Monday, October 08, 2012
Caryl Crane, "Sandusky’s First Lady of Fashion"
Born in Lorain in 1908 to Russian immigrants, Isaac and Rose Shiff, Caryl Crane was the president and founder of the Caryl Crane store in Sandusky from 1946 until 1982. The store was located in the 200 block of Columbus Avenue, but moved to the Sandusky Mall in the 1970’s. The store began with a dress department, and also carried coats, suits, and lingerie. Later a bridal shop, sportswear, accessories, and perfumes were added. In an article which appeared in the April 24, 1976 issue of the Sandusky Register, Miss Crane stated her philosophy for a successful business. “Our philosophy of retailing is that a store should be colorful and attractive and merchandise should be fashion right at the correct price.” Miss Crane and her buyers shopped in markets in New York, Chicago, Dallas and California. In April of 1957 Miss Crane traveled to Europe for a six week buying trip in Italy, Switzerland, and France. This same month her parents celebrated their golden wedding anniversary in Lorain, Ohio.
Always aware of the latest trends in fashion as well as in popular culture, in 1962, Caryl Crane gave away a free “Ben Casey” charm bracelet and 8x10 photo of the actor with every swimsuit that was purchased.
Caryl Crane conducted countless style shows, at Cedar Point, schools, area clubs, and at the YMCA. Often the proceeds were given to charity. Miss Crane was a member of the Harlequins Theater for more than 45 years, and she directed several Harlequins plays. She was involved in the production of the Miss Ohio pageant for six years. The program of the Miss Ohio Pageant of 1966, which was held at the Cedar Point ballroom, credited Caryl Crane, stating that the “entire production was conceived, written, and staged by Caryl Crane.” She founded the Caryl Crane Children’s Theatre at Firelands College.
On August 19, 1999, Caryl Crane passed away after a brief illness, at the age of 91. Her obituary in the August 21, 1999 Sandusky Register reports that she was a graduate of the University of Michigan and The Ohio State University, with degrees in education and music. She sang at Radio City Music Hall, and was on staff at NBC. Miss Crane was buried in Salem Cemetery in Lorain, Ohio.