For nearly 80 years, Marshall Silks was the ultimate shopping destination for Montrealers in search of luxury fabrics. Located on St. Catherine Street, the store sold fabrics by designers like Chanel, Givenchy and Versace. It was also famous for stocking rare, often high-end, materials: lace for $800 a metre and embroidered silks for $1,700 a metre.
Founded in 1922 by Kirkman Marshall, Marshall Silks remained a family-owned business until the late 1960s. It was then purchased by the Elbogan and Richman families, who opened a second store in Ottawa. During its most successful years, Marshall’s recorded sales of over $5 million and employed 65 people.
In November 1998, the company declared bankruptcy. Its financial difficulties were due primarily to a steep decline in the general popularity of sewing. The Montreal store held a going-out-of-business sale for 14 months. In its last year, the shop had a staff of only 20 people and ceased operations on December 28, 1999. The Ottawa store closed its doors several months later.
« Bousculade au magasin de tissus de la rue Sainte-Catherine : Marshalls ferme ses porte… et pour de bon », Le Devoir, 28 décembre 1999 (récupéré dans Eureka)
« Marshalls ne tient plus qu’à un fil : Le marchand de fins tissus ferme boutique faute de couturières », La Presse, 29 décembre 1998, (récupéré dans Eureka)
« Souvenirs au mètre carré », Le Devoir, 11 novembre 1998, (récupéré dans Eureka)
Madeleine Goubau, Contributor