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Weird Stores: Jafco

Jafco Co. was a multimillion-dollar chain of American catalog show room retail stores founded by Sidney Z. Jaffe in 1957. Headquartered in Seattle, Washington, the company sold a wide variety of items from stereo and photographic equipment to holiday gifts. Jafco sent catalogs to all of their clients, allowing for pickup at their stores or by mail-order. Though retail locations stocked the more common items, Jafco’s usual technique of processing orders started with customers ordering through mail and picking up at the store.

With notable locations in Downtown Seattle, Lynnwood, Southcenter, Bellevue, Northgate and Tacoma, the major retailer expanded until acquisition in the 1970s. Jafco was acquired by Modern Merchandising in 1972, then Best Products obtained all 17 stores in Washington and Oregon in 1982. By 1986 all the Jafco stores were converted to Best stores. In 1997, all of the Best stores in Washington state were closed down after financial troubles within the company. The Beaverton, Oregon location now hosts an Uwajimaya, another retail chain founded in Seattle.

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