Louisville is a little less weird now that Julian Goldberg is gone. Known locally as “Geeber,” Goldberg passed away last Wednesday after an illness. He was 85. Goldberg is best known for operating the G & K Shoe Company Wholesale Footwear & Government Surplus store at 639 West Main Street. That institution has stood watch over a changing Main Street since 1937, and every bit of the building would lead you to believe so, from the old signs painted on its cast-iron facade, to a maze of surplus goods that only Goldberg could navigate, to the mildewy air that filled the ancient structure. Goldberg inherited the building from his father, Sam.
Goldberg’s surplus store was instantly recognizable to anyone walking along West Main Street and a point of delight for me as he taped humorous signs to the storefront windows, claiming everything from “Dummy Grenades: If we are wrong bring back for full refund” to “This is my watchdog. Her name is Timex—I bought her second hand—she drinks quartz of water daily.” His dog was a common sight sitting in the window.
Goldberg attended duPont Manual High School before going on to study at Dartmouth College and the University of Michigan. His store has been shared by the likes of the BBC and he has been quoted in the New York Times on international economics.
Julian Goldberg died on July 22, 2015 after an illness. His funeral took place over the weekend and he is buried in Adath Jeshurun Cemetery on Preston Highway just south of Eastern Parkway. He is survived by two children children, three grandchildren, and his sister. Goldberg was born August 28, 1929 to Bess and Sam Goldberg.