Located in Lynn, Massachusetts, Zimman's is the country's leading fine fabric, furniture, lighting and decorative accessories destination. Founded in 1909, and family-owned for three generations, our history is based on a continuing heritage and a willingness to adapt to our customers' needs throughout the changing times. Since our beginning, Zimman's has remained a business based on integrity and honesty, offering our customers the fairest prices for quality merchandise.
In 1909, operating out of a modest shop in West Lynn, Morris Zimman sought to serve the needs of the newly arrived immigrants who lived in the working class neighborhoods surrounding his store. Merchandise offered included family apparel, shoes, linens, bedding, notions, and - of course - fabric.
As an immigrant himself, Morris knew that the recent immigrants who populated the bustling streets of West Lynn at the turn of the century needed inexpensive, but durable clothing and household goods as they worked to make new lives for themselves in their new country. Morris soon acquired a reputation among the residents of West Lynn for offering quality merchandise at reasonable prices. This reputation, along with Morris' ability to speak six languages, brought him a steady stream of customers (many of whom had not yet learned to speak English) and his small store prospered.
In 1915, Morris married Anna Abrams, who joined him in running the business, quickly endearing herself to their customers with her genuine concern for their well-being. As Morris and Anna's four sons grew up, they worked in the store after school and on weekends.
Surviving the Great Depression:
During the Depression in the 1930s, Morris and Anna decided that they had to give their loyal customers even more value for their hard-earned dollars. Morris began attending auction sales of bankrupt businesses and the merchandise he purchased - everything from barrels of pickled herring to men's dress shirts - began showing up in the store, much to Anna's amazement. But the savings Morris realized (by buying goods off-price) and passed along to his customers, enabled the business to survive the Depression while many others fell by the wayside.
The 2nd Generation of Zimman's, Zimman's the Department Store:
In 1946, after returning from naval service during WWII, Barry Zimman, one of Morris and Anna's sons, decided to join the business full-time. He was captivated by the excitement generated in the store. The country's growing prosperity and the opportunity it presented to cater to peoples' pent-up post war demand for quality goods kept business booming. But it was time to put a youthful twist on the business.
Barry noted that the customers now generally knew what they wanted and that it would be more efficient if they could select their own goods rather than waiting for a clerk to help them. Taking its cue from the new self-service grocery stores that were beginning to appear, Zimman's soon opened one of the first self-service department stores in New England in 1948, just a few doors away from its current downtown Lynn location. With the business growing and in need of larger quarters, Zimman's moved into its present building in 1957, carrying a full line of men's, women's, and children's apparel along with furniture, household goods, and - of course - fabric.
Barry and his wife, Phyllis, managed the growing self-service store, assisted by their five sons, and the concept succeeded well for a generation. But with the development of suburban shopping malls and the difficulty of traffic in downtown areas, urban department stores soon saw their customers dwindling. Zimman's did not escape this fate, so it was time for another change.
The 3rd Generation of Zimman's, Zimman's Today:
Michael Zimman, one of Barry and Phyllis' sons, joined the business in the early 1970s, a few years after graduating from college. An art major in school, Michael had an interest in design and an eye for color. Realizing that home decorating was a growing trend, Zimman's soon began to expand its offerings in decorating textiles and home accessories while closing down its other departments. As the business transitioned from a full-line department store to a fabric and home-decorating store over the next decade, word spread that Zimman's offered a selection of decorative fabrics unparalleled in New England, if not the entire East Coast.
In 1997, after ten years of steady growth and a burgeoning inventory of decorative fabrics from around the world, Zimman's opened its new and striking home furnishings emporium. Under Michael's direction, this department features a distinctive selection of furniture, wall hangings, lamps, rugs, mirrors, and home accessories ranging from traditional to contemporary in design.
Now in its tenth decade and third generation of family management, Zimman's still remains true to its founder's formula for success: knowledgeable customer service, quality goods, and reasonable prices.
With thousands of textiles from mills around the world, Zimman’s features a tremendous scope of fabrics at a remarkable value. Zimman's also offers endless options in home decorating with custom upholstered furniture, allowing customers to choose from the unparalleled selection of fabrics to create a sofa or chair that is truly unique. Our knowledgeable interior consultants are ready to inspire you, to help you discover your creativity, and to encourage you to make the most of your personal style.