Adam, Meldrum & Anderson Company (AM&A's) was a chain of department stores based in Buffalo, New York. It was an institution to generations of shoppers in the Buffalo area. The company remained family owned until its sale to The Bon-Ton in 1994.
The company was founded in 1867, as Adam, Meldrum & Whiting, at 308-310 Main Street. Co-founder Robert Borthwick Adams, was a brother of the founder of J. N. Adam & Co.
In 1876, William Anderson joined the company after Whiting departed and it was renamed Adam, Meldrum & Anderson. In 1886, the company pioneered the use of electricity at a commercial enterprise in Buffalo with the installation of a Westinghouse
generator. The company incorporated in 1892. In 1896, it joined the Syndicate Trading Company
, a retail joint purchasing company based in New York City
. From 1925 to 1956, it operated the Adam, Meldrum & Anderson State Bank, which merged with M&T Bank
. In 1942, Robert Adam III, grandson of the founder, became President and served in that capacity until 1980; then serving as Chief Executive Officer until his death in 1993. The chain was purchased by The Bon-Ton
Stores Inc. in 1994.
The original store was located on Main Street at the current site of the Main Place Mall
. A $500,000 expansion of the store occurred in 1924, adding 70,000 square feet to the original location. In 1932, the store expanded northward with the purchased of the Hudson's
store at 410 Main Street. From the 1940's until its closing, the store was known locally for its elaborate Victorian Christmas windows. In August 1960, the chain moved its flagship across the street to 389 Main Street in the building formerly occupied by J. N. Adam & Co.
After expanding warehouse space in adjacent buildings, a major remodeling of the store occurred in 1966; it was remodeled again a decade later. The store also had a restaurant, the Yankee Doodle Room, which operated from 1960 until 1993; then reopened for a short time as a gourmet market and deli. The flagship store operated as a Bon Ton until 1995. It reopened for eight months in 1998, as an upscale ladies department store. Since that time it has been vacant and is currently threatened with demolition.
AM&A's opened the first branch location of a downtown department store in 1948, when it opened a 5,000 square foot store at University Plaza. Shortly after they opened branches at Sheridan Plaza in Tonawanda
and Airport Plaza in Cheektowaga
. In October 1952, they took over the former E. W. Edwards & Son
location at L.B. Smith Plaza, later Abbott Road Plaza, in Lackawanna
; it closed in 1971.
During the 1960's through 1980's, many major malls were erected throughout suburban Buffalo and AM&A's expanded to most of them. An 18,000 square foot store opened at Southgate Plaza in 1961, expanded to 100,000 square feet in 1964. In 1966, a store opened at Thruway Plaza, later Thruway Mall. That location would close in 1990, when the Walden Galleria location opened in a store originally constructed for B. Altman. The Eastern Hills Mall location opened in 1972, Lockport Mall store in 1974, and Olean Center Mall in 1976. A store opened in 1979, as part of an expansion to the Summit Park Mall. After the closure of the local Hens & Kelly chain in 1982, AM&A's moved into its former location at Northtown Plaza. The McKinley Mall Location opened in 1985. All branch locations operating in 1994, became branches of The Bon Ton.
- Buffalo: Flagship: 410 Main Street, after 1960 at 389 Main Street - (opened 1867, moved to last location in 1961, closed by The Bon-Ton in March 1995)
- Buffalo: 3500 Main Street - (opened 1948; closed in 1984; demolished in 1999; now site of University Plaza)
- Amherst: Northtown Plaza - (opened 1982 in former Hens & Kelly, was The Bon-Ton from 1994 until closure in 2007)
- Cheektowaga: Thruway Mall (Thruway Plaza - 1952-1976, 2000-present; Thruway Mall 1976-2000) '' (opened 1952, closed in 1990 in move to Walden Galleria . Home to Value City Furniture since 1994. Only piece of original plaza/mall remaining)
- Cheektowaga: Walden Galleria - (opened 1990, building built to originally house a never-opened B. Altman and Company location, converted to Bon-Ton 1995, closed 2006, demolished as part of 2006-07 Galleria expansion)
- Clarence: Eastern Hills Mall - (opened 1971, now The Bon-Ton)
- Hamburg: McKinley Mall - (opened 1985, now The Bon-Ton)
- Lackawanna: L.B. Smith Plaza, later Abbott Road Plaza - (opened 1952, closed 1971)
- Lockport: Lockport Mall - (opened 1974, now The Bon-Ton)
- Olean: Olean Center Mall - (opened 1976, now The Bon-Ton)
- Tonawanda: Sheridan Plaza - (opened 1950, now The Bon-Ton)
- West Seneca: Southgate Plaza - (opened 1961, now The Bon-Ton)
- Wheatfield: Summit Park Mall - (opened 1972, now The Bon-Ton)
- Sibling retail rivalry forms part of the history of chain's growth, Buffalo News, May 17, 1994.
- Robert Adam dies, Buffalo News, September 12, 1993.
- Bon-Ton Department Store Chain Extends Lease at West Seneca, N.Y., Plaza, Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News, April 23, 1999.
- Rizzo, Michael F. (2007) Nine Nine Eight: The Glory Days of Buffalo Shopping Lulu Enterprises, Inc.; Morrisville, North Carolina. ISBN 978-1-4303-1386-1.
- Elvins, Sarah (2004). Sales & Celebrations: Retailing and Regional Identity in Western New York State, 1920-1940. ISBN 0821415492.