WESTFIELD, NJ – Long before Victoria’s Secret came and went in downtown Westfield, there was Milady’s Shop. Its proprietor was Saul Drittel, who began his career working at a clothing manufacturer in Elizabeth.
Drittel was born in Roselle, the youngest of three children. His family lived in Elizabeth, where he attended school, graduating from Jefferson High School. He went on to attend Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio but only for one year, as he was anxious to begin earning a living.
He was introduced to his future wife, Beverly, by one of his sisters. He and Beverly were married in 1950. They have lived in Westfield since 1955 and raised two daughters and a son. He has for many years belonged to Temple Emanu-El.
Drittel, his mother-in-law and his wife operated Milady’s Shop on East Broad Street. He expanded his business to branches in Orange and Bridgewater for a limited time. Although independent Westfield retail shops specializing in women’s wear, such as Mademoiselle and Clara Louise on Quimby Street, Jane Smith on Central Avenue, were competitors, there was an atmosphere of camaraderie among business owners. If a costumer wanted a certain item and his shop did not have it, he would refer the individual to another merchant. This was a mutual agreement among business owners. He knew his customers and was not concerned with extending credit to them.
During those years, Drittel recalled that sidewalk sales were so heavily patronized that it was difficult to walk through town.
Drittel has served for more than 30 years in various capacities on the Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce as its president, retail chairman and a board member. He was a Rotarian for many years. His congenial personality contributed to success in business as well as within the community.
Although Milady’s closed in 1993, Drittel has not slowed his pace nor has his wife, who continues to work part-time. He was a founding member of Main Street Westfield. In 2004, Westfield was awarded the Great American Main Street award associated with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. With his store of community knowledge, he has worked as volunteer promotions chairman of the Downtown Westfield Corporation, counseling business owners on promotional activities and supporting economic development.
Currently Drittel works as a broker in commercial real estate at the Coldwell Banker Westfield-West office. He travels statewide enthusiastically advocating for Westfield. The Westfield Historical Society honored him at its annual dinner in 2014 with the Trustee Award for his community service.
The Society is pleased to induct him into its Hall of Fame. In his acceptance of this recognition, Drittel feels he represents so many individuals who helped to make Westfield a desirable town in which to live and do business.
For more information on the Westfield Hall of Fame, The Westfield Historical Society, and their events, visit www.westfieldhistoricalsociety.org and like on Facebook.
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