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Elmer L. Kaplin, 94, Founded House of Bargains Discount​ Stores

January 10, 2008
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Elmer L. Kaplin, the 94-year-old founder of the House of Bargains discount children's clothing-store chain, died Dec. 3. He was a resident of Philadelphia.

Kaplin, with son Ned Kaplin, grew the House of Bargains to 54 stores in the Philadelphia area.

"Elmer the Great," as Kaplin was also known, was born in Philadelphia in 1913. He graduated from Central High School, where he served as the chief justice of the school.

Kaplin started United Hat, a millinery business, before he left to serve in the Army as a supply sergeant. He served for five years and was at the liberation of the Buchenwald concentration camp.

When he returned to the United States, Kaplin found United Hat in shambles. Eventually, the inspiration for the House of Bargains began after visits to flea markets.

He was a supporter of the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Geriatric Center, the Madlyn and Leonard Abramson Center for Jewish Life, the Jewish Employment and Vocational Service, the Anti-Defamation League of Philadelphia and the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

Kaplin is survived by his wife, the former Gertrude Crown; sons Marc Kaplin and Ned Kaplin; a brother, Neil Kaplin; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.

 

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