The Gray Shop sold fashionable women's clothing and was owned by Arthur C. and Mabelle Kennedy from 1919 until they sold it in 1949 to Leon Z. Mandelson4. The first location was at 15th and Clay Streets, and there were locations in Berkeley and Long Beach at one time. They commissioned a new building at 2000 Broadway in 1930,1 described as "conservative modernistic" in style by architect Alben Froberg, but now recognized as Art Deco. The door was unique and used a step motif repeated throughout the store.

Some of the labels used by the shop can be found on vintage clothing for sale. Other artifacts include matchbooks. 


The shop expanded in 1952 to incorporate 2006 and 2010 Broadway, adding a shoe department and enlarging other departments. 2

Mr. Mandelson introduced changes in December of 1966 by bringing in a new fashion coordinator and display manager who "set things dancing to a modern tempo. Where once mother took daughter shopping, daughter now drags mother in at a run. Owner Leon Mandelson sits upstairs in his elegant office wearing a pleased smile tuned to jingling cash registers and says, 'They're geniuses'". He operated the store at least until the mid-1970s (need documentation).

Now it is the site of Kaiser Permanente Division of Research at 2000 Broadway.

"Special Page for the Gray Shop", Oakland Tribune, 16 Jan 1931, p. 27Gray Shop panel by Jacob Berg, courtesy of Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco

Links and References

  1. New Building for Downtown Oakland Area Oakland Tribune 24 August 1930, p. 96
  2. What They're Doing: Business, Finance in the Eastbay Oakland Tribune 24 Oct 1952, p. 58
  3. Lemon & Rumbel, Oakland Tribune 1 Dec 1966, p. 10F-11F (p. 74-75 online)
  4. Mandelson Heads Gray Shop Here Oakland Tribune 4 Jan 1949, p. 26