Jimmy Jazz Founder Joseph Khezrie Dies at 90
The founder of Jimmy Jazz, the streetwear retailer born on Delancey Street, passed away earlier this month.
Joseph Khezrie was 90-years-old. He died on June 4.
The company posted a memorial on Instagram this past Sunday, which included a brief video.
“Our founder, Joseph Khezrie, was a deeply loyal, respectful and hard-working man,” the post reads. “Rest In Peace.”
The tribute clip delved briefly into the history of the company Khezrie created. “We opened the first Jimmy Jazz store back in 1988, located on the corner of Delancey Street and Orchard Street in the Lower East Side of Manhattan,” the on-screen text read. “We aspire to continue this legacy and maintain our core values of loyalty, hard work, perseverance, integrity and respect.”
Khezrie was born in Brooklyn in 1930 and named the store for his favorite Clash song, which appears on the London Calling album of 1979.
In a 2000 interview with Sporting Goods Business, Khezrie said the following of his brand:
I have been in retail since I was 18 years old. I used to help my father out in his store on Delancey Street. I saw the demand in the boroughs for better merchandise. Back then, high-end merchandise was only available in department stores. In the boroughs, you’d buy schlocky merchandise. I saw that demand and at that same time, Tommy Hilfiger came along and Polo and Guess? and Nautica, and basically we ran with them. We gave the customers in the boroughs something that previously was only available in the malls or department stores. The customers reacted very well to it.
Jimmy Jazz did expand from its humble beginnings in the onetime “bargain district,” eventually opening more than a hundred stores along the east coast, with dozens around the Five Boroughs. (There was also a second Lower East Side location further east on Delancey.)
It left the neighborhood for good in July 2011.