Morris Stoloff was born about 1876 in Vilna, Russia (now Lithuania)
Moskowitz was a couple years older. They married around 1894,
emigrated to England shortly afterwards, and came to the U.S.
about 1899. They settled in the Jewish community
on Railroad Street and Morris found a job in a junkyard working
for a fellow Russian-Jewish immigrant. They had three children,
Mildred, Meyer, and Louis. To help make ends meet and send their
youngest to college, Annie ran a grocery store out of their
home from 1909 to 1917.
Louis attended MIT, studying civil engineering, but
his father fell ill with TB (dying in 1925). Louis returned
home in 1922 to start a grocery store, probably with the help
of his mother, who was familiar with a smaller version of the
business. The building at 1018-1022
Gorham Street was three stories, like its neighbors, but a fire in 1934
destroyed the upper two stories. Louis removed them, patched
the ceiling, and, showing good marketing sense, notified the
newspapers that he was opening a modern, new store at 1022. The following pictures
appeared in the newspaper on opening day.
Louis G. Stoloff
Stoloff ran the store until 1945 when his other business
interests started taking most of his time. His older sister, who
had been working there since it opened, ran it
for a couple years and then sold it to a World War
II veteran. (She moved on to work in retail clothing and department
stores, including one started by one of Louis' sons.) In 1957 the
store was purchased by a French-Canadian,
Ed LeLacheur, who ran it until around 1977 (when he
became Lowell's state senator). After that it alternated
between a restaurant, a bar, a grocery store again, and a
bar again, which it is today.
Just for fun, look at the
1934 prices at Stoloff's Market.
Another Stoloff business:
Lowell Trucking Company
Louis Stoloff started the Lowell Trucking Company with
his brother Meyer Stoloff, an experienced "truckman,"in
1929 and ran it until about 1957. It was variously located
on First Street and Chelmsford Street and moved to 51
Nottingham Street in 1942 (next to the textile mill Louis
started -- see below). Meyer was an interesting story by himself.
He started in the junk business with his father and started
a couple businesses on his own (fruit, junk, trucking with a
friend) before settling in to the trucking
business with his brother. After the trucking company closed, he switched
to the New Knit company. In
the meantime, he became a local championship golfer, a bush pilot, and a
prize-winning big game hunter in Alaska and the West.
This ad appeared in the Lowell City Directory in 1950.
A third Stoloff business: New Knit Manufacturing Company
In 1935, Louis and some friends took over a knitting mill
and renamed it the New Knit Manufacturing Company. This had
to be the height of ethnic success in Lowell: entering the
business that Yankees began when they started the city! He
ran the mill until his retirement about 1970, at which time
a son took over. The mill finally closed about 1979, one of the
last left in the city.
New Knit had offices and manufacturing facilities in
different locations but by 1952 had consolidated at 21
Nottingham Street. These pictures show that mill building in
the year 2000. (It is now empty -- immediately below.)
The building still has remnants of the New Knit name on it. It was painted over
by a circuit board company but is showing through again.