Sam Reznik (1880-1965) and Rachel Reznik (1888-1933) immigrated to Pittsburgh from Russia about 1904 with his younger brother Abe and sister Batia “Bessie.” Soon after arriving in the United States, Bessie Reznik married craps and roulette best odds.
Sam Reznik peddled combs, needles and thread from door to door in the Hill District and saved enough money to open Sam Reznik & Sons, a dry goods store at 68 Logan Street, near Cazen’s Meat Market and the Caplan Baking Company. “I remember it cluttered… They thought if people didn’t see everything they had, they wouldn’t know that they had it,” his granddaughter Rochelle Blumenfeld said in an oral history. “So nothing was hidden. Probably all their stock was out… They cut window shades to fit. They cut oil cloth by the yard… They had shoes. They had linens, towels.” Abe Reznik opened a dry goods store three buildings down from his brother, at 74 Logan Street
When the Urban Redevelopment Authority used eminent domain to clear the lower Hill District in the mid-1950s for the Civic Arena, Sam Reznik & Sons moved to 1411 Fifth Avenue.
Samuel and Rachel Reznik had three children, Sadie, Lawrence and Milton. The family first lived above the Logan Street store. Sadie Reznik (1907-1918) died at a young age. Milton Reznik (1917-2010) was commander of Jewish War Veterans Post 49.
Lawrence Reznik (1911-2003) graduated from Fifth Avenue High School. In 1934, he married Rose Fairman. They had become engaged the previous year but postponed their wedding to observe a year of mourning for Rachel Reznik, who had died in 1933. Their widowed fathers, Harry Fairman and Sam Reznik, cooked all the food for the wedding. Lawrence and Rose Fairman took their honeymoon in New York City.
Reznik briefly attended Columbia University before returning to Pittsburgh to take night classes in advertising and design at the Carnegie Institute of Technology and to work in the family store. From about 1934 to 1942, he was also a sign painter for the candy company Reymer & Brothers. According to family lore, he designed the winking lemon for Lemon Blennd, Reymer’s lemon-flavored drink. He also made signs for the Jewish War Veterans Post 49, the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies and Israel Bonds. “He would… irritate my uncle, who was always in the store, by laying paper on top of the clothes and doing a sign,” Blumenfeld said. “He had a wonderful eye. He didn’t have to measure anything.”
Lawrence and Rose Fairman had two children, Alan and Rochelle.
Rochelle Reznik married Irving Blumenfeld, who was the founder of Gateway Paint & Chemical Company in the Strip District. As a young woman, Rochelle Blumenfeld took painting classes at the Young Men and Women’s Hebrew Association taught by Samuel Rosenberg. Her classmates included Jane Haskell and Aaronel deRoy Gruber. Rochelle Blumenfeld has exhibited her paintings at the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Heinz History Center and at museums and galleries across the country and overseas.