Bergmann’s New Owner, and a Bit of History

The Bergmann's building before
the 2011 renovation of its façade.

According to this article in the Merc, the Bergmann’s building, which now houses Le Boulanger, Siena Bistro and Paris Flea, has changed hands in response to an unsolicited ‘offer he couldn’t refuse.’

While the news itself might not be interesting to many, the article includes some interesting historical info:

The building was built by Conrad Bergmann to house his Bergmann’s department store, which opened on Nov. 2, 1946. A two-page newspaper advertisement that day touted Lionel train sets for $19.95, saddle oxford shoes for $4.45 and an 8-cup percolator for $1.98. Although it closed in 1990, there are many who remember when Bergmann’s was the place to shop for clothing, from special occasion to school wear, and other items.

Previous owner TomTrudell and his wife, who is the daughter of the late Bergmann, divided the spacious building up to accommodate multiple tenants. Café Primavera was the first tenant in the back of the building, in the space now occupied by Siena Bistro. In 1992 the late Nancy Biagini and her two daughters, Katie and Meg, opened up the beloved Casa Casa gift and home store. They sold it in 2005, and the new owners closed it in April 2009 and filed for bankruptcy. Le Boulanger opened in the building in 1993 and Our Secret followed in the rear of the building. Our Secret relocated to Minnesota Avenue and Paris Flea now occupies that space. Le Boulanger remains in the same spot. The 3,740-square feet occupied by Casa Casa remained empty until it was leased earlier this year to a hair salon called Oz, expected to open in May.

Trudell updated the building’s façade in 2011, keeping the iconic B atop the building as a tribute to its origin.

The article also brings up something that I’ve wondered about — the lack of signage on Lincoln Avenue for the two back-of-building tenants Siena Bistro and Paris Flea. According to the article Trudell said the city has blocked his attempts to add signage on the front of the building. He designed the front to include signage and says, “It’s very anti-business and another example of how the city says one thing and then does something else. They have codes that say rear tenants can’t have front signage.”

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