H.P. Selman & Co aka Selman’s was a high end, one might say exclusive, ladies and children’s apparel and accessories store in Louisville, Ky. The fur salon operated from 1904–1970. Founded in 1904 at the NW corner of Walnut and 4th St. as Gutman’s, a local shoe store, it changed ownership in 1915 and was bought and renamed by Homer P. Selman. It was located in the Atherton Building, since demolished.
In 1928, Caron’s Louisville Directory listed H.P. Selman’s as a women’s outfitters. In 1929, control passed to out-of-town investors. Selman’s had a Design Studio for custom made hats from at least the 1930s. They advertised lower priced merchandise in their “Selman’s Subway” department in the 1930s-50s. By WWII, the name was usually shortened in advertising to Selman’s. The shortened Selman’s label is in use by 1947, but both labels coexisted for a period.
As a sample of their prices, in 1949, Selman’s chambray and Bemberg summer dresses were advertised at $14.99, when others were advertising similar but simpler dresses at $4.99. In 1953, H.P. Selman’s, then owned by Grier Corp., was sold to Thal Bros. who sold it again in 1961 for $1 million to Weiss Bros., also known as Gus Mayer’s (Weiss bought Gus Mayer’s in 1934). Weiss Bros. didn’t change the Selman’s name to Gus Mayer’s until 1970. Selman’s never opened a suburban location.
Written by Hollis Jenkins-Evans