Solano County

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Sarjah M. Levee, proprietor and founder of Levee's department store at Vallejo and one of the most substantial and widely known merchants in this section of California, began his mercantile career in that city thirty-five years ago as an errand boy in one of the local stores. By careful attention to details and faithful discharge of the duties which were laid upon him he earned his way up in the service of that establishment until by the time he had attained his majority he was the general manager of the concern. There are those who say a man is "born" to this and that, whatever vocation he chances to succeed in. Mr. Levee's friends long ago declared that he was a "born" merchant, and his successful career would seem to bear out this statement, for by gradual progress he has built up in Vallejo a department store of a style and character that will compare favorably with such stores in the greater cities and at the same time has built up a business reputation that has given him a commercial rating to which he very properly may point with pride, for this rating classes him as among the most dependable merchants in California.

Born in Germany, Sarjah M. Levee was twelve years of age when in 1890 he arrived at Vallejo. That was about the time Vallejo was beginning to enter upon what may be regarded as the "modern" period of its development. The boy from European shores could not have timed his arrival better. An instinctive salesman, he at once sought employment in one of the local mercantile establishments and was put on as errand boy and general youthful factotum in the dry goods store of S. Dannenbaum & Company, thus being given the chance dear to his heart of learning the business "from the ground up." Needless to say he improved the opportunity thus afforded. When he was eighteen years of age he was given charge of the dry goods department of the store, which meanwhile had been keeping pace with the growth of the city and the development of its mercantile and industrial interests. When he came "of age" he was made general manager of the business and presently, as a means of securing his services permanently was given a one-third interest in the still growing mercantile establishment. He was on his way as an established merchant.

In 1905 Mr. Levee sold his interest in the Dannenbaum store and became engaged in business on his own individual account. He had ideas relating to progress in business that he wanted to work out and wisely realized that he could follow the program he thus had set for himself to better advantage untrammeled by the perhaps conflicting notions of a partner. It was then that he bought John Dennary's dry goods store and proceeded to extend that business in such fashion as the expanding times demanded. The success of this venture warranted further expansion and in the next year Mr. Levee bought the adjacent clothing store of the George Campbell Company, this latter establishment occupying the corner room next to his, and combined the two stores, thus adding men's clothing to his general stock of dry goods. This was the beginning of the present highly organized and substantially estab-lished Levee department store. Two years after combining these stores Mr. Levee found it necessary to further expand his facilities and he outfitted the basement of the building he was occupying, making a modern store room out of it and thus securing double the space he formerly had. In time further extension became necessary and he spent thirty thousand dollars putting in a new and up to date front to his store and extending his store room by adding fifty feet to the depth of the same. The next step was the acquisition of the shoe store that had been operated next door. The department store idea was being successfully worked out. In 1922 Mr. Levee took over the store room formerly occupied by Fred Fisch, thus securing further expansion of his business, which since has kept pace with the gratifying increase in the general interests of the community and he now has a well equipped and fully stocked department store, covering a general line of dry goods, men's and women's clothing, furnishings and the like, one of the best appointed establishments of its class on the coast. Mr. Levee's son, Ralph P. Levee, has a partnership interest in the store, as has also Gustave Rosenberg, the manager.

In addition to his general mercantile interests in Vallejo, Mr. Levee has other substantial interests, among which is the Seevel apartment house which he built. He is an active member of the Vallejo Chamber of Commerce and of the Vallejo Rotary Club, is a Mason and is also affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks and the Fraternal Order of Eagles.

History of Solano County, California By Marguerite Hunt and Napa County, California By Harry Lawrence Gunn. From Their Earliest Settlement To The Present Time. Chicago. S.J. Clarke Pub. Co. 1926. 883 pages.

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