florida, Vol II, 1902, The Wolf Brothers

City Times "Enduring House of Maas Appeals"

Maas Brothers at Wikipedia

Tampa Bay Business Journal, Feb. 1991

Jewish Virtual Library (Wolf Bros info)

City of Ocala "Tuscawilla Park Historic District"

Homes of Sol Maas and Morris Wolf
History of Tampa Elks Lodge #708
An Immigrant's Life In Tampa, (Ernest Maas) by Leland Hawes
The Department Store Museum
Maas Family memorials



State Library & Archives of Florida, Florida Memory Photographic Collection

University of South Florida Digital Collections

Anna & Ben Maas, family photo collection, Martin-Maas family tree at
Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative, Burgert Bros. collection

Maas Brothers photo collection at Flickr, Jeff Lourde
Mark Shine Dies at Age 92  By KEITH MORELLI, The Tampa Tribune Published: October 16, 2010

Find-A-Grave by Jeff Plourde



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