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Julian M. Sieroty; Retail Store Chain Former Executive

April 01, 1989

Julian M. Sieroty, son of the founder of the Eastern Columbia department store chain and the executive responsible for the old "Eastern Columbia, Broadway at 9th" musical jingle that dominated local airwaves in the 1940s and '50s, is dead.

His son, former Assemblyman Alan Sieroty, said his father was 85 when he died March 22 at his Beverly Hills home of heart failure.

The elder Sieroty was the son of Adolph Sieroty, who came to Los Angeles in the 1890s and started what would become the forerunners of Eastern Columbia. He died in 1937 and Julian Sieroty, in an effort to lure business further south in the downtown area, launched an advertising campaign to call attention to the store's location. The result was the jingle that at its peak aired dozens of times daily over local stations.

The lilting ditty proved so popular that it was parodied regularly on television.

The campaign evidently worked, for at one time the store was the fifth-largest department store in the city, Alan Sieroty said.

The Eastern Columbia building, which closed its doors in 1957, is considered one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in Los Angeles. It has since become an historical monument.

Alan Sieroty said his father also was one of the first downtown merchants to turn to television advertising in the infancy of that medium.

At one time, the Eastern Columbia chain had 39 stores on the West Coast, but all have since been sold or gone out of business.

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