Finkels Fair Store in Paducah, Kentucky

The old Paducah water works facility has long since been removed and the wonderful Carson center raised at it’s location but just across the street from the Carson center is a ‘pink’ building with a rich history for many Paducan’s.  Located at 200 Kentucky the Finkel’s Fair Store is a landmark that many may not know about it’s rich history.

Samuel H. Finkel immigrated from Russia and built this building in 1918. Once a more vivid red it has matured over the years and many call it the pink building. Currently it houses the Free Spririt Motorcycle ministry year round except during quilt week when it is loaded with quilt books for those seeking bargains.

The Fair Stores started in Chicago back in 1874 and migrated in 1925 to S.S. Kresge (founder of KMart) and then again in 1957 to Montgomery Wards.

Our Finkels was well known for quality dry goods at a fair price over the years. Family’s shopped for shoes and clothing in the massive store. It was the working mans store for it’s time but still offered friendly service with experienced clothiers.  Below is a shot from the 1930’s with crowds all along Kentucky. Note the International Harvester sign in the background.


Finkel’s was owned by Samuel H. Finkel and Harry Fleming for many years but Marshall Nemer took over when his father in law Sam Finkel passed away in 1967.  The store continued until 1990 when it closed it’s doors forever on dry goods. Many people that I have talked to remember purchasing clothing from Finkels and some talked of Boswell’s restaurant.  It was not the high end store like many on Broadway but catered to the working family’s that needed quality , durable clothes but at a fair price.

Finkels suffered a fire in 1940 but was put back in order shortly. What snake pile of hoses to put out that fire.


It has such a rich history near the waterfront . So many came to shop and street market vendors lined Kentucky.  Clothes stacked to the ceiling but a ready and able staff to help anyone find their size. I want one of those hats.
While it no longer carries garments it still serves the working man. Now as a church, and one that caters to those that have been left out by many mainstream churches.  So on any given Sunday, the view outside with the crowds is still much the same as it was during Sam’s days.  Instead of horse drawn wagons, or 1940 fords you’ll find a bevy of iron horses lined out front.
Not so much different than in 1990 when the store closed it’s doors.  It’s always been the working mans friend.



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