Arthur Letts was born in Northamptonshire England in 1862. The Letts family was well to-do and part of the upper middle class. His parents arranged for Arthur an apprenticeship with a dry goods store. This experience would prove invaluable to Arthur, because he would later use his knowledge and expertise to build the Broadway department store empire.
Arthur left England, running away to the ‘new world’ with his younger brother when he was 20. The two notified their parents in a letter, after they had already cast off, traveling across the Atlantic, riding on a steamboat from Liverpool. Arthur landed in Canada and spent time in the military and ran a small business before he moved to Los Angeles at age 34.
Arthur Lett quickly bought a bankrupt dry goods store at the corner of Fourth and Broadway downtown and renamed it “The Broadway”.