HOW IT ALL BEGAN
THE LESSING'S STORY UNFOLDS...
Lessing's lunch counter business continued to feed New Yorkers throughout the great depression and sustained the city as it entered into World War II.
The War Years
With the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, New York City was transformed into the metropolitan epicenter of America’s massive war effort. The port of New York became the primary point of embarkation for millions of U.S. soldiers. Between 1942 and 1945, 1.86 million New Yorkers themselves joined the armed forces. And Lessing's was located at the epicenter of this maelstrom; which created a great market for our coffee shops.
Lawrence Lessing Jr.
Lawrence Lessing Jr. responded to New York's exploding demand to feed millions of non-combatant wartime support personnel by rapidly expanding the company's coffee shop locations to five additional buildings in lower Manhattan and doubling the commissary staff on Jones Lane. Like so many other iconic American companies who responded to wartime demand, Lessing's emerged from the war a more substantial and professional company prepared to thrive during the post war economic boom that would engulf the nation.
Happy Days are Here to Stay
The "Happy Days" of the 1950's were the perfect setting for Lawrence's innovative personality. He decided to leave the day to day operations to trusted employees while he told the Lessing story to decision makers who could use Lessing's expertise but didn’t know it yet. This change transformed Lessing’s from a little lunch counter operator into a highly regarded food service contractor. Lessing’s began to handle the food service for America’s corporate giants like New York Trust, Chemical Bank, Reynolds & Co., Smith Barney, Goldman Sacks, Regis Paper, Brown Brothers Harriman, United Medical Services and the New York Stock Exchange.
Join us next month when the next generation of Lessing’s step up and guide the company into the modern age.