1920 – 1950
On November 15 Samuel Klein is born in the small village Zaklikov in Poland. He was Sucher e Szeva Klein’s third child among nine siblings.
From humble background
Samuel’s father, Sucher Klein, supported his wife and children as a carpenter. From an early age, Samuel or Schmiliale, as he was called by his family (sweet pronunciation of the name Schmile, translation of Samuel in Yiddish) enjoys working and helping his father with smaller tasks.
The family moved to the village of Lipa. Although an even smaller village, there were fewer carpenters and his father was able to work more.
Samuel Klein stops studying at a very young age because of the attacks against Jews at school. He starts to help his father and right away shows he is business savvy while performing some services. At the end of 1942, the family is separated by the Nazis. Sucher Klein and Samuel, then at age 19, were transferred to Budzin concentration camp, two hundred kilometers from Warsaw. In 1944, they were taken to Maidanek concentration camp.
1944 The Germans decided to walk the prisoners from Majdanek to Germany. Along the way, the guards get distracted and Samuel manages to escape and stay in Poland. At the end of that same year, he meets up with his sister.
1945 His two other siblings, Sloma - the oldest - and Esther, join him.
1946 They find their father, Sucher Klein.
First photo of Samuel Klein after his stay in the Concentration Camp.
In Berlin, he meets and falls in love with Ana Wangerin. They get married on December 31 of that very same year. That was the start of a strong tie between the two.
Ana and Samuel Klein open their first business in Berlin, the store was called Freie Genuss Lebensmittel, or Delicatessen and Food.
On November 27, their first child is born, Michael Klein.
The couple decides to leave the country and heads to South America on board of the French ship Provence.
At first, the Klein family lands in Bolivia. However, the local political instability made the family head to Rio de Janeiro, their first destination in Brazil. Samuel Klein decides, then, to take chances in São Paulo and moves to São Caetano do Sul, in the Greater São Paulo and brings his family together. He works as a traveling salesman, selling door to door blankets, bed linen, bath and table towels. Before long, he reached a sound customer base.
1953 - 1955
Family – father and children
1953 His father, Sucher Klein, passes away in Israel.
1954 Saul Klein, his second child, is born in São Paulo. His name is a tribute to his grandfather (Saul means Sucher in Yiddish).
1955 Eva, the clan’s first daughter, is born.
Reaching a list of 5 thousand customers, he buys Aarão Wasserman’s store called Casa Bahia. The name is a tribute to the great number of people from the Northeastern region of the country working in the automotive hub of São Paulo’s so called ABC region.
In the same year, one great surprise, Oscar, the couple’s youngest child is born.
On January 1, Samuel Klein opens his first Casa Bahia store.
Marie and Ilse Wangerin, Ana’s mother and sister arrive in Brazil. Ilse helps implement the store’s accounting and accounts receivable department. Samuel keeps the door-to-door sales staff.
The first branch was opened this year and the company gets its official name, Casas Bahia.
In November 15, on his birthday, Samuel Klein opens a 2-story store. It is here where he starts to sell home appliance.
In the year Michael Klein turns 18, he starts his education in Business Administration and working at Casas Bahia.
A year of many events
Samuel purchases 50% of the shares of Intervest, company that offers lines of credit, and buys the retail chain Casas Piratininga, with stores in the ABC Paulista region.
In his personal life, after 20 years, the 4 Klein siblings get together. They meet in Canada because of Esther’s daughter wedding.
Casas Bahia opens its first branch in the city of São Paulo, in the neighborhood Pinheiros.
Casas Bahia lands in the coastal city of Santos.
1973 - 1977
In 1973, Leandro is born, Samuel Klein’s first grandson. In1975, his granddaughter is born, Natalie Klein; in 1977, one more is born, Raphael Klein. They are Michael Klein and Jeanete Roizman’s children.
1974 Grand opening of the Casas Bahia’s fIagship store.
1975 Samuel Klein’s youngest son, Oscar, passes away in a car accident.
Samuel Klein is once again a forerunner by implementing the post-Christmas bonus salary to his employees.
Focusing on selling at a lower price, he buys the furniture plant Bartira and Bela Vista.
Samuel buys Símbolo, lender finance firm, to bring in more money into the company. He also acquires the store chain Colúmbia, with stores in the city of São Paulo and the Greater São Paulo. That way, he nearly doubles the number of store for the group reaching 45 points of sale around the state of São Paulo.
1983 - 1984
1983 Samuel’s two sons, Michael and Saul Klein, share the company’s leadership with him.
1984 Samuel Klein stops door-to-door selling.
Work and friendship
Pelé becomes Casas Bahia’s endorsement. They both become good friends and both families meet on a regular basis.
TV host Gugu Liberato becomes the brand’s new endorsement.
The chain reaches 100 stores.
Establishing Casas Bahia
In the beginning of the 90’s, many employees at the store floor must be dismissed. Samuel Klein is firm and takes the hard decision. Some years later, however, the economic scenario gets better and the company hires new employees. Samuel does not hesitate to set their priority: all employees previously dismissed must be called in again.
Samuel Klein starts to wire transfer to each employee’s account a sum of money on special dates: Easter, Mother’s day, Father’s Day, Children’s day.
The organization’s IT system goes modern and becomes a benchmark in IT for the retail industry.
Casas Bahia reaches the city of Rio de Janeiro by buying 33 points of sale of the Garson stores. The group gets to 139 stores.
In order to keep up with the company’s growth, an 800 thousand square meter warehouse is built in the city of Jundiaí, São Paulo.
The group ends the year with
243 stores and
The number of stores reaches
300 and the chain expands to the state of Goiás and to the country’s capital city.
The Klein’s endure a big loss. Leandro, Samuel’s oldest grandson and Michael’s son passes away. That was the first time many saw Samuel cry.
Samuel Klein turns 80 and publishes his biography: Samuel Klein e Casas Bahia: uma trajetória de sucesso. (Samuel Klein and Casas Bahia: a successful journey).
Michigan University studies the store chain Casas Bahia, which had become an international business case of lines of credit rendered to the lower social classes.
Casas Bahia is mentioned as the Brazilian organization that has put the most effort into social equality according to report delivered by United Nation’s Secretary General, Kofi Annan.
Casas Bahia is the best ranked Brazilian business among the world’s largest 250 retailers. It ranks as the 12th in sales growth rates while, in sales volume, it is the 198th.
Samuel Klein earns the title of citizen of the city of São Paulo.
Casas Bahia reaches
Casas Bahia achieves turnover of 14 billion Brazilian Reais, 55 thousand employees and 507 stores in 10 states around Brazil, besides the capital of the country, all in the south, southeastern, center-west and northeast regions.
In December, Casas Bahia merges with Ponto Frio. Via Varejo is born, Brazil’s largest home appliance and electronics company.
On November 20, Samuel Klein passes away in the city of São Paulo at age 91. Seu Samuel, as he was called, had 4 children, 8 grandchildren and 5 great grandchildren.