WHEELING - Just a couple years ago, passersby could enjoy seeing the colorful and often whimsical dresses in the display window at Kaufman's of Wheeling.
Now the building is up for sale for $165,000. Kaufman's closed in 2010 after 80 years of business in the downtown. Jenny Seibert, a First Choice Realtors agent, said the four-story 1900 building, located 1040 Main St., still contains useable racks, dressing rooms, a phone system, a six-year-old boiler for heating, newer air conditioning and plenty of space for a variety of potential businesses.
Kaufman's Inc., which still owns the building, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 2010. At the time, the hundreds of wedding dresses and other formal wear in stock were seized in the process. Seibert said the Kaufman family still doesn't know what happened to the garments or if they were ever sold after being taken. Chapter 7 filings typically liquidate such assets.
Photos by Shelley Hanson
Jenny Seibert, First Choice Realtors agent, stands in front of the former Kaufman’s building on sale for $165,000.
"I remember getting a dress and getting the shoes dyed to match," Seibert said of her past experience at the store.
The shoe dyeing room still remains on an upper floor.
"I think it's a solid brick building. ... We would love to see somebody buy it - anything could be done with it," she said.
At the time of the bankruptcy filing, the corporation's assets were listed at $352,716 and liabilities at $883,231. The inventory at the time included 331 wedding gowns and 1,503 formal dresses.
Seibert said many years ago the building was actually three separate structures combined into one. She believes the space is large enough to split into separate offices if someone did not want to do retail there again.
"It's a good location. ... There is a lot of traffic," she added.