Leon Tailoring Company, Inc., was founded by Leo (Leon) and Sadie Ettinger in 1905. They emigrated from Europe to the United States, settling in Indianapolis, Indiana. Leo was a tailor, and Sadie was a dressmaker. Together, they started the business as a small tailoring operation on Indiana Avenue, where they lived upstairs above the store and made the clothes downstairs. Their hours of operation were 7 a.m. until midnight to ensure they accommodated the working customers of their day.
Shortly afterward, they moved the business to a corner location at the point of Massachusetts Avenue and New York Street. While there, they continued to expand their business, hiring immigrant tailors from countries such as Italy, Germany and Greece, and elsewhere in Europe. The business began as “Leon the Tailor.” Later, it became Leon Tailoring Company. In 1942, the company was incorporated as its present name, Leon Tailoring Company, Inc.
With the purchase of the historic Taggart Baking Company flagship store building in the 1930s, the business moved into this much larger facility, featuring a block-long storeroom at 235 Massachusetts Ave. and a back storefront at 224 N. Delaware St. The business remained there until 1967 when the Indiana National Bank Tower was built on a block of Massachusetts Avenue. The Ettingers relocated their entire operation, both the sales room and the manufacturing facility, to its present corner location, stretching from 229 E. St Clair St. to 809 N. Delaware St. with an adjoining parking lot constructed from the Blythe Building property.
While at both of the Massachusetts Avenue locations, Leo and Sadie worked together with their two sons, Shoolem and Eli, until their eventual passing between 1952 and 1964. During the 1950s, Eli’s sons, Larry and Norman Ettinger, joined the family business. With the passing of Eli and Shoolem, Larry and Norman became the present owners of Leon Tailoring Company, Inc. Company president, Larry, and vice president, Norman, will be succeeded by assistant vice president, Kimberly Smith, and manager, Judy McQueen, respectively. Both Kim and Judy are presently involved in the daily operation and management of the business.
This family business has survived two fires and two major-sized city bus and car devastations to the building front. Yet, it has continued to expand to its present size while attracting clientele from everywhere. One past Indiana governor once said, while being measured for his clothes, “The word in the Statehouse is, that anybody, who is anybody involved in this state, has been through your doors at some time or another in their career.”
We feel that his comment, in itself, tells the story of our business. We have become an icon in the merchant-tailor industry throughout the country, with clients in over 41 different states. Over the more than 108 years of our existence, we have helped many people – men and women, both young and old – to become successful by enhancing their appearance and improving their confidence through well-fitted, correctly selected clothing. They have all been properly and fashionably dressed by our family at “Leon’s.”