Home PEOPLE By Name

Katz, Isaac "Ike", 3629 Harrison Boulevard

3629 Harrison Boulevard 3629 Harrison Blvd.

The 3rd owner of 3629 Harrison Boulevard was Isaac "Ike" Katz. Ike´s life was a Horatio Alger story of a young man who worked his way up from poverty, opened a fruit stand, and then a small store. The original confectioneries metamorphosed into cut–rate "drug stores," underselling everyone else, staying open evenings and Sundays, and purveying everything from patent medicines to (eventually) monkeys. Katz´s fame fed on rock–bottom prices, breadth of merchandise, and promotional advertising. With his brother Michael, he later developed the Katz Drug Co. into a major regional chain. An idea–mad promoter, he organized annual Katz Free Concerts in the 1940s. His zany promotions landed him in TIME magazine when he cut the price of pet monkeys to a close–out $79 in April 1951. Their bewhiskered (black cat´s head) trademark was well-known to Kansas Citians until the company became part of Skaggs Drug Centers.

Ike Katz´s story bears a Tiny Tim flavor. He was born March 8, 1879. As a child he emigrated with his family from Poland. He was poor, little, and crippled. He navigated lifelong with a painful limp, the result of a childhood baseball game gone bad.

Here Lies Kansas City, Wilda Sandy

Isaac Katz by Wilda Sandy, Kansas City Public Library Local History (includes picture)